Celeriac, also known as celery root, is an unusual and nutritious vegetable with a wide variety of uses. It is from the same family as celery but is a very different plant.
What is celeriac?
Celeriac has green leaves and stalks that grow above ground, and a root covered in rough, brown skin that grows underground.
The edible part of the celeriac plant is the root. Inside it is pale in color, similar to that of a potato or turnip. Its flavor is similar to celery and parsley.
Celeriac contains multiple nutrients that may offer health benefits, as part of a healthy diet, including:
Celeriac originated in Mediterranean and north European countries. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Italians used it for medicinal and religious purposes. Scientists first wrote about it as food in the 1600s, and it remains popular throughout Europe.
Celeriac vs. Celery
While celery is grown for its edible leaves and stalks, celeriac is grown for its roots. Celeriac is sometimes called celery root, but it is not the root of celery stalks.
Other names for celeriac are knob celery and turnip-rooted celery, and it is the same family as carrots and related to celery, parsley, and parsnips.
Health benefits of Celeriac
Vitamin K intake may impact bone health. Celeriac is high in vitamin K with a 1 cup of raw celeriac containing 64 micrograms.
Researchers reviewed studies that looked at the relationship between vitamin K and bone fractures. They found that people with higher dietary vitamin K intake had a lower risk of fractures.
Specifically, they noted that risk of fracture reduced by 22 percent in people with the highest vitamin K intake compared with those with the lowest.
Diabetes affects millions of people around the world. A healthful diet may lower the risk for type 2 diabetes.
In one large study in Europe, scientists examined the association between fruit and vegetable intake, including root vegetables, and risk for type 2 diabetes.
They found that people who ate the most root vegetables had a 13 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who consumed the least amounts.
Eating the root of the celeriac plant is one way to increase intake of root vegetables.
In one study, scientists looked at the association between plasma ascorbic acid, a marker of vitamin C in the blood, and risk for high blood pressure. They found that people with higher blood levels of ascorbic acid had a lower risk of developing high blood pressure.
Consuming foods that are high in vitamin C, such as celeriac, could help lower the risk for high blood pressure by improving ascorbic acid levels.