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Celery vs. Leek — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan by Erna Harutyunyan | Last updated on April 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Celery
vs
Leek

Summary

Leeks are notably richer in ironmanganesevitamin Kvitamin B6vitamin Ccopperfolate, and vitamin A RAE than celery. The daily need for iron from leeks is 24% higher than that of celery. Meanwhile, celery is richer in potassium, sodium, and vitamins B2 and B5. Zinc levels are the same in both.

Introduction

Herbs have delicate tastes that enhance the richness and fragrance of any meal they are added to. This article will compare two of these plants, celery and leek, to determine what nutrients they offer and how they impact human health. In this article, the focus is on raw celery and raw leeks, specifically the bulb and lower-leaf portion of the leek.

What's the Difference?

Leeks (Allium ampeloprasum) and celery (Apium graveolens) exhibit distinct differences in appearance, taste, and culinary use. Celery is characterized by its crispcylindrical stalks with a light green to pale white color, offering a mild and refreshing taste. Its everyday use includes raw snackssalads, and as a base in soups. In contrast, leeks present an elongated structure with dark green leaves and an onion-like bulb, providing a sweet and mild onion flavor, mainly when cooked. Leeks are often utilized in soupsstews, and casseroles, contributing depth to various dishes.

Nutrition

The nutritional values below are presented for raw celery and raw leek. The nutrient contents of 100-gram servings of these foods will be compared.

Macronutrients and Calories

Like most herbs, celery and leeks are not very dense in nutrients. At the same time, leek is denser, containing 83% water, while celery consists of 95% water.

The recommended serving sizes of celery and leek equal one cup, corresponding to 101 and 89 grams of leek, respectively.

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Celery
1
:
4
Leek
Contains more Water +15%
Contains more Protein +117.4%
Contains more Fats +76.5%
Contains more Carbs +376.4%
Contains more Other +41.9%
3% 95%
Protein: 0.69 g
Fats: 0.17 g
Carbs: 2.97 g
Water: 95.43 g
Other: 0.74 g
14% 83%
Protein: 1.5 g
Fats: 0.3 g
Carbs: 14.15 g
Water: 83 g
Other: 1.05 g
Contains more Water +15%
Contains more Protein +117.4%
Contains more Fats +76.5%
Contains more Carbs +376.4%
Contains more Other +41.9%

Calories

A 100-gram serving of leek provides 61 calories, whereas the same serving size of celery contains 16 calories.

Protein and Fats

Leek is more prosperous in protein and denser in nutrients. Both of these herbs contain low levels of all essential amino acids. While leeks and celery contain a low amount of fat, the predominant fat types found in both herbs are saturated fat and polyunsaturated fat.

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Celery
1
:
2
Leek
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +700%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +110.1%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 0.04
27% 21% 52%
Saturated Fat: 0.042 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.032 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.079 g
19% 2% 79%
Saturated Fat: 0.04 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0.004 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.166 g
Contains more Monounsaturated Fat +700%
Contains more Polyunsaturated fat +110.1%
Equal in Saturated Fat - 0.04

Carbohydrates

Leek contains almost five times more carbohydrates compared to celery. The two herbs contain similar amounts of dietary fiber. However, leeks are three times more prosperous in sugar.

Carbohydrate type comparison

Carbohydrate type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Celery
4
:
0
Leek
6% 30% 28% 36%
Starch: 0 g
Sucrose: 0.08 g
Glucose: 0.4 g
Fructose: 0.37 g
Lactose: 0 g
Maltose: 0 g
Galactose: 0.48 g

Fiber

Herbs such as leeks and celery are excellent sources of dietary fiber. Leek contains 1.6 grams per 100 grams, while celery has 1.8 grams per 100 grams.

Vitamins

Leek provides a higher level of a few more vitamins. Leek contains almost four times more vitamins A and C, three times more vitamin E, vitamin B1 (thiamin), vitamin B6, and 1.5 times more vitamin K and folate. 

On the other hand, celery is richer in vitamin B2 (riboflavin), vitamin B3 (niacin), and vitamin B5.

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Celery
2
:
9
Leek
Contains more Vitamin B2 +90%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +75.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +271.3%
Contains more Vitamin E +240.7%
Contains more Vitamin C +287.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +185.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +25%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +214.9%
Contains more Folate +77.8%
Contains more Choline +55.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +60.4%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 27% 6% 0% 11% 6% 14% 6% 15% 18% 27% 0% 4% 74%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 101% 19% 0% 40% 15% 7% 8% 9% 54% 48% 0% 6% 118%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +90%
Contains more Vitamin B5 +75.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +271.3%
Contains more Vitamin E +240.7%
Contains more Vitamin C +287.1%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +185.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +25%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +214.9%
Contains more Folate +77.8%
Contains more Choline +55.7%
Contains more Vitamin K +60.4%

Minerals

A 100-gram serving of leek provides 10.5 times more iron than celery. Leek contains higher levels of calcium and phosphorus (1,5 times more), magnesium (2.5 times more), copper, and manganese

At the same time, celery is richer in potassium (260mg) and sodium (80 mg). Both contain the same level of zinc.

