How Much Celery Is Too Much?

In this brief article, we will answer the question of how much celery is too much. Even though celery is a superfood with various health benefits, eating too much of it can cause more harm than good.

So read on to find out what eating too much celery might do to your body, and how much you should consume to healthily reap its benefits. 

How Much Celery Is Too Much?

If you’re consuming more than four stalks of celery (a cup of chopped celery) as an everyday snack or drinking more than a glass of celery juice per day, it’s recommended that you scale back to avoid side effects. 

Also, make sure that you’re including fair amounts of other vegetables in your diet as well to help make sure you’re consuming sufficient quantities of nutrients.

Possible toxicity of celery is related to Furocoumarins, which represent a family of natural food constituents with phototoxic and photomutagenic properties. They are found mainly in plants belonging to the Rutaceae (e.g., citrus fruits) and Umbelliferae (e.g., parsnip, parsley, celery, carrots) families. Celery reportedly contains 100 ppb psoralens (100 micrograms/kg) and parsnips as much as 40 ppm (40 mg/kg). The estimated dietary intake of furocoumarins for people eating furocoumarin-containing foods is 1.31 mg/day, which is approximately 0.022 mg/kg bw/day for a 60 kg human. In humans, the phototoxic threshold dose of furocoumarin mixtures after dietary exposure is of the order of 20 mg. This phototoxic threshold dose is not reached by the consumption of celery roots and other conventional vegetables under normal dietary habits, which result in intake of approximately 2–8 mg furocoumarins per person. Therefore, the risk of developing liver toxicity or cancer due to ingestion of psoralens in the diet is low (1).

What Are the Risks of Eating Too Much Celery?

Consuming too much celery, or focusing on munching on only this green vegetable can result in some serious side effects. Let’s go through them.

  • A single cup of celery contains 88 milligrams of sodium, which is relatively high for a vegetable. So people with hypertension and those generally watching their salt intake should watch how much they consume.
  • Consuming large amounts of celery can also cause malnutrition and gastrointestinal problems. This is why people on a diet mustn’t overeat celery, since it is a low-calorie food that may cause nutritional deficiencies resulting in sluggishness, reduced cognitive function, and gallstones. Celery contains oxalic acid, which in excess,may cause decreased bone growth, kidney stones, renal toxicity, vomiting, diarrhea, convulsions, coma and impaired blood clotting (1).
  • The high amounts of fiber in celery can cause excessive bloating and diarrhea. Also, excessive amounts of fiber in the diet cause it to bind with certain minerals, including iron, calcium, zinc, and magnesium, preventing the body from absorbing them and also leading to malnutrition.
  • Eating uncooked celery continuously in large quantities can lead to a condition called goiter (enlarged thyroid gland in the neck causing breathing issues and hypothyroidism). This is because uncooked celery interferes with iodine functioning, a mineral essential for optimal thyroid working. Hyperthyroidism can also be induced by the consumption of celery extract, which is used to reduce weight (2).
  • Celery contains chemicals known as psoralens, which when applied directly to the skin cause temporary high sensitivity to ultraviolet light. This implies that getting celery juice on your skin will give you a nasty rash if you go out in the sun and may linger on for about two to three days (3).
  • Celery contains many pesticides which can adversely affect the endocrine (hormone) or nervous system, damage the eyes and skin, and even cause cancer. Hence, it is recommended to wash it thoroughly before consuming it and preferably buy organic produce.
  • Rarely, some people might be allergic to celery, resulting in mild to serious symptoms such as slight swelling or tingling to anaphylactic shock (2).
  • Celery also contains Myristicin, a naturally occurring insecticide and acaracide that is found in nutmeg and mace, black pepper, carrot, celery parsley and dill. At a dose level of 6–7 mg/kg bw, it may cause psychotropic effects in man, such as increased alertness, unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, tremor, tachycardia, anxiety and fear have also been reported in humans ingesting this dose (1).

Does Celery Contain Many Nutrients?

While celery does contain certain nutrients, such as potassium and minor amounts of vitamin A, it is mostly just water (almost 95%) and fiber.

Hence, eating large quantities of celery will surely keep you hydrated, but it doesn’t contain all the vitamins, macronutrients, and minerals the body requires to remain healthy. 

According to the US Food and Drug Administration, these are the nutrition facts for celery:

  • Serving size: 2 medium stalks (110 grams/3.9 oz.; amount per serving are based on a 2000 calorie diet)
  • Calories: 15 
  • Calories from fat: 0
  • Total fat: 0 grams (0%)
  • Total carbohydrate: 4 grams (1%) 
  • Dietary fiber: 2 grams (8%) 
  • Sugars: 2 grams
  • Sodium: 115 milligrams (5%) 
  • Potassium: 260 milligrams (7%)
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Vitamin A: (10%) 
  • Vitamin C: (15%) 
  • Calcium: (4%) 
  • Iron: (2%) 

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Celery?

When consumed in regulated amounts, celery has many potential health benefits as well.

Consuming four celery stalks every morning provides a third of the entire daily potassium recommended intake, which can help decrease the risk of stroke, regulate blood sugar, keep bones healthy, and reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Celery also contains high amounts of phenolic and antioxidant compounds which can help reduce the risk of various diseases, including (4):

  • Heart disease
  • Hypertension
  • Hypercholesterolemia (high amounts of bad cholesterol)
  • Liver disease
  • Urinary problems
  • Gout and Rheumatic diseases such as arthritis and osteoarthritis
  • Type 2 diabetes 

Moreover, celery has anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, while the celery root, in particular, is known to neutralize free radicals, making celery a potential contender for reducing the risk of cancer.

Other FAQs about Celery that you may be interested in.

Can you eat celery leaves raw?

Can you substitute celery seed for celery?

Can I substitute celery seed for celery?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we answered the question of how much celery is too much. Celery is undoubtedly a crunchy and tasty snack as well as a healthy low-calorie addition to various dishes. However, the key to reaping its benefits is to consume it in moderation.

If you have any questions or comments, please let us know.

References:

  1. Dolan, Laurie C., Ray A. Matulka, and George A. Burdock. Naturally occurring food toxins. Toxins, 2010, 2, 2289-2332.
  2. Maljaei, Mohammad Bagher, et al. Effect of celery extract on thyroid function; is herbal therapy safe in obesity?. Int J Prev Med, 2019, 10.
  3. Cather, Jennifer Clay, Mark R. Macknet, and M. Alan Menter. Hyperpigmented macules and streaks. Baylor Univ Med Center Proceed, 2000, 13. Taylor & Francis.
  4. Kooti, Wesam, and Nahid Daraei. A review of the antioxidant activity of celery (Apium graveolens L). J evid-based complem altern med, 2017, 22, 1029-1034.

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.