Health Benefits of Celery

Medically Reviewed by Jabeen Begum, MD on August 11, 2023
6 min read

It's an aromatic vegetable that belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots, parsnip, fennel, parsley, and cumin. Celery was first grown in the Mediterranean and the Middle East, and it's been used as both food and medicine for centuries.

Celery stalks add crunch to raw salads and dips and mild flavor to soups and smoothies. It's also packed with antioxidants that help fight cellular damage.





Celery is high in fiber and nutrients and low in calories. It's full of potassium , vitamins, and antioxidants. Celery is 95% water. It's a great snack if you're trying to lose weight or for regular bowel movements. But it has other health benefits, too.

Cancer prevention

The antioxidants in celery include well-known varieties such as flavonoids and vitamin C, as well as lunularin and bergapten. They help cancel out natural chemicals in your body called free radicals that can harm cells and lead to cancer and other diseases. 

Blood pressure management

Celery is rich in a plant compound called phthalide. This phytochemical relaxes your artery walls to help blood flow and to lower your blood pressure. 

Alzheimer's disease prevention and treatment

Research in mice suggests that a compound called DL-3-n-butylphthalide made from seeds in the flowers of the celery plant improves learning, thinking, and memory. This seed extract may possibly treat and prevent Alzheimer's, but more studies are needed to confirm these benefits in the human population.

Like most vegetables, celery is almost all water. Its biggest nutrients are carbohydrates, followed by protein, and trace amounts of fat. 

Celery is a good source of:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin K
  • Potassium
  • Folate
  • Calcium

Nutrients per serving

A cup of chopped celery has:

  • Calories: 14
  • Protein: Less than 1 gram
  • Fat: Less than 1 gram
  • Carbohydrates: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Sugar: 1 gram

Things to look out for

If you eat too much celery, it can cause bloating or gas. That may be because celery has high levels of the compound mannitol, which can cause dehydration, disrupt the balance of sodium levels in your body, and create other problems.

You can buy celery all year at most places.

Look for tightly packed, bright pale green stalks that are crisp and snap easily. Darker-colored celery will have stronger flavor. 

Store your celery in your refrigerator's crisper drawer in loose plastic, such as an unsealed plastic bag. When stored properly, it can keep for about 2 weeks. You can even freeze it for months.

Just wash and trim it well, chop it into your desired lengths, and flash freeze in a single layer on a sheet pan overnight. Then transfer the frozen celery into an airtight container. It should last up to about 18 months. Or you can quickly dip the celery in boiling water for a couple of minutes and then into an ice bath before you freeze it. Blanching vegetables this way helps lock in their color and flavor. Frozen celery will lose some of its crunchy texture, so it's best for stews, soups, and other cooked dishes.

Celery is a key part of mirepoix, a mix of carrots, onions, and celery used as the base of many soups and sauces. Celery goes well with dill, apples, mushrooms, potatoes, and lentils. 

Try these options for including celery in your diet:

  • Dip celery sticks into hummus.
  • Add chopped celery to tuna salad or chicken salad.
  • Stir-fry celery slices with red chiles for extra spice.
  • Simmer diced celery with carrots and onion in homemade chicken noodle soup.
  • Blend in a green smoothie with spinach, banana, and apple.
  • Stuff celery stalks with pimento cheese, or peanut butter and raisins.
  • Add chopped celery, crushed tomatoes, baby carrots, ginger, and garlic to a pot roast in the slow cooker.

Also called celeriac or knob celery, celery root is the knobby, ball-like end of the plant. It's a root vegetable like turnips, parsnips, and water chestnuts.

Celery root has a mild taste that pairs well with many foods, and it’s often used as a substitute for potatoes. Simply swap in celeriac for potato (mashed celeriac instead of mashed potatoes) and season with things like salt, pepper, and cheese. You also can eat it sautéed, boiled, or pureed. 

Celery root has many health benefits, and unlike soy or wheat, celery root isn’t known to cause food allergies

Keep these in mind if you'd like to add celery root to your diet:

Pros. Celery root is a versatile vegetable that works well in many recipes. You can season it with garlic, lemon, capers, parsley, and other choices. You can make it part of a healthy diet. It’s also easy to find in the grocery store, inexpensive, and contains several vital nutrients.

Cons. Celery root is high in fiber, which can sometimes be tough on your stomach and cause gas. If you’re not used to eating high-fiber foods, start with a small amount of celeriac before you serve it as a side dish or substitute it for potatoes. Celery root can also have too many carbohydrates for people with blood sugar issues.

Celery root is a good source of fiber, plus it contains many other essential vitamins and minerals you need to maintain a a healthy diet.

One cup of celery root has:

Vitamin C. You need this antioxidant for a healthy immune system. Vitamin C can also help your body absorb iron from food or supplements.

Celery root includes about 12.5 milligrams of vitamin C per serving, which is a solid amount of the 75 milligrams (for women) or 90 milligrams (for men) that you should get from your diet every day.

Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps form blood clots, and builds healthy bones. If you take blood thinners, though, talk to your doctor about eating celery root before you add it to your diet. 

Magnesium. This mineral helps support your muscles and nerves, and helps give you energy, but many Americans don't get enough in their diets. Low levels of magnesium can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. 

Celeriac includes 31.2 milligrams of magnesium per serving, which can help you reach the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) for your age.

Juicing is a popular way to get your vitamins and minerals by squeezing or pressing fresh fruits and vegetables. Not surprising, celery juice is made from fresh celery stalks. 

How to make celery juice

The easiest way is with a juicer. Cut the tops and base off several stalks of celery, wash the ribs very carefully (even if they're organic), and then put them into your juicer. You also can add a fresh peeled lime or a few apples to pump up the flavor. Serve it right away or drink it within 24 hours. 

You can make it in a blender if you don't have a juicer. Just chop the celery finely and blend well. Add some water if needed. Then strain it through cheesecloth and enjoy within 24 hours.

This seasoning is a mix of ground celery seeds and salt. It has a mild, salty flavor, and you can use it to season all kinds of savory foods and drinks. It tastes a lot like regular salt but has an earthy finish that can become bitter. 

You can use celery salt in place of regular salt in many savory dishes, especially those with onions or carrots. You also can add celery salt to dishes like egg salad and tuna salad, or sprinkle it atop a fresh lobster roll for a punch of flavor. It also makes a great option to rim a bloody mary glass.

Many people think celery is hard to grow because it has specific watering and soil quality requirements. But with proper care, you can grow it at home. Here's how.

Celery needs well-drained, organic sandy soil with lots of organic matter, such as compost or leaves. Test your soil to check what fertilizer it needs before you plant. Celery works best as a transplant, so look for plants with well-established roots. Depending on where you live, you can start planting in April or May. Space the plants about 12 inches apart to help force them to grow tall. 

Celery plants need plenty of water, about 1 to 2 inches every week while they're growing. Soak the soil thoroughly when you water because the root systems of the plants are small and shallow. Watering regularly will produce a crispier crop. Drip irrigation systems are ideal for celery plants.