Why is eating celery at night good for you?

Eating celery at night can provide a variety of health benefits. Celery is low in calories, high in nutrients, may promote weight loss, and contains compounds that can improve sleep quality. By enjoying celery as an evening snack or part of a balanced dinner, you may be able to boost your overall health and wellbeing.

Nutrition profile

Celery is highly nutritious despite being low in calories. A 100g serving of raw celery contains:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 16
Protein 0.7g
Carbs 3.4g
Fiber 1.6g
Vitamin K 29% DV
Vitamin A 5% DV
Vitamin C 3% DV
Folate 3% DV
Potassium 3% DV

Celery is especially high in vitamin K, providing about 30% of the Recommended Daily Value (DV) per serving. It also contains antioxidants like flavonoids, phenolic acids, and phytosterols that can help reduce oxidative damage in the body.

Low in calories

One of the biggest benefits of celery is that it is very low in calories, with just 6-10 calories per stalk. This makes celery a great snack option if you are trying to reduce your calorie intake or lose weight.

The low number of calories in celery comes from it being composed mostly of water. Celery is actually 95% water by weight. It also contains dietary fiber, which provides volume and makes you feel full without adding extra calories.

Chewing and digesting celery requires more energy expenditure from the body than the calories the celery actually contains. So snacking on celery can create a calorie deficit that promotes weight loss over time.

May help lower blood pressure

Some research indicates that celery extract may help reduce high blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease.

One study gave 14 participants celery extract daily for 6 weeks. At the end of the study, their average blood pressure decreased from 166/98 mmHg to 152/92 mmHg.

The blood pressure lowering effects of celery are likely due to phytochemicals called phthalides. Phthalides relax the smooth muscles lining blood vessels, causing them to dilate and allow blood to flow more easily.

Contains antioxidants

In addition to phthalides, celery contains the antioxidants luteolin and polyacetylenes. These compounds scavenge harmful free radicals to protect your cells from oxidative damage that can lead to chronic diseases.

Luteolin has specifically been researched for its role in reducing inflammation and preventing neurodegeneration. One animal study found that luteolin reduced age-related memory deficits in mice by suppressing inflammation in the brain.

May improve cholesterol

The dietary fiber, vitamin C, potassium, and choline in celery could help improve your cholesterol levels.

Celery contains a unique fiber called apiuman that has been shown to decrease cholesterol absorption in the body. The luteolin in celery also prevents cholesterol from oxidizing and becoming dangerous LDL particles.

One study had participants eat celery stalks daily for 30 days. By the end, they had significant reductions in LDL cholesterol levels compared to the control group.

Contains hydrating electrolytes

Celery can provide hydration and electrolytes like potassium and sodium to replace what is lost through sweat.

After exercise, enjoying some celery sticks with peanut butter or dip can help replenish your fluids and minerals. This can aid muscle recovery and function.

The electrolytes in celery can also counterbalance excess sodium in your diet to keep your blood pressure balanced.

May reduce inflammation

Chronic inflammation is at the root of most diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions.

The antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds in celery can help lower dangerous inflammation levels. This may reduce your risk of inflammation-based health issues.

One study found that drinking celery juice daily significantly decreased inflammatory markers like interleukin-8 (IL-8) in participants after 1 week.

Contains compounds that promote sleep

Celery contains phytochemicals called phthalides, which may help induce relaxation and sleepiness. They seem to act on GABA receptors in the brain in a way similar to pharmaceutical sedative medications.

Animal studies have found that celery extract produced dose-dependent sedative effects, increased sleeping time, and decreased restlessness. Consuming celery may impart some mild sedative effects to help you fall asleep faster.

Easy to incorporate into evening meals

There are many easy ways to enjoy celery at night to take advantage of its health benefits:

  • Dip raw celery sticks in hummus, nut butter, or dressing as an evening snack.
  • Slice celery and add it to salads, soups, and stir fries for dinner.
  • Saute celery with onion and garlic and mix it into grains like rice or quinoa.
  • Blend steamed celery into soups, sauces, and smoothies.
  • Stuff celery stalks with tuna salad or lentil salad for a portable snack.
  • Use celery stalks and leaves to make celery juice in the morning.

Celery can fit well into a balanced diet and offers a hydrating crunch to meals and snacks. It works well either raw or cooked.

Selecting and storing celery

When buying celery, look for firm, green stalks without brown spots or yellow leaves. The leaves should be intact and bright green.

Avoid celery that is limp, has wilting leaves, or looks dried out. Damaged or browned celery may be decaying and losing nutrients.

Celery will usually last about 1-2 weeks when properly stored in the refrigerator. Keep celery loosely wrapped in plastic and place it in the front of the fridge where temperatures are cooler.

Wash celery right before eating and trim off the bottom end and leaves. The leaves can be used for cooking or added to smoothies.

Potential precautions

Celery is safe for most people but should be avoided by those with certain allergies:

  • Celery allergy – Some people are allergic to celery and can experience reactions like skin inflammation, difficulty breathing, and anaphylaxis.
  • Birch pollen allergy – People with an allergy to birch pollen should avoid celery due to cross-reactivity.

Celery contains oxalate, which can accumulate in people prone to kidney stones. Those with gallbladder issues may also want to moderate celery intake.

Due to its mild diuretic effects, celery could potentially affect medication levels. Check with your doctor about medication interactions.

The bottom line

Enjoying celery as part of a healthy diet, especially at night, can provide many benefits. Celery is low in calories, hydrating, packed with nutrients, and contains unique compounds that can lower blood pressure and promote sleep.

Having some celery sticks with nut butter or dipping raw celery into hummus make great evening snacks. Celery can also be added to dinner recipes like salads, soups, and grain dishes.

Eating celery as part of an overall balanced diet can help boost your nutrient intake and improve health and wellbeing.

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