Celery is a crunchy, low-calorie vegetable that is commonly used in cooking. Some people claim that celery may also provide urinary tract benefits. This article reviews the science behind using celery for urinary tract health.
Celery is primarily made up of water, providing low calories and very few nutrients per serving. A 1-cup (101-gram) serving of chopped celery contains:
- Calories: 17
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 1.6 grams
- Sodium: 81 mg
- Vitamin K: 37% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
- Vitamin C: 3% of the RDI
- Potassium: 6% of the RDI
In addition to being low in calories, celery is an excellent source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help stabilize molecules called free radicals, preventing them from damaging cells in your body.
Celery also contains a phytonutrient called apigenin, which has been shown to decrease inflammation, provide antioxidant benefits and fight cancer cell formation in test-tube studies.
Celery and Urination
Celery’s high water content is one reason why people link it to urinary tract benefits.
The water in celery may help increase urine volume, acting as a natural diuretic to remove waste and toxins from your body.
One study in 10 people demonstrated that eating 1–2 celery stalks significantly increased urine output over a 5-hour period, compared to a control group.
Additionally, a number of herbal medicine practitioners claim that celery may soothe urinary tract inflammation.
That said, no research specifically links celery to reductions in urinary tract inflammation.
Celery Seed Extract
While celery stalks are most commonly eaten, celery seeds may be used as a supplement.
Celery seed extract contains a concentrated form of the beneficial antioxidants found in celery. Some claim it may specifically benefit bladder health.
In one study, rats were fed celery seed extract for 6 weeks. Celery seed extract improved some signs of bladder inflammation and reduced bladder weight compared to a control group.
However, celery seed extract’s effects on urinary tract health in humans are unknown.
Risks of Too Much Celery Juice
Celery juice is a popular health drink rumored to reduce inflammation, boost immunity and improve digestion. However, regularly drinking too much may have downsides.
For starters, celery is thought to contain up to 25 PPM of psoralens, compounds that can increase your sensitivity to UV light. This may put you at a higher risk of sunburn.
Animal studies observe that psoralens may also stress the liver. In one study, rats fed extremely high doses of psoralens developed liver lesions and experienced liver enlargement.
Additionally, the sodium content of celery can add up when consumed in juice form. Too much sodium may lead to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
Finally, celery juice provides concentrated amounts of antioxidants. While antioxidants are beneficial, some research shows that getting too much from supplements may cause harm.
For these reasons, it’s best to stick to moderate portions of celery juice rather than drinking large amounts.
Other Natural Diuretics
Many foods can act as natural diuretics and may provide similar urinary tract benefits to celery.
Foods and drinks that may help increase urination include:
- Dandelion greens
- Green tea
- Caffeinated beverages like coffee and tea
Increasing your intake of these foods may help flush bacteria and toxins from your urinary tract.
Other Remedies for Urinary Tract Health
Alongside staying hydrated and eating nutrient-rich foods, several other remedies may support urinary tract health.
Some options include:
- Taking D-mannose supplements
- Getting enough vitamin C
- Avoiding refined carbs and sugar
- Taking targeted supplements like uva ursi
- Taking probiotics
- Practicing healthy hygiene
That said, consult your healthcare provider before trying new remedies, especially in place of prescribed medications.
The Bottom Line
Celery is low in calories and may increase urination because of its water content.
Drinking celery juice provides antioxidants that may fight inflammation.
However, celery-based remedies have not been proven to directly reduce urinary tract inflammation in humans.
For urinary tract benefits, focus on staying hydrated, avoiding foods that irritate your bladder and eating a nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory diet.