Why Celery Makes Me Feel Wierd


It was only several days ago that I sat in my mother’s kitchen and had one of our many fabulous food talks.  She mentioned “I hate raw celery.” I, intrigued, asked “why?”  Her simple reply was “celery makes me feel weird.”  “Hm, how interesting”, I thought. Several years earlier I remembered reading an article in some prestigious health magazine that celery had a chemical that caused an allergic reaction only while working out. I started wondering “is this why my mother feels weird when she eats celery?” Here is what I found.

February 27 1986.  The Journal of Emergency medicine discusses the celery phenomenon:

A young 23 year old woman experiences “throat tightness, warmth, dizziness, blurred vision and extremity swelling. As she entered the locker room to lie down she vomited once and then had a witnessed several- second syncopal episode [spontaneous loss of consciousness].” (Steven Silverstien, p. 195).  Later, while recovering she was asked various questions to find out possible causes for this attack.  After some time, it was concluded that her attack was brought on not by the ingestion of celery alone, but by the combination of celery consumed 20 to 30 minutes before exercise and the exercise itself that followed (Steven Silverstien, 1986). 

This was not by any means the first case of what doctors refer to as “celery dependent exercise induced anaphylaxis” (Steven Silverstien, 1986).  

Wait! Wait! Before you make the horrible mistake of black listing Celery, I think it’s important to mention that only .017% of the population suffer this rare phenomenon (W Barg, 2008).  Not to mention the reaction comes mainly from exercise which amplifies allergic responses in your body (W Barg, 2008). 

More plausibly, my mother, and perhaps many of you readers out there, feel weird after eating raw celery due to the bitter taste of phthalides . Although unpleasant tasting, Phthalides open your blood vessels and reduce hypertension.  This may seem trivial after just hearing that some individuals suffer horrible reactions after celery and exercise, but it is important to see that the true benefits of celery outweigh the cons.  Celery is a natural diuretic, promoting fluid balance in your body; it is high in potassium, accounting for 260mg for 100 grams of celery, and it’s high in fiber! All of these properties are correlated with a decrease in hypertension and an increased longevity (Canada H. , 2012).  

The moral of the story is that some people may say they feel weird after eating celery but it is probably because they just don’t like it.  This green stalky super food is more than safe to eat.  It is a healthy and fibrous addition to your pre-existing diet of fruits, vegetables and lean proteins.  

Canada, H. (2012, 02 10). Canadian Nutrient File (CNF). Retrieved 04 2012, from www.hc-sc.gc.ca: http://webprod3.hc-sc.gc.ca/cnf-fce/report-rapport.do?lang=eng
Canada, P. H. (2011, 10 25). Centre for chronic disease prevention and control (CCDPC). Retrieved 04 2012, from http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/ccdpc-cpcmc/index-eng.php
Canada, S. (2008). Mortality, Summary list of causes. Retrieved 04 2012, from http://www.statcan.gc.ca/pub/84f0209x/84f0209x2008000-eng.pdf
Steven Silverstien, D. F. (1986). Celery-Dependent Exercise induced Anaphylaxis. Journal of Emergency Medicine, 195-199.
W Barg, A. W.-M. (2008). Food-Dependent Exercise-Induced Anaphylaxis: Possible Impact of increased basophil histamine releasability in hyperosmolar conditions. Department of Internal Medicin and Allergology, 312- 315.


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