Crunchy, crisp and refreshing, celery is a low-fat, low-calorie vegetable that can be eaten raw or cooked. While celery has a number of health benefits, it is also high in fiber and sodium, which means that if it is eaten in high quantities, you could develop celery digestion problems.
Although it is a healthy food choice, celery should not be the central element in your diet — having a variety of vegetables in your meal plan is the key to healthy nutrition.
Read more: The Risks of Eating Excess Celery
Celery Nutrition and Fiber
One of the benefits of celery is that this vegetable is naturally high in fiber. A 1-cup serving of diced celery contains 1.9 grams of fiber, according to the USDA. Because celery is 95 percent water, it is also low in calories, providing only 19 in the same serving size.
While this only provides 5 to 8 percent of the recommended intake of fiber, according to the National Academies of Sciences, it may cause complications for those who do not normally have a diet high in fiber.
A diet high in fiber has numerous health benefits, but a sudden increase in fiber can cause digestive complications. If you are eating a lot of celery, you might experience constipation, gas or abdominal pain.
Celery is also very high in insoluble fiber, which can cause pain in your digestive tract, especially if you have an inflamed gut.
Watch Out for Residual Pesticides
According to the University of Washington Center for Ecogenetics & Environmental Health (CEEH) celery is one of the foods that contains the most residual pesticides. Pesticides are known toxins, which, in sufficiently high quantities or with regular exposure, can lead to toxicity in the brain and nervous system, as well as increase your risk for hormonal complications and cancer.
Pesticides can also increase your chances of skin, eye and lung irritation, reports the University of Washington CEEH. Limit your consumption of conventionally grown celery to reduce your exposure to harmful pesticides, or choose organic produce to avoid the bad effects of celery.
Add Some Variety
As a member of the vegetable foods group and "other vegetables" subgroup, celery can help you meet the recommended intake of 2 to 3 cups of vegetables per day, as outlined in the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. You need to eat a variety of vegetables to get a balanced nutritional intake.
Include a daily mix of beans and peas, leafy greens, starchy vegetables, and red and orange vegetables in order to meet the Dietary Guidelines' full nutritional recommendation.
Beware of Possible Allergies
According to the Anaphylaxis Campaign, celery allergy is fairly common, especially in central European countries. People who suffer from pollen allergies may experience some allergy symptoms when eating celery.
Mild symptoms range from a slight itching of the throat to more severe cases, in which anaphylactic shock may result. Celery may cause an allergic reaction whether it is cooked or raw. If you are concerned about a potential allergy, speak with your health care professional to get tested.
- USDA FoodData Central: "Celery, Raw"
- National Academies of Sciences: "Macronutrients"
- University of Washington: Center for Ecogenetics & Environmental Health: "Fast Facts About Health Risks of Pesticides in Food"
- Anaphylaxis Campaign: "Celery Allergy: The Facts"
- Health.gov: "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020: Table 2-1. Examples of Vegetables in Each Vegetable Subgroup"