Understand Celery

Understand Celery

How good is it really?

Should you eat celery?

Should you juice it?

Does it really have health benefits?

In this article from the Food Revolution Network find 5 surprising health benefits of celery, and how to use it for maximal value (and the best flavor).

Many of us know celery best as the things left on the crudite platter when the carrots, red peppers, and cherry tomatoes are gone. Or the bite in an immune-boosting cold-weather soup. Or the perfect vehicle for peanut butter and raisins. But what are some celery health benefits? Is it healthy enough to include as a regular part of your diet? And if so, what are some delicious and creative ways to prepare and eat it?

The Popularity of Celery

Celery belongs to a family known as the “umbellifers.” Some
members of this family, like carrots and parsnips, are well known and delicious
root vegetables. Other members include some of our favorite spices,
including coriander, cumin, caraway, dill, and parsley. And there are even a
tiny few, like hemlock, that can be poisonous.

Celery has been around for a long time and is native to the
Mediterranean and the Middle East. There’s evidence that humans were moving
celery seeds all over the globe way back in 4,000 B.C., finding its way to
Switzerland and elsewhere. It’s had a lot of uses throughout history, too.
Celery and celery seed extract has been used medicinally for
centuries in China, India, Egypt, and Rome for things like gout, arthritis, and
pain relief.

Most of us are familiar with the common stalk celery known
as green or Pascal celery. But did you know that it didn’t always look this
way? Until the 17th century, celery had a much more bitter taste and was hollow
inside. The Italians developed the
sweeter, milder green stalk celery that we know today,

While we’re much more familiar with the parts of this
vegetable that grow above ground, the root is also a delicious and valued food
source. Known as celeriac (and nicknamed, uncharitably, “the ugly root”), the
underground part of the celery plant adds body and flavor to many winter
soups
 and stews.

Celery Nutrition

Celery

Nutritional facts per
100G

Principle

Vitamins

Mineral

Energy 17.6Kcal

Carbohydrates 3.8 g

Protein 0.8 g

Total fat 0.2 g

Vitamin K 40%

Vitamin A 10%

Vitamin C 6%

Folate 10%

Manganese 6%

Potassium 8%

Calcium 4%

Sodium 4%

 

 

Since the celery stalk is mostly water (95% by weight),
you’d be forgiven for assuming that it contains very little in the way of
nutrition. One myth  is that celery is a “negative calorie food.” That is,
you supposedly burn more calories chewing it than you take in from consuming
it. While this isn’t actually the case, it is true that celery does pack a fair
amount of nutritional benefits in a very low-calorie package.

Just because it takes a lot of chewing and is a great water
source doesn’t mean you should turn up your nose at it. Celery contains a
welcome dose of some important vitamins and minerals. For example, a mere stalk
can provide 25% of your daily vitamin K needs. And it contains 5% of your daily
needs for vitamin A, folate, and potassium. In lesser amounts, you’ll
find calcium,
manganese, magnesium,
phosphorus, and B vitamins. It’s also full of fiber — around 1 gram per stalk.
You’ve probably noticed this if you’ve ever gotten fibrous celery strings stuck
in your teeth. (Dental floss, anyone?!)

Not only is celery a good source of antioxidants and
other healthy, disease-fighting plant compounds like phytonutrients and
flavonoids, it’s also high in electrolytes. Electrolytes are chemicals in water
that are essential for bodily functions. They help with hydration, maintaining
healthy blood pressure, repairing tissue damage, and making sure your muscles
and nerves work correctly.

One of those electrolytes is in the form of sodium.
Theoretically, this could be a problem for those on a low-sodium diet for
medical reasons like high blood pressure or fluid retention. However, one stalk
only contains 50
mg of sodium. So unless you’re eating a great deal of it on top of an already
salt-rich diet, there’s probably not much to worry about here.

5 Surprising Celery Health Benefits

1. It may help fight cancer

Celery is rich in antioxidants,
which help remove cancer-promoting free radicals from your cells. In fact,
celery extract has been studied for two potential anticancer compoundsapigenin,
and luteolin.
Apigenin destroys free
radicals in the body and can promote cancer
cell death. It also appears to promote autophagy, a process in which your body
removes dysfunctional cells or components, helping to prevent disease.

