By: Judy Davie - The Food Coach
Celery sometimes feels like the second cousin to most other vegetables. It's quite nice to have around but rarely ever takes centre stage. It seems to sort of fill in time or space until something better comes along.
This is hardly fair because there are plenty of good health reasons to eat celery, and right now while it's in season, celery is great value.
Health benefits of celery
Celery is often touted as having negative kilojoules which means you expend more energy eating it that it contains. While that is a bunch of nonsense, the facts are that a stalk of celery is made up of 76 percent water and indigestible fibre and contains negligible kilojoules. If you are trying to lose weight and feel the urge to chew on something, then celery is a good choice provided you don't dip it in a huge dollop of cream cheese or creamy dip.
Improve digestion with fibre from celery
The reason a stalk of celery takes some chewing is because of the cellulose fibre. Fibre is great for the digestive system, relieves constipation and provides fuel for the good bacteria in our gut.
Lower blood pressure with celery
To reduce high blood pressure and maintain fluid balance in the body, we need the right balance of sodium and potassium in the blood. Most people get more sodium than potassium from food. The simple task of eating more vegetables should address an imbalance of sodium and potassium. Just three medium-sized stalks of celery provide over 10 percent the daily recommended daily intake.
Reduce inflammation with celery
Celery contains two beneficial antioxidants known as apigenin and luteolin. Research shows that apigenin and luteolin reduce inflammation and may help relieve a range of inflammatory diseases including arthritis, inflammatory diseases affecting the upper and lower airway. Studies on these conditions have, to date, only been conducted on rodents, however, given that no harm can come from eating celery - unless you are allergic to it - if you do suffer from these conditions, it would be mad not to try! Anecdotally many people believe their joint pain is alleviated by drinking celery juice.
Reduce cholesterol with celery
Celery leaf extract, fed to rodents in studies found a significant reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL), or bad cholesterol compared to those that did not receive the extract. It's thought that celery may be responsible for lowering cholesterol levels by preventing stores of cholesterol from breaking down and entering the blood.
Reduce symptoms of gout with celery
Plant compounds, luteolin, 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB), beta-selinene, have been researched for their role in inflammation and uric acid production. Although the research is yet inconclusive on humans it is believed that these compounds, found in celery seed may be beneficial in treating gout.
Quick ways to use celery
Before it gets too hot, late winter, early spring is the perfect time to enjoy celery soup.
Saute 3 cups of diced leeks with 4 cups diced celery in olive oil until soft. Add 3 or 4 sprigs of thyme, 1 bay leaf, half a cup of raw cashews and 1 and a half cups of veggie stock. Simmer for 45 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Celery, turmeric, ginger and apple juice
For a quick digestive and anti-inflammatory boost; juice 3 stalks celery, with a knob of ginger, half a teaspoon of ground turmeric, one green apple and half a lemon.
Celery apple and walnut salad
While apples are still good eating and iceberg lettuce is back in fashion. Take the classic Waldorf salad and health it up a bit. Replace the creamy mayonnaise with an olive oil, lemon, honey and Dijon dressing (Use 3 parts oil, 1 part lemon, and a dollop each of honey and Dijon mustard). Combine 2 cups diced celery with 1 cup diced red apple, and a quarter of a cup of chopped walnuts. Stir through the dressing and spoon into iceberg lettuce cups. To be extra fancy add some chopped dill or chervil
Celery and peanut butter
if it's a quick snack you're after this is the bomb! Especially with crunchy peanut butter. Go easy on the amount of peanut butter you use, if you are trying to lose weight, and perhaps spoon out no more than a tablespoon from the jar and walk away. It's morish so be careful!
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