Is celery OK to eat on keto diet?

The ketogenic or “keto” diet has become incredibly popular in recent years as a way to lose weight and improve health. This low-carb, high-fat diet encourages the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, in which fat is burned for energy instead of carbs.

One of the keys to success on keto is choosing low-carb foods that provide nutrients without too many carbs. Many people wonder if celery, which is very low in carbs, can be included in a keto eating plan. Here’s what you need to know.

What is celery?

Celery is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. The edible parts of celery come from its leaf stalks, which are long, ribbed, green stalks that join at a common base.

Celery has a very mild flavor and is used to add crunch and freshness to everything from salads to soups to snacks. It can be eaten raw or cooked.

Some key nutrients in celery include:

  • Vitamin K: Essential for blood clotting. One stalk contains about 10% of the RDI.
  • Vitamin C: An important antioxidant that supports immune health. One stalk provides 3% of the RDI.
  • Folate: Crucial for cell growth and development. One stalk contains 2% of the RDI.
  • Potassium: Helps regulate fluid balance. One stalk contains 5% of the RDI.
  • Fiber: Promotes healthy digestion and weight management. One stalk provides 1 gram.

In addition to vitamins and minerals, celery contains beneficial plant compounds like luteolin, which has been linked to reduced inflammation and may help prevent cancer.

Is celery keto-friendly?

One of the main reasons celery may be an excellent addition to a ketogenic diet is its low carb content.

Here are the macronutrients in 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw celery:

  • Calories: 16
  • Fat: 0.2 grams
  • Carbs: 3 grams
  • Fiber: 1.6 grams
  • Sugar: 1.4 grams
  • Protein: 0.7 grams

As you can see, celery provides only 3 grams of net carbs, which is very low. Net carbs are calculated by subtracting fiber from total carbs, as fiber does not impact blood sugar.

The keto diet typically limits net carbs to 20–50 grams per day. This means celery should easily fit into a keto eating plan, allowing you to consume it liberally.

In addition, celery is low in calories and rich in water content, making it great for achieving a calorie deficit on keto without hunger.

Benefits of eating celery on keto

Here are some of the top benefits of adding celery to a ketogenic diet:

Provides nutrients

Celery is an excellent source of key vitamins and minerals like vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, and folate. Consuming adequate micronutrients is crucial on keto to ensure you meet your needs, as heavy restrictions on carb-rich foods can increase the risk of deficiencies.

Contains fiber

Celery provides insoluble fiber, a type of carb that is not digested and helps promote regularity. Consuming enough fiber is particularly important on keto to prevent constipation, a common side effect of a low-carb diet.

Satisfies crunchy cravings

Celery is known for its very satisfying crunch. Chewing crunchy foods can help provide sensory variety in your diet. This may help you stick to keto by curbing cravings for higher-carb crunchy foods like chips, crackers, and pretzels.

Adds hydration

Celery is 95% water, allowing it to provide hydration on a ketogenic diet. Staying well hydrated is key to maintaining energy levels and cognitive performance while following a keto diet.

Easy to incorporate

Celery is very versatile — you can eat it raw, cooked, or blended. It makes a great addition to everything from smoothies to stir-fries. This versatility and simplicity allow celery to seamlessly fit into many keto recipes and meal plans.

Low in calories

Celery is very low in calories, with just 6 calories in a medium stalk. This makes it a great snack option when trying to maintain a calorie deficit on keto. The high water and fiber contents provide bulk and satiety with minimal impact on your daily calorie intake.

May reduce inflammation

Some of the plant compounds in celery, such as luteolin, appear to have anti-inflammatory properties. Chronic inflammation has been linked to issues like heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune conditions. Reducing inflammation may provide health benefits on a keto diet.

Potential downsides of eating celery on keto

While celery can be an excellent addition to a well-formulated keto diet for most people, there are a couple potential downsides to consider:

Allergy risk

Celery allergies, while uncommon, do exist. People who are allergic to birch pollen appear to be most at risk. An allergy may cause reactions like itching, hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis. Check with your healthcare provider if you suspect an allergy.

Pesticide exposure

Celery tends to be heavily treated with pesticides. Eating large amounts of conventionally-grown celery may increase your exposure to these chemicals. Opting for organic celery when possible can minimize this risk.

Oxalate content

Celery contains moderate amounts of oxalates, compounds that may contribute to kidney stone development in some people. If you are prone to oxalate kidney stones, you may want to limit high-oxalate foods like celery.

Sodium content

While a medium stalk contains just 30mg, consuming very large amounts of celery could result in excess sodium intake. This may be concerning for those limiting sodium intake for medical reasons. Moderating your portion sizes negates this potential risk.

How to incorporate celery into a keto diet

Here are some simple ways to enjoy celery as part of a ketogenic eating pattern:

Dip with nut butter or cheese

Celery sticks make the perfect vessel for scooping up keto-friendly dips like nut butter, cream cheese, guacamole, or ranch dressing. The crunch balances out the richness of the dip.

Add to salads

Chopped or sliced celery can add satisfying crunch and freshness to your favorite keto-approved salad. Try pairing it with proteins like chicken, salmon, or eggs.

Blend into smoothies

Add celery to keto smoothies along with healthy fats and proteins for a nutrient-packed meal replacement. The mild flavor won’t dominate other ingredients.

Make celery juice

Drinking straight celery juice on an empty stomach is touted for health benefits like detoxification. Limit to a few ounces due to the naturally-occurring sodium.