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Celery
2
:
8
Leek
Contains more Potassium +44.4%
Contains more Calcium +47.5%
Contains more Iron +950%
Contains more Magnesium +154.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +45.8%
Contains less Sodium -75%
Contains more Copper +242.9%
Contains more Manganese +367%
Contains more Selenium +150%
Equal in Zinc - 0.12
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 12% 8% 8% 11% 23% 11% 4% 12% 14% 3%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 18% 79% 20% 15% 16% 3% 4% 40% 63% 6%
Contains more Potassium +44.4%
Contains more Calcium +47.5%
Contains more Iron +950%
Contains more Magnesium +154.5%
Contains more Phosphorus +45.8%
Contains less Sodium -75%
Contains more Copper +242.9%
Contains more Manganese +367%
Contains more Selenium +150%
Equal in Zinc - 0.12

Oxalates

The oxalate content of celery is 27mg per 100 grams, and the oxalate content of leeks is 33mg per 100 grams. Both are considered to be low in oxalates.

Glycemic Index

Foods are ranked from 0 to 100 according to their glycemic index based on lowmedium, or high glycemic foods. The sugar content in leeks and celery is too low to measure an exact glycemic index value. However, the glycemic index values of both of these herbs are considered to be very low.

Acidity

The average pH value of leek falls in the range of 5.5–6.17, making this herb acidic. At the same time, celery has an acidic pH value of 5.7–6.0.

Another way of viewing the acidity of foods is the potential renal acid load. The PRAL value of the food demonstrates how much acid or base the given food produces when broken down inside the body.

The PRAL values of leek and celery are -3.2 (alkaline) and -5 (alkaline), respectively. These results indicate that leeks and celery help maintain a more alkaline environment in the body.

Weight Loss and Diets

Celery and leeks are both celebrated for their potential contributions to weight loss. With its low-calorie content of about 16 calories per 100 grams and high water and fiber content, celery allows for a satisfying consumption volume while keeping caloric intake minimal. Similarly, at 61 calories per 100 grams of cooked leeks, leeks are low in calories and rich in water and fiber. This combination can contribute to feelings of fullness and help naturally regulate appetite. Research consistently associates diets high in vegetables, like leeks and celery, with weight loss or reduced weight gain over time, emphasizing the necessity of combining these nutrient-dense foods into a balanced diet (1, 2).  

Health Benefits

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

It is an undisputed fact backed by numerous studies that celery and leek have antihypertensive effects. These vegetables have been proven to lower blood pressure and promote cardiovascular health (3,4). 

After consuming celery juice daily for six months, an elderly man experienced a decrease in arterial pressure, according to this study (5). 

Leeks are known to have a diuretic effect, which can reduce arterial blood pressure similarly to certain antihypertensive medications. Whether celery shares this effect is yet to be determined (4).

Introducing leek and celery into your diet is crucial to prevent atherosclerosis. Both these vegetables have hypolipidemic effects that can significantly reduce cholesterol levels. Therefore, it's time to take charge of your health and incorporate leek and celery into your meals (6,7,8).

Diabetes

Celery, as evidenced in studies on elderly pre-diabetic individuals, demonstrated effectiveness in reducing blood glucose levels. However, the association between this population's blood glucose and plasma insulin levels was not established (9, 10)On the other hand, leeks, though not as extensively studied as onions and garlic, contain sulfur compounds, which have shown efficacy in effectively lowering blood sugar levels (11).  The emerging research on leeks suggests they offer additional benefits, contributing to the potential management of hyperglycemia.

Digestive Health

Celery's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties protect the entire digestive tract, with specific benefits for the stomach (12). In animal studies, compounds like pectin-based polysaccharides, including in humans, have decreased stomach ulcers and improved stomach lining and secretions (13).  Additionally, celery's high water content and fiber support a healthy digestive tract. On the other hand, leeks contribute to digestion by being a source of soluble fiber and prebiotics, fostering a healthy gut microbiome (14). Prebiotics in leeks promote the growth of beneficial bacteria, producing short-chain fatty acids that can reduce inflammation and strengthen gut health (15, 16).  

Cancer

Due to their significant antioxidant qualities, leeks and celery possess potential anticancer activities. Celery, rich in the flavone apigenin, has been explored for its potential as a reagent in cancer therapy (17). Meanwhile, leeks, which contain compounds like kaempferol and allicin, have been associated with a lower risk of chronic diseases, including cancer. In leeks, kaempferol reduces inflammationinhibits cancer cell spread, and induces cell death (18, 19). Additionally, allicin, a sulfur compound in leeks, is thought to offer anticancer properties (20). Human studies indicate that regular consumption of alliums, including leeks, may lower the risk of gastric and colorectal cancer (21, 22). 

Neurological Health 

Leeks contain sulfur compounds that protect the brain from age-related mental decline and diseases (23). Similarly, celery contains apigenin, a compound that improves the functional differentiation of neurons and strengthens connections between brain cells (24).

