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Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health,
including phalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful
in cancer prevention.
    •    Cholesterol-lowering Benefits
    •    Diuretic Activity
    •    Cancer Prevention


    •    Health Benefits
    •    Safety
    •    Nutritional Profile
    •    References

Health Benefits

Celery contains vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote health, including
phalides, which may help lower cholesterol, and coumarins, that may be useful in cancer

Vitamin C

Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system.
Vitamin C-rich foods like celery may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over
20 scientific studies have concluded that vitamin C is a cold-fighter. Vitamin C also prevents the free
radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade, and is therefore also associated with
reduced severity of inflammatory conditions, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid
arthritis. As free radicals can oxidize cholesterol and lead to plaques that may rupture causing heart
attacks or stroke, vitamin C is beneficial to promoting cardiovascular health. Owing to the multitude
of vitamin C's health benefits, it is not surprising that research has shown that consumption of
vegetables and fruits high in this nutrient is associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes
including heart disease, stroke and cancer.


Celery's potential for reducing high blood pressure has long been recognized by Chinese medicine
practitioners, and Western science researchers may have recently identified one reason why.

Celery contains active compounds called pthalides, which can help relax the muscles around arteries
and allow those vessels to dilate. With more space inside the arteries, the blood can flow at a lower
pressure. Pthalides also reduce stress hormones, one of whose effects is to cause blood vessels to
constrict. When researchers injected 3-n-butyl phthalide derived from celery into rats, the rats'
blood pressure dropped 12 to 14 percent. Of course, injection of a celery extract into rats is very far
from food consumption by humans, and the researchers participating in this as yet unpublished
study cautioned against overindulging in celery until clinical trials could be conducted with food and
humans. But the potential helpfulness of this already nourishing food in lowering blood pressure
seems likely, and it doesn't hurt that celery ranks as a very good source of potassium and a good
source of calcium and magnesium, because increased intake of these minerals has also been
associated with reduced blood pressure.

Celery has a reputation among some persons as being a high-sodium vegetable, and blood pressure
reduction is usually associated with low-sodium foods. So how do the benefits of phthalides
compare with the risks of sodium in celery? There are approximately 100 milligrams of sodium in a
full cup of chopped celery - that's about 2 stalk's worth. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's
Daily Value for sodium intake is 2,400 milligrams - the equivalent of about 24 cups, or 48 stalks of
celery. Since two stalks of celery only provide about 4% of the sodium DV, most individuals would
be able to include 2 or even more stalks of celery in a day's diet while keeping their total sodium
intake below the DV by sticking with other low-sodium foods. The exact amount of celery needed to
achieve the blood pressure lowering effects found in rats cannot be determined until clinical trials
are conducted on humans using the food itself.

Cholesterol-lowering Benefits

In studies of animals specially bred to have high cholesterol, celery's cholesterol-lowering activity
has been demonstrated. In eight weeks, aqueous solutions of celery (like celery juice) fed to
specially bred high cholesterol animals significantly lowered their total cholesterol by increasing bile
acid secretion.

Diuretic Activity

The seeds of celery's wild forebears, which originated around the Mediterranean, were widely used
as a diuretic. Today, we understand how celery, which is rich in both potassium and sodium, the
minerals most important for regulating fluid balance, stimulates urine production, thus helping to rid
the body of excess fluid.

Cancer Prevention

Celery contains compounds called coumarins that help prevent free radicals from damaging cells,
thus decreasing the mutations that increase the potential for cells to become cancerous. Coumarins
also enhance the activity of certain white blood cells, immune defenders that target and eliminate
potentially harmful cells, including cancer cells. In addition, compounds in celery called acetylenics
have been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells.


Celery is a biennial vegetable (meaning it has a normal life cycle of two years) that belongs to the
Umbelliferae family, whose other members include carrots, fennel, parsley and dill. While most
people associate celery with its prized stalks, its leaves, roots and seeds are also used as a food and
seasoning as well as a natural medicinal remedy.

Celery grows to a height of 12 to 16 inches and is composed of leaf-topped stalks arranged in a
conical shape and joined at a common base. The stalks have a crunchy texture and a delicate, but
mildly salty, taste. The stalks in the center are called the heart and are the most tender. In the
United States, we are used to celery appearing in different shades of green, but in Europe they also
enjoy a variety that is white in color. Like white asparagus, this type of celery is grown shaded from
direct sunlight, so the production of its chlorophyll content, and hence its green color, are inhibited.

