Fiber, Folate, and 3 More Healthy Celery Benefits
These ultra-crunchy veggies are overflowing with water, micronutrients, gut-healthy fiber, and more.
Traditionally, celery has been associated with ants on a log, mirepoix soup starters, or vehicles for hummus and other dips. It’s the perfect crunchy crudités addition, crispy salad embellishment, or tender chicken soup ingredient.
There’s no doubt that celery is good for you, but can a vegetable so mild and unassuming actually pack that much of a nutritional punch? We spoke to a registered dietitian nutritionist, who definitely thinks celery has a lot to offer, starting with these seven reasons to eat (or drink) more of it.
Related: How to Store Celery So It's Always Crunchy
Health Benefits of Celery
Celery is made up of mostly water, so it’s very hydrating.
In addition to making sure you’re getting enough nutrients, it’s important to drink plenty of fluids every day. The general recommendation is to drink eight cups of water per day, but the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics says women should aim for about 11.5 cups of water per day and men should aim for about 15.5 cups daily. While this may sound like a lot, remember that you can get about 20 percent of your fluid needs from hydrating foods and other healthy beverages.
Water is the ultimate hydrator, and one of the key benefits of celery is its high water content. In fact, celery is made up of approximately 95 percent water, according to UCLA Health. Eating your veggies shouldn’t replace drinking plenty of water, but it can certainly contribute to keeping you hydrated while also offering a variety of nutrients to boot.
Related: 8 Foods That Can Make You Dehydrated and Feel Extra-Thirsty
Celery is a good source of several potent antioxidants.
Antioxidants fend off free radicals, unstable molecules that contribute to many leading diseases. Fortunately, celery is full of antioxidants that effectively scavenge free radicals, as shown by a 2019 study in the International Journal of Food Properties.
“Celery is high in many antioxidants including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and flavonoids,” explains Kristen Carli, MS, RD, registered dietitian nutritionist and the owner of Camelback Nutrition & Wellness. “Research shows that antioxidants can help fight against and prevent chronic disease inflammation that can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even cancer.”
Celery is a fiber-rich veggie.
Dietary fiber is the underrated nutrient that most Americans could benefit from getting more of. Fiber plays an essential role in gut microbiome health and digestive regularity, and helps slow the way glucose is processed in your system, keeping blood sugars more stable.
Recently, with the rates of colon cancer on the rise, the importance of eating more fiber is becoming more clear. “Because celery is 95 percent water, the amount of fiber found in a serving of celery is quite high,” Carli says, adding that researchers have found that high-fiber diets are negatively associated with colon cancer risk (negative being a good thing in this case).
Related: 16 Best Fruits and Vegetables For Gut Health, According to RDs
A cup of raw celery contains about 2 grams of fiber, according to USDA data. The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend 22 to 28 grams daily for women and 28 to 31 grams per day for men.
If you’re wondering about celery juice, keep in mind that juicing or blending a piece of produce removes a lot (if not most) of the fiber. It’s totally safe to drink, and it’s certainly not bad for you, but know that you’re not getting the fiber you would be otherwise, when you eat celery whole.
Celery is a source of folate, a.k.a. vitamin B9.
This vitamin is especially important during pregnancy, which is why folic acid is commonly found in prenatal vitamins. It’s a form of folate (vitamin B9), which is an essential nutrient for the entire body, but especially for pregnancy. According to the American Pregnancy Association, folate can prevent miscarriage and birth defects. It’s important to get plenty of this nutrient before you are even pregnant.
Food sources of folate are a great way to get the nutrients you need. Per the USDA, a cup of raw celery contains more than 43 micrograms (mcg) of folate. The average adult requires about 400 mcg while a pregnant woman should aim for 600 mcg, notes the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. So, a serving of celery can satisfy up to 10 percent of your need for folate.
Celery is high in vitamin K.
A cup of celery packs about 35 mcg of vitamin K, per the USDA. The National Institutes of Health estimates adult men and men need about 120 mcg and 90 mcg, respectively, per day, so celery can meet up to 39 percent of your daily need
Vitamin K is often referred to as the blood clotting vitamin. Like its nickname suggests, the body needs it for healthy blood clotting, though it’s also important for healthy bones, per the National Library of Medicine. Leafy vegetables like celery are among the best food sources of vitamin K.
Delicious Celery Recipes
Celery, Cucumber, and Pineapple Juice Smoothie
Chickpea Salad Sandwich
Stir-Fried Shrimp and Celery
Classic Chicken Soup
Related: The 30 Healthiest Foods to Eat Every Day
For more Real Simple news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on Real Simple.