Celery can be an easy addition to many meals. Chomp down on these green stocks for a quick snack, add them to the base of a soup dish, or blend them up for a trendy celery juice — you name it — they are extremely versatile. Thanks to celery being a low-calorie food that's also high in fiber and vitamins, this vegetable has several unexpected health benefits.
For starters, celery contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties (via Healthline). These antioxidants fight free radicals and protect the body from oxidative stress, while the anti-inflammatory compounds help reduce (and protect the body from) inflammation. According to Healthline celery contains approximately 25 anti-inflammatory compounds and at least 12 different antioxidants such as vitamin C, flavonoids, and beta carotene.
One explanation why celery is so high in anti-inflammatory properties is because it contains apigenin, a plant compound that's also antibacterial and antiviral (per Medical News Today). In fact, a 2017 study published in the journal Cell & Bioscience reports that apigenin has anti-cancer effects found to be most helpful in combination with chemotherapy drugs.
Other research suggests celery may also aid in reducing blood pressure (via Medical News Today). This is mainly due to the phytochemical known as phthalides, which calms the artery wall tissues and enhances blood flow, points out Cleveland Clinic. "To get the benefit, you should eat roughly four stalks — one cup, chopped — of celery daily," recommends Dr. Luke Laffin, a Cleveland Clinic doctor.
In addition, celery has several impressive health benefits when it comes to the digestive system. Not only do celery's anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties support the digestive tract, but the ample amounts of fiber and high water content found in celery also help keep you regular (via LiveScience). According to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) two medium stalks contain 15 calories and 2 grams of fiber (which is 8% of the daily recommended value). Fiber helps curb hunger and support satiety, which can help with weight loss, points out LiveScience.
On top of the fiber content, celery extract was found to protect the lining of the stomach and reduce the chances of stomach ulcers in rats, according to a 2010 study published in Pharmaceutical Biology. Researchers from the study explain that this gastro mucosa protection is likely due to the antioxidant potential found within celery. More specifically, Healthline points out that celery contains a pectin-based polysaccharide called apiuman, which can also promote a healthy stomach lining.
Celery is a great addition to a healthy diet. Munch on it raw, add a smear of creamy nut butter like almond butter, or toss it into a stir fry for dinner.