If you’re looking for nutritious vegetables to add to your low carb eating plan, then celery certainly passes the test! Crunch on it raw with your favorite dip, add it to soups and stews, or include it as a key ingredient in your healthy green juice. From the edible seeds, to the stalks and leaves, this is one vegetable where nothing needs to go to waste!
Let’s take a look at the nutritional make up and benefits of this nourishing keto-friendly vegetable.
How many calories in a cup of celery?
Chop up a stalk of celery or two and you’ll probably have yourself about a cup full. That’s about 40g (1.4oz) for one medium stalk, and only 3 calories! If you’re wondering about carbs in celery, it’s less than half a gram for a cup! [i].
At first glance you might not think that celery has a place in your low carb meal plan because the greatest percentage of calories in it comes from carbohydrates, rather than fat or protein. However, when you consider that the bulk is made up of fiber and water, it’s going to take a lot of crunching to get to any sort of major calorie count. It’s possible that you might even burn more calories from the process of chewing it up than you’ll get from the actual food!
You might also be asking the question “does celery have sugar?” The answer is that anything with carbohydrates technically contains at least a tiny amount of sugar. As you already know, the carbohydrate content of celery is very low, and you’ll be happy to know this means sugar content is also very low.
Non-starchy, green vegetables like celery have such a negligible sugar content, they’re considered “low carb vegetables.” You might be aware that vegetables like these are welcomed on low carb diets, such as the ketogenic diet, and this is precisely the reason why.
Remember to consider what you’re eating your celery with. These claims about the low sugar and carbohydrate content are regarding celery on its own, not necessarily with your favorite tasty dip! Don’t worry; we’ll share a few healthy dips to eat it with shortly.
Celery benefits and side effects
For a vegetable that isn’t high in any of the macronutrients (except water!) celery boasts a pretty impressive micronutrient profile. High in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium and manganese it contains plenty of essential nutrients for the body. It’s also a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. Celery also contains sodium[ii]. Its mix of natural electrolytes and high water content means it can be useful for keeping dehydration at bay.
Does celery lower blood pressure?
The benefits of celery are not limited to its stalks. Celery seeds and the essential oils produced from them can offer some profound health benefits. Not only are they a useful spice that adds flavor to many dishes, they have also been shown to have benefits for lowering blood pressure. A study on rats concluded that celery seed extract has antihypertensive properties and can be used as part of a treatment plan for chronic high blood pressure. The rats who were fed celery seed extract showed significant improvements in blood pressure compared to those who were not[iii].
Celery benefits for weight loss
Maybe by now you’ve figured out the answer to the question “is celery good for weight loss?” With its low sugar, calorie and carbohydrate content it can be a useful addition to any weight loss program. Its impressive nutrient profile also helps you to stay well nourished. By getting the nourishment your body needs, you’re taking one step closer to creating the balanced internal environment that your body requires to lose weight easily.
Remember that celery also has a high fiber and water content, both of which can help your weight loss efforts. The fiber can help your digestive processes to work effectively and the water content helps to keep you hydrated. When you are well hydrated you’re less likely to mistake thirst signals for hunger.
Finally, the ability of celery to help regulate lipid (fat) metabolism[vi] gives it extra points as a great addition to your weight loss meal plan.
Celery benefits for men
A quick search for the benefits of celery for men’s health will bring up a plethora of information hailing celery as the best natural alternative to Viagra. Before you get too excited (pun intended!) it’s important not to get too caught up in the hype! Sure, adding some celery to your (or your man’s) diet is going to bring with it a number of benefits, which we’ve already covered. If it helps in the bedroom, well you can consider that a welcomed bonus!
In ancient times celery was reportedly used as a love potion, in lust-inducing soups, and to help with sexual stamina[vii]. At a stretch you could say it has the potential to help build sexual stamina due to the hydrating effects and high vitamin and mineral content…although a similar claim could be made for women and also for many other nutritious foods!
Much of the hype has stemmed from aldosterone and aldostenone, which are compounds that are supposedly found in celery. They can act as pheromones that women may be attracted to. However, the science is lacking and a very large quantity may need to be consumed for any effect to occur! One study on three varieties of celery showed that very little aldosterone was found in the samples[viii]. A rat study on the benefits of celery as a treatment option for infertility showed some potential, possibly as a result of the high antioxidant content contained in the vegetable[ix].
Possible side effects of celery
As a food, celery stalks and leaves are likely to be safe for the majority of people. People with allergies or sensitivities to certain plants and spices may experience problems with celery. Limited research exists on the safety of celery seeds and celery oil during pregnancy. And breast feeding information is limited. So avoid these these forms just to be safe while pregnant.
Other cautionary situations include using celery during and after surgery, as well as caution or avoidance for bleeding disorders, kidney problems and low blood pressure[x]. Check with your health care provider if any of these apply to you.
Recipes with celery
There are so many tasty ways to use celery. The nutritional content we have covered so far is with regards to celery on its own. Now it’s time to look at a few ideas for how to use it. Yes, most of these celery recipes will be adding the other macro nutrients in (protein and healthy fats). This helps to create more of a balanced snack or meal so you can further cover your nutritional bases and feel satiated.
Celery sticks recipe
Celery sticks are tasty, nutritious, fast and easy to prepare. Pair them with with these ideas to create a balanced snack:
- Try our paleo-friendly ranch dressing, which is bursting full of nutrition, good fats, and amazing flavor
- Pair your celery sticks with your favorite nut butter. Almond, cashew, Brazil, or classic peanut butter are a few options that add a wonderful balance of protein and fats
- Other fast, simple and nutritious options include: tahini, hummus or natural yogurt
Can you eat celery leaves?
Yes! Use them like this:
- Add them to your favorite salad
- Include them in a homemade pesto
- Along with the stalks, throw them into stir fries, sauces, soups, stews and other cooked dishes
Do you love celery as much as we do? How do you use it use it?