Celery (Apium graveolens) is a good source of folate, and also contains vitamin K, some B vitamins and fiber. Celery has relatively high sodium and nitrate levels among vegetables, but the amounts are still low compared to those found in processed foods. Celery has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antifungal properties.
Celery consumption can help lower cholesterol levels. Celery is also a very good source of apigenin (especially in celery leaves and green celery hearts) and luteolin (celery seeds and Chinese celery), 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 (programmed cell death) 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.
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.
Celery flavone apigenin has been found to induce apoptosis across a variety of breast cancer cell lines. For example, 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.
Apigenin has also been shown to inhibit the growth of patient-derived triple negative (ER-/PR-/HER2-) organoids and sensitize triple negative cells to Adriamycin chemotherapy. In addition, apigenin has been shown to lessen Adriamycin-induced kidney damage without reducing its cytotoxic effects against tumor cells in a mouse model of breast cancer.
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.
Luteolin has been shown to inhibit angiogenesis (new blood vessel formation) and aromatase activity (in which androgens are converted into estrogens) in the laboratory. In fact, 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.
Luteolin has also been found to suppress triple negative breast cancer cell proliferation and metastasis and to reduce ER+/PR+ cell viability in a dose- and time-dependent manner. In addition, luteolin has been found to inhibit the growth, proliferation and migration of HER2+ breast cancer cells, as well as blocking their acquisition of stem cell-like properties.
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.
Chinese celery (Apium graveolens var. secalinum), also known as leaf celery, is cultivated for its leaves as well as the stalks, which are thin and flexible. Chinese celery has a significantly higher luteolin content than common celery.
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.
The information above, which is updated continually as new research becomes available, has been developed based solely on the results of academic studies. Clicking on any of the underlined terms will take you to its tag or webpage, which contain more extensive information.
Below are links to 20 recent studies concerning this food and its components. For a more complete list of studies, please click on celery.