Celery is an often-overlooked vegetable that may not grace your table except as an accompaniment to buffalo wings and a dollop of ranch dressing. But this unassuming vegetable is packed with minerals and other nutrients that have more health benefits than you may realize. Check out this list of 15 health benefits of celery, and learn how to incorporate more celery into your diet.
15. Lowered Cholesterol
The crisp and crunchy celery stalk is rich in fibers that aid in digestion and contribute to the cholesterol-lowering effect of the plant. Celery is also rich in compounds called phthalides. The New York Times reports that researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center have discovered some interesting benefits of celery consumption. Eating four stalks of celery each day can decrease your cholesterol by as much as 7%. Additionally, celery stimulates the manufacture of bile acids. Bile acids play a key role in the removal of cholesterol from your body.
14. Decreased Blood Pressure
The phthalides that are useful in lowering your cholesterol also play a part in lowering blood pressure. Decreased cholesterol plaques in your arteries allow blood to flow normally. The potassium in celery also lowers blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. Enjoy your celery raw for the very best effects on your blood pressure. When purchasing celery, choose produce with firm stalks and bright green leaves. Avoid limp celery or stalks with brown or wilted leaves. Store your celery in the refrigerator and consume within one week.
13. Urinary Tract Infection Prevention
Celery works as a diuretic, which means it aids in the excretion of urine. This helps to flush out your bladder and prevent urinary tract infections. Celery also aids in reducing uric acid in the body. To whip up a batch of homemade celery juice, chop up a bunch of celery and toss it in your blender with ½ cup of water. If you don’t like the taste, add apple chunks or apple juice for a sweeter flavor.Related: 11 Tips for Preventing Painful Urinary Tract Infections
12. Decreased Arthritis Pain
Celery has anti-inflammatory properties that make it beneficial for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, gout, and rheumatism. Luteolin in celery helps decrease painful swelling of the joints. Also, decreased levels of uric acid in the joints helps with pain control. Kids have long enjoyed the “ants on a log” snack of celery sticks spread with peanut butter and topped with raisins. For a grown-up version of this snack, try celery stalks stuffed with a mixture of cream cheese, nuts, and dried fruit.
11. Lowered Cancer Risk
The phthalides, flavonoids, and polyacetylenes in celery may be beneficial in preventing cancer. Luteolin blocks the replication of cancer cells. This may prove beneficial in the treatment of breast cancer. Apigenin is another flavonoid found in celery that can cause the death of cancer cells. To boost the anti-cancer effects of this vegetable, include it in salads with leafy greens, antioxidant-rich berries, and nutrient-packed veggies.
10. Boosts to Immune System
Celery is rich in vitamin C and antioxidants that give your immune system a boost. Regular consumption of celery can help you ward off colds and infections. For a healthy treat, snack on celery sticks dipped in hummus. Include celery in hearty wintertime soups and stews that warm you from the inside out.
9. Decreased Asthma Symptoms
Another benefit of the anti-inflammatory properties of celery is decreased asthma symptoms. Inflammation of the respiratory system leads to asthma and difficulty breathing. Celery is 95% water, so in addition to vitamins and other nutrients, it keeps you hydrated. Keep a variety of dips on hand to enjoy with celery sticks and other veggies.
8. Improved Cardiac Health
Decreased cholesterol and lowered blood pressure lead to better heart health. The phthalides in celery contribute to a lower risk of heart attack or stroke. For a hearty meal with heart-protective benefits, enjoy a warming soup made up of carrots, celery, potatoes, tomatoes, onions, and broth.Related: 19 Foods to Keep Your Heart Healthy
7. Relieved Migraine Headaches
Headache relief may be related to the high water content of celery. Staying hydrated keeps headaches at bay. Decreased blood pressure helps with the throbbing headache of dilated blood vessels in the head. The diuretic effect of celery prevents excess water retention and headache. Herbal tinctures made from celery seed may improve headache symptoms.
6. Enhanced Libido
While celery may not seem particularly sexy, it can enhance your libido. Celery is rich in nutrients such as zinc, vitamin E, magnesium, niacin, and potassium, which are all important in healthy sexual function. Additionally, celery contains arginine, an amino acid that expands blood vessels and increases blood flow. Instead of grabbing the Viagra, head to the fridge for a stalk or two of celery.
5. Control of Blood Sugar
The flavones in celery mean that it is not only a wonderful low-calorie snack, but also it decreases blood sugar levels. Celery is high in fiber and contains only 16 calories per cup. This makes celery a delicious way to feel full and not pack on extra weight. Since weight control is an important component of diabetes treatment, this makes celery the perfect food to munch on. Try this recipe for Summer Celery Soup using celery, potatoes, onion, red wine, and chicken broth.Related: 10 Devious Effects of High Blood Sugar
4. Prevention of Cataracts
The presence of free radicals in the body and the oxidative effects they have on the lens of the eye can lead to cataracts. Foods high in antioxidants can help prevent this damage. In addition to celery, indulge in other sources of antioxidants. Vibrantly colorful berries like blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants. So do dark green, leafy vegetables such as spinach and kale. Sweet potatoes and orange vegetables are other good sources of antioxidants.
3. Increased Weight Loss
Include celery in your diet for a crunchy food that fills you up without a lot of calories. Celery provides plenty of nutrients while also providing fiber to keep you feeling full. Its high content of water keeps you hydrated and prevents the munchies that can occur when you are thirsty. Fiber from celery keeps food moving through your digestive tract, keeping you from feeling bloated.Related: 8 Bedtime Drinks that Help You Lose Weight
2. Improved Mental Health
Fueling your body with the nutrients it needs also means fueling your brain to take on the stresses and strains of everyday life. Replace empty calories with nutrient-rich foods such as celery to improve symptoms of depression. Potassium and folic acid contained in celery have a calming effect on the nervous system, decreasing symptoms of anxiety and jitteriness. Include celery in a healthy diet that also contains nuts, legumes, greens, fish, and lean proteins for a boost to your mind as well as your body.
1. Replaced Electrolytes
Celery contains high levels of potassium and sodium. This makes it perfect for replacing electrolytes lost during exercise. One benefit of chomping on celery instead of swigging an artificially flavored electrolyte beverage is you avoid excess sugar and artificial colors. Whip up a post-workout green smoothie containing celery, apple, spinach, banana, and avocado for a delicious way to recover from exertion.Related: Lower Your Blood Pressure with These 19 Healthy Foods