The celery that we know today was derived from wild celery, which while thought to have its origins
in the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa and southern Europe, is also native to areas
extending east to the Himalayas. Wild celery differed a bit from its modern day counterpart in that it
featured less stalks and more leaves.

Celery has a long and prestigious history of use, first as a medicine and then later as a food. The
initial mention of the medicinal properties of celery leaves dates back to the 9th century B.C., when
celery made an appearance in the Odyssey, the famous epic by the Greek poet, Homer. The Ancient
Greeks used the leaves as laurels to decorate their renowned athletes, while the ancient Romans
used it as a seasoning, a tradition that has carried through the centuries.

It was not until the Middle Ages that celery's use expanded beyond medicine and seasoning into
consideration as a food. And while today, for most people thoughts of celery conjure up images of
dips and crudité platters, eating this delicious crunchy vegetable raw did not really become popular
until the 18th century in Europe. Celery was introduced in the United States early in the 19th

Tips for preparing celery:
To clean celery, cut off the base and leaves, then wash the leaves and stalks under running water.
Cut the stalks into pieces of desired length. If the outside of the celery stalk has fibrous strings,
remove them by making a thin cut into one end of the stalk and peeling away the fibers. Be sure to
use the leaves--they contain the most vitamin C, calcium and potassium--but use them within a day
or two as they do not store very well.

Celery should not be kept at room temperature for too long since, because of its high water content,
it has a tendency to wilt quickly. If you have celery that has wilted, sprinkle it with a little water and
place it in the refrigerator for several hours where it will regain its crispness.

A few quick serving ideas:
Add chopped celery to your favorite tuna fish or chicken salad recipe.

Enjoy the delicious tradition of eating peanut butter on celery stalks.

Use celery leaves in salads.

Braise chopped celery, radicchio and onions and serve topped with walnuts and your favorite soft

Next time you are making fresh squeezed carrot juice give it a unique taste dimension by adding
some celery to it.

Add celery leaves and sliced celery stalks to soups, stews, casseroles, and healthy stir fries.


Celery and Pesticide Residues
Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the
exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though
pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well
documented. The liver's ability to process other toxins, the cells' ability to produce energy, and the
nerves' ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the
Envirionmental Working Group's 2003 report "Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce", celery is
among the 12 foods on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore,
individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of
celery unless it is grown organically.

Nutritional Profile

Introduction to Food Rating System Chart

                                   Celery, Raw
                                    1.00 cup
                                  19.20 calories

                                           DV      Nutrient     World's Healthiest
          Nutrient             Amount     (%)      Density        Foods Rating

          vitamin K           35.26 mcg   44.1       41.3            excellent

          vitamin C            8.40 mg    14.0       13.1            excellent

          potassium           344.40 mg    9.8       9.2            very good

            folate            33.60 mcg    8.4       7.9            very good

         dietary fiber          2.04 g     8.2       7.7            very good

         molybdenum            6.00 mcg    8.0       7.5            very good

         manganese             0.12 mg     6.0       5.6            very good

    vitamin B6 (pyridoxine)    0.10 mg     5.0       4.7            very good

           calcium             48.00 mg    4.8       4.5               good

     vitamin B1 (thiamin)      0.06 mg     4.0       3.8               good

         magnesium             13.20 mg    3.3       3.1               good

          vitamin A           160.80 IU    3.2       3.0               good

          tryptophan            0.01 g     3.1       2.9               good

         phosphorus            30.00 mg    3.0       2.8               good

    vitamin B2 (riboflavin)    0.05 mg     2.9       2.8               good

             iron              0.48 mg     2.7       2.5               good

    World's Healthiest
      Foods Rating                                   Rule
          excellent           DV>=75%     OR     Density>=7.6    AND    DV>=10%
         very good            DV>=50%     OR     Density>=3.4    AND    DV>=5%
            good              DV>=25%     OR     Density>=1.5    AND   DV>=2.5%


•          Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis,
      California: Pegus Press; 1986.
•        Finkelstein E, Afek U, Gross E, et al. An outbreak of phytophotodermatitis due to celery. Int
    J Dermatol 1994 Feb;33(2):116-8.
•        Khaw KT, Bingham S, Welch A, et al. Relation between plasma ascorbic acid and mortality
    in men and women in EPIC-Norfolk prospective study: a prospective population study. European
    Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition. Lancet. 2001 Mar 3;357(9257):657-63.
•        Kurl S, Tuomainen TP, Laukkanen JA et al. Plasma vitamin C modifies the association
    between hypertension and risk of stroke. Stroke 2002 Jun;33(6):1568-73.

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