Cook into soups and stews

Celery holds up well to cooking. Add diced or chopped celery to bone broths, chilis, sautéed vegetables, pot roasts, or casseroles.

Roast for a snack

Toss trimmed celery stalks in avocado oil, season with your choice of spices, and roast at 400°F until browned and slightly crispy for a delicious low-carb snack.

Stuff as a vessel

Use celery stalks as edible vessels for tuna/chicken/egg salad or mix-ins like avocado, cheese, and nuts for a portable keto meal.

Keto-friendly ways to eat celery

Here are some recipes that incorporate celery into keto-friendly meals and snacks:

Keto Antipasto Salad

– 5 celery stalks, sliced
– 4 oz mozzarella, cubed
– 1⁄4 cup pitted green olives
– 1⁄4 cup salami, sliced
– 2 tbsp olive oil
– 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. In a bowl, combine celery, mozzarella, olives, and salami.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Toss to coat and serve chilled or at room temperature.

Buffalo Chicken Celery Sticks

– 4 celery stalks
– 1⁄2 lb cooked chicken, shredded
– 2 tbsp hot sauce
– 2 tbsp cream cheese
– 1 tbsp blue cheese crumbles

1. Cut celery stalks into thirds.
2. In a bowl, mix chicken, hot sauce, and cream cheese.
3. Spoon chicken mixture into each celery stick.
4. Top with blue cheese crumbles.

Keto Egg Salad Wraps

– 4 large celery stalks
– 6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
– 1⁄4 cup paleo mayo
– 1 tsp Dijon mustard
– 1 tsp lemon juice
– Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cut celery stalks in half width-wise.
2. In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients and mix well.
3. Spoon egg salad into each celery stick. Enjoy!

Nutrition facts of celery

Here is the nutrition information for 1 medium raw celery stalk (40g):

Nutrient Amount % Daily Value*
Calories 6 0%
Total Fat 0g 0%
Sodium 30mg 1%
Potassium 115mg 3%
Total Carbs 1g 1%
Fiber 1g 3%
Sugar 1g
Protein 0g
Vitamin K 8%
Vitamin C 3%
Folate 2%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet

As you can see, celery provides good amounts of vitamin K, C, potassium and folate with minimal calories, carbs, and fat.

Typical nutrition per cup of chopped celery

Here are the nutrients found in 1 cup (101g) of chopped raw celery:

Nutrient Amount
Calories 14
Fat 0.1g
Carbs 3g
Fiber 1.6g
Sugar 1.4g
Protein 0.7g
Vitamin K 37% DV
Vitamin C 5% DV
Folate 5% DV
Potassium 4% DV
Phosphorus 4% DV

A one-cup serving provides a significant amount of vitamin K along with smaller amounts of other vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Comparing celery to other common keto vegetables

How does celery compare to some other popular low-carb vegetables in terms of carb and calorie content?

Vegetable Net Carbs per 1 cup Calories per 1 cup
Celery 1.6g 14
Cucumbers 2.5g 16
Lettuce 2.2g 8
Bell peppers 5g 25
Broccoli 4g 31
Asparagus 2g 20

As you can see, celery is one of the lowest carb options, making it an excellent choice as part of a keto diet.

Tips for buying and storing celery

To get the most out of your celery, follow these simple tips:

– Look for crisp, bright green stalks without signs of wilting or discoloration. Avoid limp stalks.

– Smaller stalks tend to be more tender while larger ribs are stringier. Choose based on your taste and recipe needs.

– Celery is highly perishable. Eat within 5-7 days and avoid leaving it at room temperature for extended periods.

– Store celery wrapped loosely in plastic in the refrigerator crisper drawer. Keeping it loose prevents moisture buildup.

– If it starts to wilt, cut off about an inch from the bottom and submerge the stalks in ice water for 30 minutes to crisp up.

– Cut off and discard the bottom few inches before eating as the base can be fibrous. Rinse under water to remove dirt.

– Celery leaves are edible so save them to add to recipes if desired. Or compost the scraps to reduce waste.

Potential health risks of eating celery

Celery is safe to consume for most healthy individuals and is linked to several benefits. However, there are a few potential health risks to consider:

– Food allergy – Celery allergies are uncommon but can cause severe, even life-threatening, reactions in sensitive individuals. Strict avoidance is necessary.

– Pesticide exposure – Celery’s high surface area and deep grooves make it prone to pesticide residue if grown conventionally. Eat organic when possible or thoroughly wash.

– Kidney stones – Celery contains oxalate, which may contribute to kidney stone development in prone individuals. Limit intake if you’ve had calcium oxalate stones.

– Blood thinning – Very high intakes of celery juice or celery seed extract supplements may have mild blood thinning effects. Use caution when also taking anticoagulant medication.

– Sensitivity – Some report gastrointestinal issues like bloating, gas or diarrhea when eating large amounts of raw celery. Cook celery to reduce fiber content if sensitive.

So while most people can safely consume moderate amounts of celery as part of a keto diet, those with specific medical conditions or risks should exercise caution.

Final thoughts

Celery can be a nutritious, low-carb addition to a ketogenic diet for most people. Its high water content provides hydration, and it delivers essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber with minimal impact on blood sugar.

Celery offers crunch and freshness to salads, smoothies, snacks and more. It’s versatile and easy to incorporate into keto-friendly recipes. Consider choosing organic varieties when possible.

As with any food, moderation is key. Pay attention to your individual tolerances. But for most people, celery can be an excellent way to boost nutrition without going over your carb limit on a ketogenic eating plan.

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