Celery is often thought of as the quintessential diet food, flavorless and stringy but so low in calories as to guarantee you’ll shed pounds. And in truth, celery is really good for weight loss. But it offers much more than that. Celery is so good for you that after you read this article, you’ll want to both eat it and slather it on your skin!
You may think that there is so much water and fiber in celery that it couldn’t contain much else, but in reality celery is an excellent source of several important vitamins and minerals. For starters, it is particularly high in vitamin K and molybdenum.
Present in lesser but still significant amounts are folate, potassium, manganese, and pantothenic acid. When you eat celery, you’ll also net vitamins A, B2, B6, and C, copper, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium.
Ready to find out what all that goodness can do for you?
1. Weight Loss
It is sometimes suggested that celery has so few calories that it is actually a negative calorie food, meaning it takes more calories to digest than the celery itself contains. Wouldn’t that be nice? The evidence for this is conflicting, but celery is extremely low in calories and you don’t have to bother counting it in your daily tally of calories consumed.
Celery also has a good amount of fiber and water that can help you feel full and quiet those troubling junk food cravings. If you’re on a diet, try eating some celery before every meal to ultimately reduce portion size without feeling deprived.
2. Aids Digestion
The fiber in celery also supports a healthy digestive system, which is critical because digestion is the way that our bodies convert food into energy. Without enough fiber, digestion slows and you are at risk for uncomfortable conditions like constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.
Celery contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, neither of which are directly digested by the body. The soluble kind forms a gel-like substance that adds bulk to your stool and helps it pass easily. The insoluble kind feeds the good bacteria in your gut that are necessary to properly digest the rest of your food. Not only does celery offer both of these beneficial types of fiber, it also contains certain phytochemicals that aid the body in absorbing available nutrients.
3. Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol puts a body at greater risk of heart attack and cardiovascular disease. If you are attempting to lower your LDL (bad) cholesterol, you’ll want to eat celery and lots of it. Celery contains a compound called 3-n-butylphthaline (3nb) that research has found can improve this critical measure of health.
According to Chicago University scientists, eating 4 stalks per day can reduce your LDL by about 7%. That could be enough to bring your number to a healthy place.
4. Reduced Inflammation
Inflammation is a defense mechanism that occurs at the site of any bodily injury. Chronic inflammation, however, is an immune system misfire that causes more problems than it solves. Eating foods high in antioxidants can reduce chronic inflammation significantly.
Celery has over 12 different types of antioxidants that are known to reduce inflammation and pain, especially for people with any form of arthritis. Even if you don’t have arthritis, the antioxidants in celery can minimize aches and pains associated with exercise, keep your skin firm and young-looking, and improve the function of all your organs.
5. Replenished Electrolytes
After exercise, skip the sports drink and eat some celery instead. Sports drinks are meant to replenish electrolytes, but the massive amount of sugar they contain can obliterate the benefits of your workout. Celery, in addition to having a lot of water to stave off dehydration, features a nice balance of potassium and sodium.
These two nutrients work together to regulate the body’s use of water. This has particular benefits for your kidneys. If you’d like to add celery to your post-workout routine but don’t necessarily feel like eating it, try juicing it into a flavorful smoothie.