The origins of celery trace back to ancient Mediterranean and North African cultures. It contains healthy minerals, like calcium, iron and zinc. It also has fatty acids and vitamins that provide a variety of health benefits to those who snack on this common veggie. Here are a few reasons why you should add celery to your diet.
The veggie stimulates the secretion of bile juices, which work to reduce cholesterol levels. Lower cholesterol means a healthier heart. Celery seed extracts also have anti-hypertensive properties that help reduce high blood pressure…which is one of the most important risk factors for coronary heart disease .
Celery can help prevent or reduce the formation of painful ulcers. Celery contains a type of ethanol extract that protects the lining of the digestive tract. It nourishes the stomach, colon and intestines due to its flavonoids, tannins, oils, and alkaloids that work to control the level of stomach acid .
Celery has antioxidants that act as anti-inflammatory agents. These antioxidants support overall health by fighting free-radicals (oxidative stress) that lead to inflammation. Chronic inflammation often contributes to the development of diseases like heart disease and arthritis .
Natural fiber and phytochemicals in celery support a healthy digestive system. Just one stalk of celery provides 4% of the daily value for fiber, helping to prevent constipation and facilitate nutrient absorption .
Celery seeds have actually been used for centuries as an herbal medicine with infection-fighting properties. Celery contains special anti-microbial components that work to reduce bacterial growth .
Because celery helps to reduce uric acid and stimulate urine production, its helpful in fighting bacterial infections within the digestive tract and urinary tract. This may help reduce frequency of UTIs, as well as bladder disorders, kidney problems and possibly cysts on reproductive organs .
Celery is in the same plant family as cancer-protective veggies like carrots, fennel, parsley and parsnips. Celery contains chemo-protective compounds that help fight against cancer formation…especially breast cancer, intestinal cancer and leukemia. These compounds are called polyacetlynes, and they have tumor-fighting abilities that stop mutated cancer cells from multiplying .
Celery is low in calories and can be a handy snack when trying to lose weight. It provides vital nutrients and helps regulate fat metabolism. Because it is full of water and fiber, it leads your stomach feeling full for longer .
These days in the United States, the most grown and eaten celery is called “pascal celery.” It grows in cool, moist climates and can be found fresh most times of the year. Celery is one of the most chemical-sprayed veggies out there….so always buy organic when you have the option. Make sure to rinse the stalks thoroughly to remove any dirt or lingering pesticide spray. The leaves are a good source of vitamins and minerals, so don’t waste them! Need some ideas?
Try one of these easy recipes:
Celery, apple and mint slaw from Grits and Chopsticks. It takes 2 stalks of celery, 2 tart apples, 1/2 bunch mint, lemon juice, and 1/2 cups olive oil.
Greek yogurt chicken salad from Well Plated by Erin. You’ll need 3 medium chicken breasts, 2 cups seedless grapes, 3 stalks celery, 2 large green onions, 1/2 cup slivered almonds, 1 cup plain Greek yogurt, 2 tablespoons of nonfat milk, 2 teaspoons honey, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 tablespoons of fresh dill and 1/2 teaspoon black pepper.
This vegan, dairy free cream of celery soup from Downshiftology is easy and light. It calls for 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 diced onion, 1 leek, 10 stalks celery, 3 cloves garlic, 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 cup coconut milk.