10 Surprising Health Benefits of Celery
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Whether in soups, vegetable trays, topped with peanut butter or added to a dish, most people have consumed celery in one way, shape or form. That’s a good thing because the benefits of celery — not to mention celery seed — begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6.
Administered as an anti-hypertensive agent in folk medicine for centuries, celery continues to prove that there are many cardiovascular benefits. In fact, i pharmacological studies, celery demonstrates both antioxidant nutrients and anti-inflammatory activities that help improve blood pressure and cholesterol levels, as well as prevent heart disease.
Celery also provides dietary fiber — especially when you eat more than one cup at a time — that boosts digestion and weight loss. In addition, celery’s high percentage of water and electrolytes can prevent dehydration, and special compounds help celery act as a diuretic and reduce bloating. As a supplier of antioxidant flavonoids and polyphenol phytonutrients — such as phthalides — other significant benefits of celery include its ability to improve liver, skin, eye and cognitive health.
Celery Nutrition Facts
Most people choose to eat celery stalk, but the leaves and seeds of celery are also edible and beneficial. For example, celery leaves make a great addition to stir-fries and soups, so don’t shy away from leaf celery.
Celery seeds — which can be found either in whole seed form, extract form or ground-up — have impressive health benefits on their own, as they help to lower inflammation and to fight bacterial infections. In some parts of the world, celery is grown primarily for its beneficial seeds, which are actually a very small type of fruit. Celery seeds are commonly used as a spice when crushed and contain a special oily compound called apiol that is used as a flavoring agent and for its many medicinal uses.
Fresh celery benefits nutrition thanks to all the tremendous vitamins and minerals it contains.One cup of chopped raw celery (about 101 grams) contains approximately: (1)
3.5 grams carbohydrates
0.7 gram protein
0.2 gram fat
1.6 grams fiber
29.6 micrograms vitamin K (37 percent DV)
453 international units (9 percent DV)
36.5 micrograms folate (9 percent DV)
263 milligrams potassium (8 percent DV)
3.1 milligrams vitamin C (5 percent DV)
0.1 milligram manganese (5 percent DV)
0.1 milligram vitamin B6 (4 percent DV)
40.4 milligrams calcium (4 percent DV)
0.1 milligram riboflavin (3 percent DV)
11.1 milligrams magnesium (3 percent DV)
All with some sugars, celery also contains some vitamin E, niacin, pantothenic acid, iron, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Celery
Helps Lower High Cholesterol
Prevents or Treat High Blood Pressure
Helps Prevent Ulcers
Protects Liver Health
Benefits for Weight Loss
Boosts Digestion and Reduces Bloating
Contains Anti-Microbial Properties that Fight Infections
Helps Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
May Help Protect from Cancer
1. Helps Lower High Cholesterol
Benefits of celery include its cholesterol-lowering power that makes it useful for improving or maintaining heart health. Celery contains a unique compound called 3-n-butylphthalide (BuPh) that has previously been reported to have lipid-lowering action, but researchers believe celery has many other other beneficial compounds that are still emerging in research.
In a study conducted by the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Singapore, when rats were fed a high-fat diet for eight weeks, rats that had been given celery extract showed significantly lower levels of lipids in their blood compared to the control group of rats that didn’t receive celery extract. (2)
The group supplementing with celery extract experienced a beneficial reduction in serum total cholesterol (TC), low density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) and triglyceride (TG) concentrations.
2. Lowers Inflammation
Celery contains antioxidants and polysaccharides that are known to act as anti-inflammatories, especially flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants. These support overall health, especially as someone ages, by fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress) that can lead to inflammation. Inflammation is often a contributing cause of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, arthritis and many more. (3)
Researchers have identified over a dozen different types of antioxidants that are responsible for the benefits of celery — these include such phenolic acids as caffeic acid and ferulic acid, plus flavaols like quercetin. This makes celery useful for treating a wide range of conditions that are made worse by inflammation: joint pain (such as from arthritis), gout, kidney and liver infections, skin disorders, irritable bowel syndrome, and urinary tract infections, just to name a few.
3. Prevent or Treat High Blood Pressure
Celery seed extracts have anti-hypertensive properties that help lower high blood pressure, one of the important risk factors for coronary heart disease, which is the largest cause of mortality in industrial countries.
Benefits of celery seeds include potentially helping control chronic elevated blood pressure levels. The blood pressure-lowering benefits of celery come from its seeds, which contain hexanic, methanolic and aqueous-ethanolic extracts that improve circulation, lower inflammation and help control blood pressure.
When rats were given celery seed extract over a seven-week period in a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, they experienced significant improvements in blood pressure levels compared to rats fed the same diet but not receiving celery extract. It’s believed that celery helps lower high blood pressure by acting as a smooth muscle relaxant and improving the flow of calcium and potassium into and out of cells. Celery extract helps blood vessels expand and contract, improve blood flow, and aid in overall heart health. (4)
4. Helps Prevent Ulcers
Here’s one of the benefits of celery you may not have known about: It can help prevent or reduce the formation of painful ulcers. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology found that celery contains a special type of ethanol extract that is useful in protecting the lining of the digestive tract from ulcers. Celery extract has the ability to significantly replenish depleted levels of gastric mucus that is needed in the stomach lining to prevent tiny holes and openings from forming.
Researchers believe celery nourishes the stomach, colon and intestines due to the presence of chemical constituents, such as flavonoids, tannins, volatile oils and alkaloids, that control the level of gastric acid released while also improving the level of protective mucus. (5)
5. Protects Liver Health
When researchers from the Department of Nutrition and Food Science at Helwan University in Egypt fed rats celery (along with chicory and barley), these rats experienced a reduction in the amount of dangerous fat buildup within the liver.
Precisely, when researchers supplemented the high-cholesterol diets of rats with celery, chicory and barley powder, they observed an improvement in liver enzyme function and blood lipid levels. The more celery, chicory and barley the rats were given, the more their liver health improved. This suggests that a diet high in celery, as well as chicory and barley, can be beneficial for people suffering from liver disease. (6)