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One Major Side Effect of Eating Celery, Says Dietitian

How can something with effectively negative calories have an impact on your health? We'll tell you.

Commonly found slathered in peanut butter or nestled alongside carrots in crudités platters, celery often plays a supporting role when it comes to snacks and meals. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride! But if you stop to think about it, it does kind of make sense—on the surface level, there really isn't that much to celery.

For example, one celery stick contains just half a calorie. To put that in perspective, the same amount of carrot contains three times that amount.

How is it that a food can be so low in calories? It's because celery is over 95% water. The rest of it is fiber, sugar, and then minuscule amounts of protein and fat.

So the next logical question is, "If there's not much to celery, why do we even eat it?"

There are actually some surprising side effects of eating celery, one major one is that you'll get a solid dose of inflammation-fighting antioxidants.

"There seems to be a cultural obsession with celery these days, with the Kardashians touting the health benefits of the veggie's juice," points out Julie Upton, MS, RD, registered dietitian and member of the Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board, who says that there is some truth to what influencers have been claiming.

And what benefits might those be?

"Apium graveolens L (aka celery) provides a potent antioxidant cocktail with compounds like caffeic acid, luteolin, ferulic acid among others," Upton explains. In fact, celery is one of the major contributors of luteolin and other flavonoid compounds to the American diet, according to the USDA.

"Together, these bioactive compounds provide strong antioxidant protection to help tamp down inflammation, lower harmful blood lipids, temper blood sugar, and many other potential health benefits," says Upton.

So, yes, there really is more to celery than just being crunchy water!

celery stalks and celery juice
tataks/iStock

You can reap these antioxidant benefits by including celery in your daily diet, but you may be better off sipping it:

"Drinking celery juice will provide a more concentrated source for getting all of the benefits from celery," says Upton.

If you're not interested in green juice, don't worry. While you may not be able to chew through enough raw celery to consume the same levels of antioxidants, you can still benefit from celery's low-calorie, high-fiber properties. As a crunchy snack, you can reap some serious weight-loss benefits if you choose celery to dip into your hummus or ranch over your usual side of chips or crackers.

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Olivia Tarantino
Olivia Tarantino is a senior editor of Eat This, Not That!, specializing in nutrition, health, and food product coverage. Read more
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