Research also suggests that luteolin, a
plant flavonoid in celery, could be responsible for its potential anticancer
effects. In one study, researchers found that luteolin supplementation dropped
mice tumor rates by almost half. And it slowed the progression of the remaining
tumors. And if that’s not enough, studies from China are reported to
suggest that eating two stalks per week could reduce your risk of lung cancer
by up to 60%. Other research suggests that eating celery may be effective in
fighting cancers of the breast, ovary, pancreas, liver, and prostate. Wow!

2. It may reduce inflammation associated with chronic
disease

Celery seed extracts have been long used and studied for
their anti-inflammatory properties on the body. Various preparations of celery
and its seed extract have been used to treat inflammation throughout history.
Some research suggests
that celery seed extract is as effective as drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen, and
naproxen in treating arthritis symptoms. It may also have a pain-reducing
effect. And it may be protective against stomach damage that can occur from
taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Additionally, a 2008
study conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois found that the
luteolin in celery can significantly reduce brain inflammation. And it may have
the potential for treating neurodegenerative
diseases
 like multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s.

3. It may reduce your risk of heart disease

Eating this crunchy veggie may be protective of your heart
by improving common heart disease biomarkers.
A 2009 study in rats found that,
when given celery extract for 60 days, rats experienced a significant reduction
in their blood lipids, including total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, and
triglycerides. Celery may also be able to lower your blood pressure, even
though it’s fairly high in sodium — a fascinating paradox. A mixture of
celery juice and honey has been used in China for this purpose for a long time
with success. In South Africa, celery juice mixed with vinegar is given to
pregnant women to help them lower high blood pressure.

4. It may support male fertility

A 2017 review of
16 studies on celery and fertility found that celery can have a protective
effect against substances that can damage sperm count. Similarly, a 2015 study
on the effects of celery on fertility in rats found that
30 days of celery leaf extract could potentially improve sperm count. This may
be because it appears to have inhibitive effects
against free
radicals
, which can adversely impact fertility. However, it hasn’t been
determined how much celery you would need to eat or drink to see these
benefits.

5. It may support gut and digestive health

Celery is full of insoluble fiber, which can
increase satiety and aid in weight loss and can also help promote regularity.
In other words, it can prevent and treat constipation and
help clean out your intestines. In a 2010 study, researchers
looked at the impact of celery extract on the treatment of stomach ulcers. And
they examined the overall protective benefits of it on the gastrointestinal
system of rats. Rats who were pretreated with celery extract before they
developed stomach ulcers experienced much less gastric damage than those not
pretreated. The researchers suggest this is likely due to the antioxidant
properties of celery, a conclusion that is echoed in other studies
on celery and health.

Potential Downsides to Eating Celery

While including celery in your diet offers a lot of health
benefits, there are some reasons you might want to exercise caution with it.

Celery is on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Dirty Dozen list of
the most pesticide-contaminated produce. Pesticides get absorbed through
the bottom of the stalks, where it absorbs water. While that doesn’t mean you
should avoid it altogether (conventional produce is better than none at all),
it’s one of those produce items you might want to buy organically —
if you can. At the very least, check out this
article
 to see the best way to wash fruits and vegetables to remove
pesticides.

The fiber in celery is insoluble, meaning that it isn’t well
digested by your digestive tract. In other words, it helps to move things right
through your intestines. While getting enough insoluble fiber is a good idea
for most people (and most of us don’t get enough fiber
in general), there are instances in which getting too much
could lead to diarrhea and loose stools.

Although quite rare, allergies to celery do exist.
Most allergies are
to celeriac root, with symptoms such as itchiness and swelling of the throat,
lips, and tongue. And in the most severe cases, people with celery allergies
may even experience anaphylactic shock. If you are one of the rare people who
are allergic to this vegetable, then I don’t care what the studies say about
its health benefits — don’t eat it!

How to Store Celery

f you’ve ever left celery out on the counter, or perhaps
unprotected in the refrigerator for too long, you’ve probably seen it wilt.
Eventually the stalks become limp and rubbery. If you plan to eat it within a
few days, you can store your celery in a produce bin in your fridge. To keep it
at the peak of freshness for as long as possible, here are a few options (all
of which require refrigeration):

  • Submerge the stalks fully in water. This works well
    due to celery’s high water content. You can actually reverse the wilting
    of old celery if you catch it fast enough. Put trimmed stalks in a glass
    or bowl under water and cover the container with a lid.

