Here’s a healing food you don’t often hear about: celery seed. Celery — the vegetable that celery seeds come from, of course — contains several active compounds that are good for your health. High in vitamin C, celery may help reduce cold symptoms. Vitamin C also helps prevent the free radical damage that leads to inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and asthma.
Celery has been used as a high blood pressure cure in traditional Chinese medicine. This is primarily due to active compounds called “phthalides,” which can help relax the muscles around arteries and allow those vessels to dilate. The idea is: the more space inside your arteries, the easier it is for your blood to flow at a lower pressure.
Recently, celery has been scrutinized for its anti-cancer benefits. Celery contains compounds called “coumarins” that play an important role in preventing free radicals from damaging your cells. Coumarins could help decrease the mutations that cause certain cells to become cancerous. Coumarins also trigger the release of immune defenders that target and eliminate potentially harmful cancer cells. And, celery has more special ingredients called “acetylenics,” which have been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells.
It stands to reason then that celery seed also has beneficial compounds that could play a role in cancer prevention. And, in fact, that’s exactly what researchers at the Department of Pathology and Pathophysiology, Taishan Medical University, in China, discovered.
The Chinese research team investigated the anti-tumor effects of celery seed extract in human gastric cancer cells. They found that celery seed extract had an anti-proliferation effect on human gastric cancer cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner. After treatment with the extract, the death rate (apoptosis) of the stomach cancer cells significantly increased. The researchers concluded that inhibition of cell proliferation as well as apoptosis of human stomach cancer cells is triggered by anti-tumor substances in celery seeds.
Maybe it’s time to put some celery sticks back into your lunchbox, just like your mom did when you were a kid. And now that you’re an adult, do some cooking with celery seed, too — it can be a delicious spice to add to soup, salads, or main dishes.
To learn about how another seed could help prevent the swings in blood pressure that lead to diabetes, read This Indian Spice Is Anti-diabetic.