6 Health Benefits of Celery – The Low-Calorie Vegetable
Whether it’s soup, salad or any other dish, celery can be added to almost anything to enhance its flavour. Apart from being flavourful, celery offers an array of health benefits ranging from immunity boosting to lowering cholesterol. It is a low-calorie vegetable rich in different nutrients and antioxidants. Read on to know about the amazing health benefits of celery!
Celery is a plant of the Apiaceae family and is called ‘kintsay’ in Filipino (Philippines), ‘saderi’ in Malay (Malaysia), and ‘ajavaayan’ in Hindi (India). Celery is consumed as a vegetable and can be found throughout the world. For centuries, Ayurvedic medicine has used celery and celery seed as a treatment for colds and flu, poor digestion, arthritis, liver and spleen disorders.
Cultivation of celery started approximately 3000 years ago in the Mediterranean region. Celery was first used during the 16th century in Italy as a food. Celery leaves were part of the remains found in the tomb of pharaoh “King Tutankhamun,” who died in 1323 BC. In ancient Greece, celery was used as an ancient “bouquet of flowers”, to reward winners of athletic games.
Did You Know?
– Celery Flats Interpretive Center is a celery museum in Portage, Michigan
– Celery can reach a height of 3.3 feet
– April is National Fresh Celery Month
– Ancient Romans used celery as an aphrodisiac
Celery contains minerals such as sodium, copper, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, and potassium. It also contains fatty acids and vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin E, vitamin D and B vitamins. It also contains dietary fiber.
Health Benefits of Celery
The health benefits of celery include the following:
Celery is a rich source of flavonoids which are known to have anti-inflammatory properties. These flavonoids also enhance the immune system, prevent heart disorders and inhibit the growth of abnormal cancer-causing cells.
Celery leaves and seeds also contain several volatile oils, such as terpenes and sesquiterpenes. The compound 3-n-butylphthalide, which gives celery its fresh, earthy essence, may play a part in both reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels by relaxing blood vessel muscles.
Other compounds present in celery are coumarins that act a blood-thinner and linoleic acid, which is an omega-6 fatty acid.
All of these different compounds confer celery with its numerous health benefits. Celery comprises mostly of water and it comes replete with incredible nutrition as well. They can help in lowering cholesterol levels, arthritis, weight loss, detoxifying the body, reducing high blood pressure, and promotes overall health.
Boosts immune system
Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, celery greatly boosts the strength of the immune system and makes us more active and efficient in fighting off infections. Eating celery can reduce your risk of catching a cold or flu as well as protect you against a variety of other diseases. The coumarins contained in it enhance the activity of white blood cells (WBC). WBC are the cells of the immune system that protect your body against both infectious disease and foreign invaders.
Celery contains phthalides, flavonoids, and polyacetylenes, which are cancer-fighting compounds that protect against carcinogens. These antioxidant compounds seek out free radicals present in the body and neutralize them. Free radical damage caused to cells, especially the DNA, may play a role in the development of cancer and other health conditions.
Improves heart health
Celery contains phthalides, which are organic chemical compounds that lower stress hormone levels in the body. Studies have linked stress to changes in the way blood clots, which increases the risk of heart attack.
Celery also contains potassium that acts as a vasodilator (widens blood vessels), which reduce blood pressure. Lower blood pressure helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis, heart attack and stroke.
Manages Cholesterol levels
Eating celery every day may reduce artery-clogging cholesterol also known as LDL (low-density lipoproteins). The phthalides in celery stimulate the secretion of bile juices which help reduce cholesterol levels. This reduces plaque build up on the artery walls and improves heart health in general. The fiber present in celery also works to scrape the cholesterol out of the bloodstream. It then removes the cholesterol from the body with regular bowel movements.
Detoxifies the Body
Research suggests that celery improves liver health, which can increase the body’s detox capacity over a long term. Celery is a diuretic (promotes urination) which not only promotes natural detox but is also beneficial for people with bladder disorders, kidney problems, cystitis, and other similar conditions.
Additionally, celery seeds prevent urinary tract infections in women. Consuming celery juice regularly can help you remove bad bacteria, fungi, viruses and other toxins from the liver.
Supports the Nervous system
Celery is known for supporting the nervous system. Due to its detoxifying properties, celery has a calming effect on the nervous system. It also acts as a blood purifier. Blood vessels are critical for delivering oxygen and nutrients to all tissues in the body, especially the central nervous system, which is extremely sensitive to hypoxia (low oxygen in tissues) and ischemia (inadequate blood supply to an organ, especially the heart).
How to include celery in your diet?
You can eat celery both raw and cooked. Steaming celery helps you retain most of its antioxidant properties compared to other methods of cooking. The flavonoids and polyphenols present in celery are delicate nutrients that can be lost when you overcook celery.
So it’s best to eat celery raw or to steam it for a few minutes. Eat celery with cheese, with dips, in salads, or as a crunchy addition to a peanut butter sandwich. Combine it with cucumber, apple, spinach, and lemon to make a tasty and healthy smoothie.
Not sure what to do with celery once you’ve bought some? Try adding some to – a salad, tuna/salmon/egg salad, a big pot of soup, stir-fry, smoothie or juice, or just have some as a snack.
Celery juice is tasty and refreshing and you can add it to other juices too. One should consume celery juice immediately upon waking up, on an empty stomach, for maximum benefits.
Disclaimer: Pregnant women should limit their intake of celery as the seeds contain volatile oils, flavonoids, coumarins and linoleic acid that may cause uterine contractions.
100g of celery provides 16 Calories, Carbohydrates – 3 g (Dietary Fibre – 1.6 g, Sugar – 1.3 g), Protein – 0.7 g, Fat – 0.2 g (saturated fat – 0.5g), Sodium – 80 mg,
And a percentage daily value of Vitamin A – 9%, Vitamin C – 5%, Iron – 1%, Calcium – 4% (based on a 2000 Calorie diet).