Surprising Health Benefits of Celery
What are the benefits of eating celery? Here are some reasons to add this veggie to your diet:
1. May Help Lower High Cholesterol and Blood Sugar
Celery may have some cholesterol-lowering effects due to a unique compound called 3-n-butylphthalide (BuPh) that has been reported to have lipid-lowering action. Researchers believe this veggie likely has many other protective compounds too that are still emerging in research.
In one study, when rats were fed a high-fat diet for eight weeks, ones that were 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. 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.
Additionally, extracts made from this vegetable have been found to help significantly decrease plasma glucose levels in adults who are prediabetic.
2. Can Lower Inflammation
Celery contains antioxidants and polysaccharides that are known to act as anti-inflammatories, especially flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants. Research indicates these support overall health, especially as someone ages, by fighting free radical damage (or oxidative stress) that can lead to cellular damage and inflammation.
Researchers have identified over a dozen different types of nutritional compounds and antioxidants that are responsible for the benefits of celery products. These include phenolic acids like caffeic acid and ferulic acid, plus flavanols like quercetin.
Due to its inflammation-lowering potential, celery may useful for treating a wide range of conditions that are made worse by inflammation, including:
- joint pain (such as from arthritis)
- kidney and liver infections
- skin disorders
- irritable bowel syndrome
- and more
Consuming flavonoids from plant foods has even been associated with reductions in inflammation affecting the brain.
3. May Help Prevent or Treat Hypertension
It’s believed that certain nutrients found in celery can help decrease blood pressure by acting as a smooth muscle relaxant and improving the flow of calcium and potassium into and out of cells. There’s also some evidence that celery extract can help blood vessels expand and contract, improve blood flow, and aid in overall heart health.
4. Can Help Prevent Ulcers
This vegetable may help prevent or reduce the formation of painful ulcers due to a special type of ethanol extract that is useful in protecting the lining of the digestive tract.
Researchers believe celery nourishes the stomach, colon and intestines due to the presence of chemical constituents, such as flavonoids, tannins, volatile oils and alkaloids. These compounds control the level of gastric acid released while also improving the level of protective mucus.
A 2010 study published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology found that celery extract also 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.
5. May Protect Liver Health
In one study, when rats were fed celery (along with chicory and barley), the rats experienced a reduction in the amount of dangerous fat buildup within the liver, as well as improvements in liver enzyme function and blood lipid levels.
Researchers found that the more celery, chicory and barley the rats in this particular study were given, the more their liver health improved.
6. May Have Benefits for Weight Loss
Celery is extremely low in calories and can be a valuable food to help you lose weight because of its ability to provide vital nutrients and help regulate lipid (fat) metabolism.
In addition to its nutritional content, especially its supply of antioxidants, electrolytes, and vitamins and minerals, it contains water and fiber that can help to make you feel full by adding volume to your meals. Eating celery whole provides more fiber than the juice, so this may be the best option.
7. Can Support Digestion and Reduce Bloating
Celery seeds contain an odorless and oily compound known as NBP that has a diuretic effect and helps the body detox. In a study involving rats published in the Journal of Medicinal Foods mentioned above, urine volume was significantly greater when rats were given celery extract compared to a control group.
The digestive benefits of celery are partly due to its diuretic effects — and also because it boosts circulation within the intestines, therefore helping improve digestion and relieving bloating and puffiness from water retention. Studies also suggest that when used in vegetable juice, it can provide polyphenols and fiber and that may have prebiotic-like effects, supporting the growth of beneficial probiotics.
Wondering, “But doesn’t it contain sodium?” Celery does have about 35 milligrams of sodium in one stalk, however this is a small amount in the scheme of things, especially if you eat a balanced diet.
Even most people on low-sodium diets can still enjoy this veggie, as long as they don’t eat excessive amounts.
8. Contains Antimicrobial Properties that Fight Infections
Celery seeds have actually been used for centuries as an herbal medicine with reported antibacterial effects. A 2009 report published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology demonstrated that celery products contains special antimicrobial components.
There’s some evidence that it may also significantly purify and reduce the bacteria’s growth, naturally supporting immunity against bacterial infections.
9. Can Help Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Because celery helps reduce uric acid and stimulates urine production, it’s beneficial for fighting bacterial infections within the digestive tract and reproductive organs. Similar to cranberries, which are known for fighting urinary tract infections (UTIs), celery may help prevent UTIs, as well as bladder disorders, kidney problems and possibly even cysts on reproductive organs.
10. May Have Anti-Cancer Effects
Celery is in the same plant family as cancer-protective vegetables like carrots, celery, fennel, parsley and parsnips, which all contain chemo-protective compounds called polyacetylenes. Early studies have shown that polyacetylenes help reduce toxicity and fight against cancer formation, specifically breast cancer, intestinal cancer and leukemia.
Polyacetlynes have many immune-boosting effects, including tumor-fighting abilities that stop mutated cells from proliferating. According to faculty of the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the Aarhus University of Denmark, “polyacetylenes have shown many interesting bioactivities including anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet-aggregatory, cytotoxic, antitumor activity, as well as activity against bacteria and mycoplasma.”
That’s not all. Celery contains flavonoids called apigenin and luteolin, which have been shown to induce death in cancer cells.