Health Benefits of Celery

Crunchy and hydrating, celery is low in calories and high in nutrients.

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Celery juice has become a popular health drink. Proponents assert that sipping it on an empty stomach each morning improves or cures nearly any health problem, from leaky gut to autoimmune and mental health conditions, though these claims are not supported by available research. More research is needed to understand the effects of drinking celery juice.

Beyond the celery juice fad, the main ingredient has many health benefits. Some evidence suggests that celery can lower the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease. The nutrients in celery may support digestion and control blood sugar.

Simply eating celery can deliver many of the same perks as consuming it in liquid form. Learn about celery's potential research-backed health benefits and its nutrients.

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Benefits of Celery

Celery is a low-carb vegetable that packs a lot of water, vitamins, and minerals. The nutrients in celery have many possible health benefits, including improved heart health, digestion, blood sugar, and chronic disease risk. 

Might Support Heart Health

The nutrients found in celery may decrease the risk of heart disease, the leading cause of death in the United States. One of the best ways to lower heart disease risk is by making lifestyle changes, such as eating a balanced diet. Adding nutritious foods like celery to your diet can support heart health.

For example, celery is a good source of flavonoids, or plant compounds with antioxidant effects. Some evidence suggests that flavonoids help lower LDL ("bad") cholesterol, increase HDL ("good") cholesterol, and fight inflammation. Those factors significantly contribute to heart disease risk.

Vitamins and minerals in celery, like folate and vitamin K, support heart health. Both nutrients help form red blood cells and are essential for blood clotting.

May Improve Digestion 

The fiber in celery—about one gram per large stalk—supports digestive health. Celery is a source of insoluble fiber, which helps speed food through your digestive system. As a result, insoluble fiber keeps your bowel movements regular, which prevents constipation.

Other health benefits of fiber include:

  • Adds bulk to your meals
  • Boosts fullness and delays the return of hunger
  • Helps manage weight

Helps Manage Blood Sugar

Food has one of the biggest impacts on blood glucose (sugar). Your body turns the carbohydrates in food into sugar. Low-carb foods, like celery, help lower and control blood sugar levels.

A study published in 2018 looked at 16 older adults with prediabetes. Eight participants consumed celery leaf capsules three times per day. After 12 days, the researchers found that those who took the celery leaf capsules had lowered their blood sugar levels. In contrast, their insulin levels stayed the same. 

The researchers hypothesized that celery leaves lower blood sugar levels by reducing sugar absorption in the intestines. Celery did not help the pancreas make insulin.

High blood sugar is a risk factor for diabetes. With diabetes, uncontrolled blood sugar can lead to health complications, like kidney and eye damage.

Might Prevent Chronic Diseases

Celery contains over a dozen antioxidants and several potent anti-inflammatory substances. Some evidence suggests that those compounds protect against cell damage that leads to premature aging and disease.

For example, quercetin, an antioxidant found in celery, may combat acute and chronic inflammation and protect against Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have also linked quercetin to apoptosis, or the self-destruct sequence the body uses to get rid of damaged or harmful cells. Apoptosis helps prevent cancer cells from growing out of control.

Nutrition of Celery

One large stalk of celery has the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 8.96
  • Fat: 0.109g
  • Sodium: 51.2mg
  • Carbohydrates: 1.9g
  • Fiber: 1.02g
  • Added sugars: 0.858g
  • Protein: 0.442g

Celery is primarily water and provides several vital vitamins and minerals, like vitamins A and K, folate, and potassium. Vitamin A builds strong teeth and promotes skin and eye health. Vitamin K plays a key role in blood clotting and supports strong bones. Your body uses folate to make genetic material, like DNA. Potassium helps nerve, muscle, and heart functions. 

Celery provides small amounts of vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, and manganese.

Risks of Celery

Generally, celery is safe for people to consume. Some people may be allergic to celery. People with a celery allergy may develop symptoms like an itchy mouth, scratchy throat, and swollen lips, mouth, tongue, and throat if they consume the vegetable.

Celery may pose risks if you consume it excessively. For example, a review published in 2022 found that oxalate nephropathy has been reported in some people who drink celery juice. Oxalates are plant compounds found in many vegetables like celery. Excess oxalates may lead to nephropathy, or severe kidney damage.

Tips for Consuming Celery

Incorporate a whole or chopped celery stalk into meals and snacks to maximize health benefits. Different ways you can add celery to your diet include:

  • Add celery to stir-fries, soups, and vegetable stews
  • Fill two or three stalks with spiced nut butter to satisfy a sweet, salty, and crunchy craving
  • Mix in celery to garden salads, marinated veggies, and chilled protein salads like eggs, tuna, or white bean for flavor and texture
  • Use celery to scoop up hummus, guacamole, or seasoned tahini

A Quick Review

Research has found that celery may support heart health, digestion, and blood sugar. The antioxidants in celery may even lower the risk of many chronic diseases.

Many people consume celery juice daily to reap the vegetable's health benefits. Ensure you do not consume too much celery, which may increase the risk of health complications like kidney damage.

Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, is Health's contributing nutrition editor, a New York Times best-selling author, and a private practice performance nutritionist who has consulted for five professional sports teams.

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  14. Ranganathan S, Halagowder D, Sivasithambaram ND. Quercetin suppresses twist to induce apoptosis in MCF-7 breast cancer cellsPLoS One. 2015;10(10):e0141370. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0141370

  15. MedlinePlus. Vitamin A.

  16. MedlinePlus. Potassium.

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