Regardless of whether you enjoy your celery cooked or raw, the nutritional food value of celery, like most green vegetables is very beneficial to the body. Celery is from the same family as parsley and fennel, the Umbelliferae family. Celery is used around the world as a vegetable for the crisp leaf stalk. However, the other parts of celery are edible too. The leaves are strong flavored and are used as flavoring in soups and stews or as a dried herb. Celery seeds too are popular in some cultures, as are the roots.
Nutritional Content of Celery
Celery is 95% water, very alkaline forming in the body and filled with fiber. Celery is a source of amino acids, boron, calcium, chlorine, essential fatty acids, folate, inositol, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sulfur, zinc, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin K.
Health Benefits of Celery
1. Cancer fighting properties: Celery contains components like phthalides and polyacetylenes which are anti-carcinogenic and also enhance the activity of certain white blood cells. Coumarins, a plant phytonutrient in celery helps prevent free radicals from damaging cells and prevent the formation and development of colon and stomach cancers.
2. Reduce bad breath: Regular munching on celery stalks helps cleanse the bacteria that cause bad breath and remove lodged food particles.
3. Digestive health: Celery contains special nutrients in the fiber that are released during juicing that aids bowel movements making celery a natural laxative that helps relieve constipation. It also helps relax nerves and muscles that have been constricted due to overuse of man-made laxatives.
4. Lowers cholesterol: Buthyl phthalide, a chemical in celery may help reduce LDL (bad) cholesterol levels with as little as 2 stalks a day. In addition, celery aids in the increase of the secretion of bile which helps remove excess cholesterol from the body.
5. Diuretic: Urine production is stimulated by the potassium and sodium in celery which are powerful body fluid regulators that help the body rid of excess fluid. The diuretic effect celery has on the body may also aid in the breaking of urinary and gall bladder stones.
6. Lowers blood pressure: Celery’s capability to reduce high blood pressure has long been known by Chinese medicine. This is owed to the presence of phthalides that relax the blood vessels around arteries, dilating them and allowing blood to flow smoothly. They also reduce stress hormones that cause constriction. Amazingly celery does not lower blood pressure that is already low!
7. Help rid of insomnia: The minerals and vital nutrients in celery have a calming effect on the nervous system, helping with insomnia and other sleeping disorders.
8. Promotes weight loss: Celery is a very low calorie food that can keep one satiated for long, thanks to its high fiber content and also helps curb one’s craving for sweet and rich food, making it a must in weight loss diets.
9. Aids kidney functions: Celery promotes healthy kidney function by helping with the elimination of toxins from the body and will also prevent the formation of kidney stones.
10. Reduce infections: Celery has been widely used as a remedy for fungal infections owing to its strong antifungal properties. Celery has also been known to help with the elimination of gout and hay fever because of its anti-inflammatory properties.