Is Celery Keto-Friendly?


Not only is celery low in carbohydrates, it is also rich in potassium and fiber; therefore, celery makes an excellent choice for a Ketogenic diet.  

carbs calories in celery

Potassium plays a vital role in replenishing your body’s electrolytes, which could help you combat the dreaded “keto flu”.  There is 260 milligrams of potassium in a 100 gram serving of celery.

There is also over half a gram of fiber in each medium-sized stalk of celery.  Fiber helps avoid constipation, a common symptom that often comes along with a low carb diet.  

Talk about a “win-win” for Keto dieters!

Net Carbs in Celery

Celery clocks in at just 1 gram of carbs per 100 grams serving. 

Calories in Celery

One medium-sized stalk contains only 6 calories!                                    

Celery is very low in calories – no wonder it is such a popular diet food.  In fact, celery is said to have a negative calorie value because the calorie count is so low, your body burns about as many calories (if not more) just eating and digesting it.

Fiber in Celery

Half of celery’s carb content comes from fiber – 1.6 grams per cup to be exact. Fiber is important because it satiates your hunger and keeps your digestive system running smoothly. 

(Keep reading for a full nutritional breakdown of celery, later in this article.)

Health Benefits of Celery

Did you know celery was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat toothaches, insomnia, arthritis, hypertension, anxiety, and rheumatism?  The health benefits of this vegetable are truly amazing!  In fact, celery even has the power to purify the blood. 

Celery contains a particular compound called coumarins, which promote the activity of white blood cells, assist the vascular system, and help blood flow.  This wondrous vegetable can help lower high blood pressure as well.

Additionally, celery is a fat-free food.  It is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, potassium, and folate.  Vitamin K is an essential fat-soluble vitamin helps maintain healthy bones. 

celery keto

Toxic Trend: The Celery Juice Cleanse

The celery juice detox seems to be the latest trend sweeping internet.  Detox cleanses have certainly evolved with social media, as people are sharing more information about the amazing health benefits of vegetables like celery.  (I remember not too long ago there was a kale craze, when everybody and their dog was eating kale.)  These trends create quite a demand for the vegetable and could be responsible for driving up the cost of celery in supermarkets recently.  Just the other day, I noticed celery was priced above $5.00 at my local grocery store!

Although eating celery has amazing health benefits, it could actually be doing your body damage if you eat it in excess, according to nutritionists. More of a good thing is not always best for your health.  Celery, like many natural foods, has toxic elements.  Doctors warn against consuming pounds of it daily in the form of juice, as it could have unpleasant and even dangerous health effects.  

Eaten in large quantities, celery may interfere with iodine balance in the thyroid, enlarging the gland and causing goiters.  Too much celery, especially if left uncooked is not recommended. So watch out for these juice cleanse trends that involve drinking bunches upon bunches of raw celery throughout the day.

Overexposure to pesticides is another concern.  Pesticides, if consumed in foods in large quantities, can be very harmful as they are carcinogens.  This is why you should always wash fruits and vegetables well before eating them.

Celery is also known to contain psoralens, a substance from plants that can increase your skin’s sensitivity to UVA sunlight.  Consuming too much celery in the form of juice might also contribute to early signs of ageing and raise your risk of skin cancer, along with a number of other ailments of the dermis.  According to Dermatologists, you could be doing damage to your skin.  In fact, if you accidentally spilled celery juice on your skin and then sat out in the sun, the skin in that area soon develops a dermatitis-like rash over the next 24 hours. 

Drinking half a liter of celery juice on an empty stomach (as promoters of this cleanse suggest) could leave you with an upset stomach.   Besides all that, there are 6 grams of sugar in a cup of celery juice and all of the fiber is omitted by juicing.  Whole vegetables and fruits are always better than juices.  To compare, one cup of raw celery contains only 2 grams of sugar and all of the fiber – a much better option for the Keto diet, anyway.

