Benefits of Celery Seed

You probably already know that celery is low in calories and rich in nutrients such as potassium. Less known, however, is how good celery seed is for you. In addition to enhancing foods with a bold flavor, celery seed offers certain health benefits.

A pile of celery seeds. (Image: Serenethos/iStock/Getty Images)

Celery Seed and Nutrition

A teaspoon of celery seed contains 8 calories and about 0.5 gram of fat. That small amount of celery seed also supplies 35 milligrams of calcium, which isn't a large dose toward the 1,000 milligrams you need each day, but for such a tiny portion of food it's a decent amount. You'll get 0.9 milligram of iron in that teaspoon, too, which is 11 percent of the 8 milligrams men need each day and about 5 percent of the 18 milligrams women should have every day. Celery seed supplies trace amounts of zinc, magnesium and phosphorus, too.

Power of Phytochemicals

According to "Reader's Digest" in a book called "Fight Back With Food: Use Nutrition to Heal What Ails You," celery seeds contain phytochemicals, which are compounds that help protect your health. Specifically, the limonene, coumarin, phthalides and apigenin in celery seed are thought to help fight inflammation. Inflammation can occur anywhere in your body and increases your risk of health problems such as cancer and heart disease.

Potential Health Benefits

Celery seed might help reduce the symptoms associated with gout, Micheal T. Murray and Joseph E. Pizzorno note in their book "The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods." The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that celery seed might also be effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis. Animal studies suggest that celery seed might help lower blood pressure and cholesterol and protect the liver, but human studies haven't been conducted to support these theories.

Adding Celery Seed to Your Diet

One of the simplest ways to incorporate celery seed into your diet is to shake it into foods that you already enjoy. Celery seed will enhance the flavor of potato soup or clam chowder, for example. Sprinkle celery seed over raw chicken breasts before baking or grilling them, or scatter it over braised pork chops or broiled fish. Shake the seeds over a green salad or inside a tuna fish sandwich as additional ways to eat the tiny seeds. If you take thyroid medication or are pregnant, don't use celery seed without your doctor's approval, as it can interfere with the medication or increase the risk of miscarriage, the University of Maryland Medical Center cautions.

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