Celebrating Celery

 

celery

Celebrating Celery

I’m not sure when and how it began but somewhere along the way celery started getting some bad press. I’m still hearing the remarks, “It’s not good for anything”, “It’s got nothing in it” and “Celery must have been a mistake; why did God even make it.”

Not so, not so! It’s time to set the record straight and clear celery’s good name. Celery in fact has much value and is good for a great many things.

I’d even go so far as to call celery a super food and here’s why:

Celery:

  • Is commonly used in lowering high blood pressure. This is thanks to the chemical phthalide found in celery, which, according to researchers from the University of Chicago Medical Center, can lower stress hormones in the blood, allowing blood vessels to expand and relax and let more blood flow through the body. (I know someone who was able to stop taking thier blood pressure medication after regularly eating two sticks of celery per day—one stick in the morning and one in the evening. Of course, this may not mean that celery will solve all cases of high blood pressure to the same degree.) Additionally, those with low blood pressure may want to go a little easier on the celery. These same researchers also found that phthalide was helpful in lowering LDL cholesterol.
  • Provides anti-inflammatory health benefits, useful in the treatment of inflammatory conditions such as rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and nerve inflammation. It may also bring relief for those who suffer from asthma, acne, canker sores, and headaches.
  • Imparts key nutrients able to calm and soothe nerves, relieve stress, and improve sleep…celery, you’re a friend indeed!
  • Is high in various antioxidants which offer protection against oxidative stress. Studies have found that antioxidants play an important role in cardiovascular health and cancer prevention, not to mention anti-aging!
  • Contains the flavonoid luteolin, which according to studies at the University of Illinois, helps in the prevention of certain cancers, particularly pancreatic and breast cancers. Scientists also  found that the luteolin content in celery may boost memory and halt age-related brain inflammation in humans to result in better cognitive health. Another study published in Planta Medica suggests that the luteolin in celery may be able to inhibit the production of COX-2, an enzyme that triggers inflammation.
  • Improves digestion and assists with regularity.
  • Combats halitosis (bad breath)
  • Is a great source of sodium, potassium, and water making it beneficial for athletes in need of replenishing lost electrolytes and fluids. This natural source of sodium is considered safe for those avoiding table salt.
  • Is a rich source of fiber, vitamins K, A & C, folate, and manganese, and is a good source of magnesium, calcium, vitamins B2, B5, and B6.
  • It’s high vitamin A  content is of great benefit for eye health and for providing protection against age-related deteriorating eyesight.
  • Can be used as a diuretic removing excess water from the body.

Fortunately for most of us, celery, with all of these amazing things going for it, is also inexpensive, versatile, and super available. Personally I would buy organic celery (which I usually find to be reasonably priced) since celery is pretty high up on EWG’s ‘dirty dozen’ list of the most pesticide-contaminated produce. (For more about EWG-Environmental Working Group, go to http://www.ewg.org. )

So eat your celery whether raw by the stick, dipped into guacamole or humus, added to a Greek or Waldorf (or any) salad and even into blended/smoothie concoctions or juiced. Since celery is believed to hold onto most of its nutrients even when cooked, don’t think twice before adding it liberally to stews, chili, stir fries, and soups. Go ahead and eat the leaves and root (celeriac) too; they’re bursting with goodness and flavor!

Exceptions to becoming an avid celery eater:

  • Got low blood pressure? Don’t over eat celery.
  • Allergic to celery—like occasionally someone is? Then don’t eat any celery.
  • Eating lots of celery (especially the seeds or essential oil) is not recommended for pregnant women.
  • If already taking a sedative, go lightly on celery because of its own calming properties.
  • Those taking diuretic medications should eat celery sparingly.

Who would have thought that celery, one of the humblest of vegetables, was capable of delivering such a powerful punch!

 

celery fields 2

Celery fields forever!

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