Celery seed contains sodium, but it could help lower your blood pressure. While that might seem counter-intuitive, it's not. In addition to sodium, celery contains nutrients that have a positive influence on blood pressure. Celery is a low-calorie snack, but the seed is not located along the stalk; celery seed is in the flower. Celery seed is now used primarily as a natural diuretic, a substance that helps flush excess fluid from the body. Consult with your physician before taking celery seed.
One tablespoon of celery seed contains 10 mg of sodium, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, but that's not the whole story. That same amount of celery seed also contains 115 mg of calcium, 2.9 mg of iron, 29 mg of magnesium, 91 mg of potassium, 1.1 mg of vitamin C and 2 mg of beta-carotene. Celery seed also contains zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, vitamin A and several B-complex vitamins.
Sodium has its pros and cons. Eating too much of it can increase your risk for developing hypertension, or high blood pressure. Yet, your body needs sodium for basic life functions, such as helping to provide energy to your cells. The Centers for Disease Control recommends that you limit your sodium intake to 2,300 mg or less per day. That figure is even lower, 1,500 mg, if you are African American, over age 51 or have been diagnosed with hypertension or diabetes.
Potassium can limit the damaging effect of sodium and help control your blood pressure. Celery seed certainly fits that description. Dr. Mark C. Houston, a Vanderbilt University physician, has researched the benefits of celery. In the May 2005 issue of "Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases," he writes that 3-n-butylpthalide, a naturally occurring chemical in celery seed, successfully lowered the blood pressure of rats in some studies. Of course, researchers must conduct human studies to confirm the connection. As a natural diuretic, celery seed also helps lower blood pressure. Diuretics remove excess fluid from the blood, reducing stress on the arteries and lowering blood pressure.
Although there is no formal dosing recommendation for celery seed, to help control blood pressure Dr. Houston recommends taking 1,000 mg of celery seed twice daily. The University of Maryland Medical Center advises using celery seed to prepare a tea, steeping 1 to 3 g of crushed seeds in boiling water. Drink this mixture up to three times each day.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Celery Seed
- United States Department of Agriculture: National Nutrient Database
- Centers for Disease Control: Salt
- "Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases"; Nutraceuticals, Vitamins, Antioxidants, and Minerals in the Prevention and Treatment of Hypertension; Mark C. Houston, M.D.; May 2005
- American Heart Association: Potassium and High Blood Pressure