  • Arrange the stalks in a glass or jar with water like
    a bouquet of flowers, and leave them uncovered with the tops sticking out.

  • Wrap trimmed stalks in a damp towel covered with
    aluminum foil.

In the “cool kitchen science” department, you can grow
celery at home. This might even be easier than growing it from a seed, as the
plant does best in cooler temperatures or indoors.

Start with a celery bunch from the store; cut off the stalks
and store them in the fridge. Then place the three-inch stump root-end down in
a shallow glass of water. Change the water every few days. You can also add
fertilizer to help it grow (totally optional). Within a few days, you should
see new roots and leaves growing.

The Celery Juice Phenomena

The healing properties of celery juice have been popularized
by Food Revolution Summit speaker and Medical Medium, Anthony William.
According to William, celery juice, when consumed by itself on an empty
stomach, contains undiscovered cluster salts that do the following:

  • Rebuild the hydrochloric acid in your stomach, which
    helps kill off harmful pathogens that lead to disease, including the
    Epstein-Barr Virus.

  • Increases the strength and amount of bile in your
    body. The cluster salts act like antiseptics for any pathogens present.

  • Restores your central nervous system by removing
    poisons and old toxins that build up in the body over time and wreak
    havoc.

  • Clears your liver of pesticides, solvents,
    herbicides, toxic heavy metals, and
    all kinds of dangerous chemicals.

Some of this has validation by scientific research, while
some of it hasn’t (at least, not yet). However, we do know that a lot of people
swear that drinking celery juice changed their life for the better. Either way,
there’s no disputing that celery itself is a healthy vegetable and is good for
you.

If you are interested in trying celery juice, here are some
tips for success:

Many people recommend avoiding high-speed blenders because
of fears that it will destroy certain compounds in the celery, like
antioxidants. Instead, celery juice fans suggest using a quality slow speed
juicer. The slow speed, they say, prevents the celery from heating up and
losing nutrients. As an added benefit, slow speed juicers are less likely to
get clogged by its “strings.”

How to Use Celery

Whether or not you’re interested in drinking quarts of
celery juice, don’t write off celery. There are many other ways to enjoy this
unique and crunchy stalk vegetable, too.

Some of these include:

  • Chopping it up to use in warm soups

  • Dicing it for use in an organic tofu scramble

  • Slicing it thinly for salads and wraps

  • Chopping it for chickpea salad sandwiches or potato
    salad

  • Adding it to stir-fries

  • Snacking on it raw with almond, peanut, or cashew
    butter and sprinkling it with raisins or hemp seeds

  • Adding it to smoothies

Celery Recipes

Here are some healthy, creative ways you can incorporate
celery into your diet.

Celery
Ginger Juice
 by Detoxinista — This is a bold combination of flavors
that melds into a refreshing “ginger lemonade” fit for daily enjoyment, as per
the author.

Vegan
Waldorf Salad
 by Nutritionicity — A nice mixture of crunchy celery
along with other fruits and veggies, tossed in a creamy dressing, this is a
nutrient-rich salad for all seasons.

Cabbage
Soup
 by Simple Vegan Blog — This is a versatile and colorful soup that
capitalizes on the crunchiness of cabbage and celery. But you can adjust it as
needed.

‘Chickpea of
the Sea’ Tuna Salad Sandwich
 by Simple Veganista — If you’ve ever been
a fan of a traditional tuna salad sandwich, I bet you’ll like this version even
better! Mashed chickpeas, melded with familiar flavors of celery, red onions,
and creamy hummus make for a winning combination.

Celery Is Good For You!

However you choose to enjoy them, there’s no question that
adding more vegetables like celery to your diet is a good thing for most of us.
Celery itself is very nutritious, with many health benefits and minimal downsides.
And seeing as it’s so easy to add to a number of recipes, you might just
promote it to one of your kitchen staples.

 

Remember to sign up for your free Healthy Living / Personal Development book a month

Also check out our book site for help with Healthy Living Solutions.


Also check out our site where we have great recipes.

.

Rod Stone
Author,
Publisher and Supplier of Healthy Living information and products to improve
your life.


Important
This site makes use of cookies which may contain tracking information about visitors. By continuing to browse this site you agree to our use of cookies.