Surprising Facts About Celery

low carb celery
  • Celery stalks are high in cellulose, a complex carbohydrate found in the cell wall of plant foods. Cellulose is edible, but indigestible to humans. 
  • Although most people discard the leaves, they can be safely consumed, much like an herb that can be chopped up and added to salads, sandwiches, and soups. 
  • Celery crops can reach heights over 3 feet tall.  
  • In Ancient Greece, celery was used as a flower bouquet given to winners of athletic games as rewards.

Different Types of Celery

Pascal Celery (Green Celery) is the most commonly used type of celery in the North America, which thrives in long, cool growing climates. Some common varieties of celery include: Golden Boy, Tall Utah, and Conquistador.

Leaf Celery  (Apium graveolens var. secalinum) also known as Yellow Celery is self-blancing and has a thinner stalk. It is grown for its aromatic leaves and seeds.  Varieties include: Par Cel, Safir (with peppery tasting leaves) and Flora 55.

Celeriac (Apium graveoliens var. rapaceum) is grown for its delicious root, which is then peeled and either cooked or eaten raw. Celeriac takes 100-120 days to mature  Varieties of celeriac include: Brilliant, Mentor, President, Giant Prague, and Diamante.

Wild Celery is a type of inedible celery that grows underwater and filtrates ponds. 

Ways to Enjoy Celery

Stir-Frying: Add celery to your stir-fry for a crunchy, tasty improvement. Fry on high heat for only a few minutes.  Stir fry should be crisp and brightly colored, so be careful not to overcook.

Soups: Cream of Celery Soup is a wholesome and warming meal that is Keto-Friendly and both delicious and nutritious!  (I’ve included a fabulous low carb recipe below.) 

Casseroles/Stews: Add celery to casseroles or stews – a delicious addition and low carb filler.

Garnish/Herbs: Use the celery leaves as garnish or to flavour dishes.  Celery leaves are great added to soup stock or salads and to garnish chicken or fish.

Keto Cream of Celery Soup

This Cream of Celery Soup is a pleasantly warming and satisfying meal that you can still enjoy on the Keto diet.  You just can’t beat homemade soup made from fresh, wholesome ingredients, not from a can.  (In fact, canned soup is one of the worst offenders because it crams in so much sodium).  So do your blood pressure a favour and make this healthy recipe instead.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of celery, diced (reserve leaves)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoon of butter
  • Salt and black pepper

Instructions:

  1. Heat butter over medium low and add onions, salt, and pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes until onions have softened. Stir in celery, garlic, and celery leaves. Cook another 15 minutes.
  2. Add the stock to the pot and bring heat up to boil.  Adjust seasoning to taste. Simmer on low heat for another 15 minutes.  
  3. Add the cream and blend with an immersion blender or in an upright blender until smooth and creamy.  Do not overheat or cream may curdle.  Remove from heat and serve.

Chicken Salad on a Log

(Adult Version of Ants on a Log)

I remember this old childhood favorite called “Ants on a log,” which consisted of a celery stalk topped with natural peanut butter and a few raisins – resembling “ants on a log”.  (How cute is that?) I still love this snack even today as an adult because it’s a satisfying treat that provides protein, healthy fat, and a little sweetness, and best of all, it’s Keto-friendly! (As long as you don’t use too many raisins). 

Celery can also be topped with chicken salad for a remastered, more adult version of this snack.  That’s right, lettuce leaves aren’t the only trick for substituting the bread in sandwiches… You can also top celery with a heaping spoonful of your favorite sandwich fillings. 

This recipe is for chicken salad, but you can also try canned salmon or tuna mixed with mayo, a teaspoon of relish, and fresh cracked black pepper. 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup leftover cold chicken, skinned and deboned. 
  • 2 tablespoons of Mayonaise (full fat for Keto or reduced calorie)
  • Salt and cracked black pepper (to taste).

Instructions:

  1. Mix ingredients together in a bowl to combine well. 
  2. Cover and chill chicken salad in fridge for 1 hour.
  3. Spread mixture on a celery stalk.  Enjoy!

Melissa Marshall

A litigation paralegal and writer. Her first novel debuts this fall. She lives with her kitten, Zoey overlooking the waterfront in beautiful Dartmouth, Nova Scotia - also known as the “City of Lakes”.

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