Celery (Apium graveolens) is a good source of folate, and also contains vitamin K, some B vitamins and fiber. Among vegetables, celery has relatively high sodium and nitrate levels, but the amounts are still low compared to those found in processed foods. Celery has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antimicrobial, and diuretic properties and can help lower cholesterol levels.
Celery is also a very good source of apigenin and luteolin, both of which have demonstrated cancer fighting properties. Apiuman, chrysoeriol, coumarin, and several polyacetylenes and phthalides are also found in celery. Celery seeds also contain perillyl alcohol and d-limonene, which have been found to have chemopreventive activity.
Celery seed extracts have been shown to inhibit carcinogen-induced liver and stomach cancer in laboratory animals. Apigenin has been shown to induce apoptosis in human skin, thyroid, gastric, liver, colon, cervical, and prostate cancer cells, and to inhibit migration and invasion of ovarian cancer cells. Luteolin has been shown to induce apoptosis in oral cancer calls, to promote cell cycle arrest and apoptosis in colon cancer cells, and to inhibit insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptor signaling in prostate cancer cells. Luteolin and apigenin have also been shown increase the anti-cancer effects of the chemotherapy drug Taxol (paclitaxel). Celery consumption has been found to be associated with lower risks of lung, ovarian, gastric and colorectal cancers in population studies.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating celery
The flavone apigenin has been shown to exhibit potent growth-inhibitory effects in HER2+ breast cancer cells; exposure of HER2+ breast cancer cells to apigenin results in induction of apoptosis by depleting HER2/neu protein. The growth-inhibitory effects of apigenin are less powerful for those cells expressing normal levels of HER2/neu. Perillyl alcohol has been shown to inhibit both ER+ and ER- human breast cancer cell growth and suppress growth and metastasis in a nude mouse model.
Celery has been shown to have a modest ability to inhibit aromatase activity (the synthesis of estrogen from androgens within the body), which is important for reducing growth-stimulatory effects in estrogen-dependent breast cancer. A major Italian population study including 2,569 women with breast cancer found that the risk of breast cancer was reduced for increasing intake of flavones such as apigenin and luteolin in the diet.
Like carrots, parsnips, fennel, dill and parsley, celery is an apiaceous or umbelliferae vegetable. The tender innermost stalks of a celery plant are called the celery heart. Celery seed spice can be high in sodium. Celery root (Apium graveolens rapaceum), also called celeriac, is an edible root vegetable closely related to celery. The stalks and leaves of celery root generally are not eaten because of their unpleasant taste, however the celery root tuber has an excellent flavor. Celery root contains falcarinol, which has been shown to have toxicity against acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells.
We do not recommend taking apigenin, luteolin, perillyl alcohol or celery seed extract supplements. None of these have been demonstrated to be safe and effective; in fact, apigenin may promote breast cancer growth in some circumstances.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not take celery seed since it can stimulate the uterus.
Non-organic celery must be washed very thoroughly to remove pesticide residue as much as possible.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list of studies, please click on celery.