Celery is a crunchy, low-cal vegetable known for its numerous health promoting benefits. Unlike many vegetables, nothing goes to waste with this plant. The crisp stalks, the feathery leaves, the seeds, and the bulbous roots (celeriac) are all edible. You can either eat it raw, juice it or use the strongly flavored leaves as flavoring in your stews and soups. The seeds are available as nutritional supplements in capsule form.
Though 95% of celery is water, the remaining 5% is packed with many vital nutrients. It is a good source of dietary fiber and also rich in potassium and sodium. The vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamins A, K, C, and B6, and is abundant in pantothenic acid, folate, magnesium, and phosphorous. Its leaves are a bounty of flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene.
Celery has minute quantities of proteins and lipids. It has 0.17 grams of fat and 0.69 grams of protein per 100 grams. It also got less than 3g of carbohydrates per 100 grams. With 16 Kcal per 100 grams, celery is undoubtedly one of the vegetables with least calories.Celery is alkaline and thus effective in offsetting the acidic effects of eating too much meat.
Potential Health Benefits
This perennial, stalk-stemmed, white-flowered plant is accoladed for the many medicinal properties. From the times of Hippocrates, scientists are still adding the list of celery’s health benefits. Some of the health benefits include:
1. Weight Management
As a low-calorie food, celery is a popular choice for dieters. It’s low fat, low carb, and low calorie; which is a perfect combination for dieters. Consumption of celery (even in large quantities) will not significantly increase your daily calorie intake. You can consume as much celery as you want and add no weight.
It has high fiber content which will leave you full for long, and make you eat less food. Studies in animals have proved the effectiveness of this vegetable in reducing not only the bad cholesterol but the total cholesterol. This is made possible by Phthalides, which increase bile secretion and in turn lowers the total cholesterol.
2. Prevents Cancer
Celery has phytochemical compounds known as coumarins, which help to prevent cancer. These compounds are also thought to enhance white blood cells activity. The vegetable is also loaded with luteolin and apigenin flavonoids that aid effectiveness of chemo drugs and significantly contributes to the destruction of pancreas cancer cells.
3. Calms the Nerves
Hippocrates (the father of medicine) described celery as a potent nerve calmer. A glass of celery juice is all that you need to calm your nerves almost immediately. This can be a useful aid when you are tensed up such as the moment before giving a speech, or when attending an important business meeting. Studies have shown that calmed central nervous system from celery’s plant hormones help to aid weight loss.
4. Immune System
The high Vitamin C content in celery assists in boosting your immune system and fight against the free radicals (which contribute to a host of ailments).
5. Lowers the Blood Pressure
Celery is good for your heart. Phthalides in celery help to lower your blood pressure by relaxing the muscles around your arteries, hence allowing the blood vessels to dilate. Celery also has potassium, which is a well-known blood regulator.
6. Aids in Urine Secretion
The proper balance of sodium and potassium in celery has diuretic effects. It assists the body in flushing out excess fluids and helps to treat bladder infections as well as gallstones problems. The vegetable is also superb in electrolyte replacement.
7. Facilitates Digestive Transit
The high fiber content is very useful. Grate celery finely into your preparations to improve your intestinal transit, strengthen your stomach, and prevent constipation.
8. Strengthens the Brain
The vegetable is rich in nitrates, which turn to nitrites by bacteria. Numerous studies have established that these nitrites are favorable in vasodilatation and blood thinning, especially in some regions of the brain.
9. Stimulates Sexual Desire
For many years, this vegetable has been used as a natural aphrodisiac. Modern science has established that celery stalks help to increase the production of male sex hormone testosterone, and promotes the release of steroid hormone androsterone, which contributes to greater desire.
Celery helps to reduce swelling in and around the joints and therefore, very helpful for people suffering from arthritis, gout, and rheumatism. Studies have shown that luteolin compound in celery helps to reduce brain inflammation.
Getting Celery Into Your Diet
While most folks associate this vegetable with something boring that you snack on when you are trying to lose weight, celery is a rather versatile food. You can try any of these celery recipes in your kitchen as it adds a crunchy texture that is a great compliment to dishes like meatloaf or stuffing. It is also a great addition to any type of juicing recipes. There is one caution however if you are using a masticating juice machine, make sure to cut up your celery into small pieces before dropping it in. The stringy fiber can wrap around the auger and cause it to jam. Other than that, it tastes great when juicing.
There are many ways that you can take advantage of celery, it is just important that you find a way that enjoy in order to benefit from all of its nutritious goodness.