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Cancer-Inhibiting Celery

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Cancer-Inhibiting Celery

Celery’s reputation as a diet food in no way does justice to its culinary strengths and subtleties. Here’s a vegetable about which most of us know little except that it’s “mostly water” and has “practically no calories.” Such characterizations damn celery with excruciatingly faint praise — while its reputation for stringiness burdens it with undeserved liabilities. Happily, it’s what many of us have yet to discover about celery — its extraordinary perfume, its delicate flavor,  its nourishing, detoxifying and protective effects on both brain and body — that matter so much more.

Mildly salty, with light pine and citrus notes, this aromatic vegetable is a member (with parsnip, fennel and parsley) of the carrot family. Celery’s outer stalks, also called ribs, surround the tender, mildly flavored innermost ribs, called the celery heart. (Note that what’s known as “celery root,” also called celeriac, makes for great eating, but it comes from a different variety of celery plant.) Most celery is light green, but you can also find white celery (which, like white asparagus, is grown shaded from direct sunlight) and the more intensely flavored red celery. Celery seeds can be used whole or ground as a seasoning.

The vegetable’s bold texture and crunch can bring a satisfying contrast to all kinds of dishes. And its leaves, too often discarded, are supremely edible, adding a dash of good flavor — and celery’s highest concentration of nutrients — to salads, soups or virtually any other dish.

Nutrition Know-How

A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition shows that luteolin — a bioactive plant compound found in celery, carrots, peppers, olive oil, peppermint, rosemary and chamomile — reduces age-related inflammation in the brain and may help prevent memory loss.

Celery contains coumarins, compounds that help prevent free radicals from damaging cells. Coumarins also enhance the ability of certain white blood cells to eliminate harmful cells, including cancer cells.

One serving of raw celery — about two to three stalks, or a little more than 1 cup chopped — provides 44 percent of the daily suggested amount of vitamin K (good for blood and bones) and 14 percent of vitamin C (an immune-system booster).

Celery is a good source of potassium, calcium and magnesium, all associated with reduced blood pressure.

The acetylenics in celery have been shown to inhibit tumor growth.

Celery contains active compounds called phthalides, which contribute to celery’s distinctive aroma and help lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, improve circulation and aid detoxification.

Next: Storage Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

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Megan, selected from Experience Life

Experience Life magazine is an award-winning health and fitness publication that aims to empower people to live their best, most authentic lives, and challenges the conventions of hype, gimmicks and superficiality in favor of a discerning, whole-person perspective. Visit to learn more and to sign up for the Experience Life newsletter, or to subscribe to the print or digital version.


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4:28AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

This is a great article, thankyou, will eat more celery!

2:35AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

I don' t like celery but for health reasons I take it. I will usually juice it, together with green apples, carrots etc. and honey.

3:57PM PDT on May 24, 2011

I love celery, cooked, not raw. We use celery seed a lot, it seems to add a slightly salty flavour to food which brings out other flavours. I love the idea of red celery but I've never seen it in the market.

7:24AM PDT on May 6, 2011


7:38PM PDT on Apr 26, 2011

Who knew?

12:50AM PDT on Apr 17, 2011

I am always happy to hear that something I like to eat is good for me!!!

10:59AM PDT on Apr 16, 2011


3:05AM PDT on Apr 15, 2011

Celery school! I had no idea this stuff was so versatile. All I've ever done with it is stick it in dips, chop it in salads or boil it as a bit of a different veg (which makes it less stringy). I'm definitely going to try out some of these ideas.

9:11AM PDT on Apr 13, 2011

I love this article! One of my favorite afternoon snacks is celery sticks dipped in hummus. Lo-cal and tastes good. I had no idea it was also so healthy for me! One other thing I learned was about the leaves. I've always thrown them away or tossed them to the wild rabbits in my yard. I'll be eating those now!

10:11PM PDT on Apr 11, 2011

Thank you very much

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