College of DuPage Nursing Student Emma E. Caemody wrote for Healthy Lombard that in a society of manipulative marketing it is hard to not succumb to the curiosities of the latest trends. Celery has been tagged as the “miracle vegetable” and the “negative calorie vegetable” which makes it appealing to have available in the kitchen. With these powerful claims, it makes the idea of consuming celery in large quantities over dessert quite appealing, but how “powerful” is celery, really?
Celery is a vegetable belonging to the Apiaceae family (Kooti, 2017). It is loaded with vitamins and minerals that are essential to our bodies. According to the National Institutes of Health, the celery plant is composed of three parts: the root, leaves, and seeds (Kooti, 2017). These components combined make celery a great resource of essential vitamins and minerals such as vitamin A and K and the minerals potassium and folate, as well as flavonoids. That sounds great, but what do each of these nutrients actually do in the body?
Flavonoids are, in simple terms, a compound found in foods that help to make your body function more efficiently while protecting it from stressors and toxins. They have an abundance of antioxidant properties which aid in protecting your body from unwanted substances that can play a role in heart disease, cancers, and autoimmune diseases (Kooti, 2017).
Folate is a B vitamin that is essential for red blood cells to develop normally as well as for carbohydrates to provide bodily energy (Kooti, 2017). Vitamin A is an essential vitamin in the human body due to its ability to support cell growth and differentiation. It is important for the maintenance of organs such as the heart, liver, and kidneys (The National Institutes of Health, 2020) and also plays an important role in immune system function in preventing infection.
When you hear the phrase, “eat your vegetables” it seems there is truth to this claim given the multiple nutritional benefits that celery provides to the body. But is celery really a negative calorie food as the theory claims; i.e., it requires more calories to digest than are in it?
According to Hensrud (2020) in a Mayo Clinic article, an estimated 5 to 10 percent of total daily energy expenditure is necessary for digestion and the storage of nutrients from the foods we eat. Since celery is a very low-calorie vegetable containing only 10 calories per stalk, it is possible. Therefore, to maintain a healthy nutritional balance it is not recommended to eat large quantities of celery in spite of the purported negative calorie. Rather, celery is a healthy food choice with ample nutrients that benefit health, however, whether it is a magical vegetable with “zero calories” is not known. Celery should be eaten as part of a well-balanced diet along with other vegetables and nutrient-rich foods. It is certainly a food worth adding to the future grocery list.
Donald Hensrud, M. (2020, July 02). The truth about negative-calorie foods. Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/expert-answers/negative-calorie-foods/faq-20058260
Kooti, W., & Daraei, N. (2017, October). A Review of the Antioxidant Activity of Celery ( apium graveolens l). Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5871295/
Office of Dietary Supplements – Vitamin A. (2020, February 14). Retrieved February 05, 2021, from https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminA-HealthProfessional/