Classification and Appearance

The difference in appearance between leeks and celery lies in their distinct structures. Celery (Apium graveolens) is a European herb with stalks commonly consumed as a vegetable. The celery stalks are longslender, and crisp, with a light green to pale white color. On the other hand, leeks (Allium ampeloprasum), belonging to the lily family, have a unique appearance with edible leaves and an onion-like bulb. The leaves are long, flat, and often have a dark green hue, while the bulb is typically white or light green. The overall appearance of the leek is characterized by its elongated structure, consisting of leaves extending from a bulbous base. Comparing the two, celery is recognized for its crispcylindrical stalks, while leek has a more elongated form with distinctive leaves and a bulb at the base.

Taste and Use

Like giant chives or onions with long shoots, leeks taste like onions. They are leafy, growing from bulbs, and when cooked, leeks become sweet and mellow. On the other hand, celery has milder stalks and stronger-tasting leaves. Stalks are often used for their crisp texture, while the celery leaves have a more robust flavor. Chives can serve as a suitable replacement in recipes where leeks are not the primary ingredient, adding depth and another layer of flavor.

As for taste and use, leeks bring a subtle sweetness when cooked, while celery contributes a refreshing and mild flavor, particularly in its stalks. Both vegetables can enhance the depth of flavor in various dishes, depending on the culinary context.

Creating a delightful leek and celery soup is straightforward, each offering its own distinct charm. For leek and potato soup, saute sliced leeks until tender, add diced potatoes and vegetable broth, and season to create a mildly sweet and creamy blend. To achieve a smooth texture, use an immersion blender and optionally add heavy cream for richness. In contrast, creamy celery soup involves:

  • Sauteing chopped celery and onions.
  • Combining them with diced potatoes and vegetable broth.
  • Seasoning to taste.

After simmering until the vegetables are tender, use an immersion blender and incorporate milk or cream for creaminess.

Article author photo Erna Harutyunyan
Education: General Medicine at YSMU
Last updated: April 16, 2024
Medically reviewed by Elen Khachatrian

Infographic

Celery vs Leek infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Celery Leek
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Rich in vitamins ok
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Lower in Glycemic Index Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Celery Leek Opinion
Net carbs 1.37g 12.35g Leek
Protein 0.69g 1.5g Leek
Fats 0.17g 0.3g Leek
Carbs 2.97g 14.15g Leek
Calories 16kcal 61kcal Leek
Fructose 0.37g Celery
Sugar 1.34g 3.9g Celery
Fiber 1.6g 1.8g Leek
Calcium 40mg 59mg Leek
Iron 0.2mg 2.1mg Leek
Magnesium 11mg 28mg Leek
Phosphorus 24mg 35mg Leek
Potassium 260mg 180mg Celery
Sodium 80mg 20mg Leek
Zinc 0.13mg 0.12mg Celery
Copper 0.035mg 0.12mg Leek
Manganese 0.103mg 0.481mg Leek
Selenium 0.4µg 1µg Leek
Vitamin A 449IU 1667IU Leek
Vitamin A RAE 22µg 83µg Leek
Vitamin E 0.27mg 0.92mg Leek
Vitamin C 3.1mg 12mg Leek
Vitamin B1 0.021mg 0.06mg Leek
Vitamin B2 0.057mg 0.03mg Celery
Vitamin B3 0.32mg 0.4mg Leek
Vitamin B5 0.246mg 0.14mg Celery
Vitamin B6 0.074mg 0.233mg Leek
Folate 36µg 64µg Leek
Choline 6.1mg 9.5mg Leek
Vitamin K 29.3µg 47µg Leek
Tryptophan 0.009mg 0.012mg Leek
Threonine 0.02mg 0.063mg Leek
Isoleucine 0.021mg 0.052mg Leek
Leucine 0.032mg 0.096mg Leek
Lysine 0.027mg 0.078mg Leek
Methionine 0.005mg 0.018mg Leek
Phenylalanine 0.02mg 0.055mg Leek
Valine 0.027mg 0.056mg Leek
Histidine 0.012mg 0.025mg Leek
Saturated Fat 0.042g 0.04g Leek
Monounsaturated Fat 0.032g 0.004g Celery
Polyunsaturated fat 0.079g 0.166g Leek

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Celery Leek
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet Equal

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
16%
Celery
32%
Leek
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
10%
Celery
26%
Leek

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Leek
Leek contains less Sodium (difference - 60mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Leek
Leek is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.002g)
Which food is cheaper?
Leek
Leek is cheaper (difference - $0.2)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Leek
Leek is relatively richer in minerals
Which food is richer in vitamins?
Leek
Leek is relatively richer in vitamins
Which food is lower in Sugar?
Celery
Celery is lower in Sugar (difference - 2.56g)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
?
The foods have equal glycemic indexes (32)

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Celery - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169988/nutrients
  2. Leek - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169246/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000-calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.