Aromatic and crispy, the Sirtfood celery is one of the most widely eaten and enjoyed veggies on the planet. Great in salads, stir fries, and soup as well as all by itself, celery is also highly nutritious.
For centuries, Ayurvedic medicine has used celery and celery seed as a treatment for colds and flu, poor digestion, arthritis, and liver and spleen disorders. Today, it’s known as a diuretic, which only stands to reason with all the moisture it holds. Studies also indicate its effectiveness in deflecting mosquitoes. But eating it is the real key.
Celery is rich in electrolytes and has a cooling effect on the body, which may relate to its ability to fight inflammation. You can also count on celery to lower oxidative stress in the heart and help clear the digestive system. Studies also found that the apigenin in celery has the ability to inhibit breast and pancreatic cancer, and the luteolin to boost cognitive function. Those items alone are good reasons to up your celery intake.
Celery is a great addition to tuna or egg salad. Stir fries are an excellent way to enjoy this vegetable, mixed with carrots, bell peppers, and onions, and teriyaki or orange sauce. It also adds an aromatic flavor to pot roast and vegetable soup.
However, when celery is boiled or blanched (dipped in boiling water) in soup, more than a third of the nutrients can be lost. To keep most of its goodness intact, steaming is the best method. Studies show that steaming for even as long as 10 minutes retains 83 to 99 percent of the antioxidants celery is known to be loaded with. You can refrigerate raw celery for five to seven days, but they tend to absorb the odors of other foods, so keep them separated in a sealed container.
Health Benefits of Celery
Celery is incredibly low in calories – only 16 per one-cup serving. This is one reason why it’s so popular for dieters. The reputation celery has for being a “negative calorie” food may actually be deserved. At the same time, celery is worth its weight in fiber, which moves food through the digestive tract more quickly, and therefore helps lower your risk for colon cancer.
An interesting tidbit about this vegetable is the many different vitamins and minerals it offers – a little bit of a lot for a good balance: nine percent each of the DV in vitamin A and folate, eight percent of the potassium and between two to five percent in manganese, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium in the minerals category. In vitamins: vitamin C, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin. Vitamin K plays the most dramatic role – 37 percent of the daily value per cup.
Celery is a rich source of flavonoids like zeaxanthin, lutein, and beta carotene, which studies have shown lowers inflammation as well as the risk of heart disease, enhances the immune system, and inhibits the growth of abnormal cancer-causing cells. Antioxidants in celery include natural phenolic dihydrostilbenoids, such as lunularin, and furanocoumarins like bergapten and psoralen. The flavonols quercetin and kaempferol also are present.
Celery leaves (which contain the most vitamin C, calcium, and potassium) and seeds also contain a number of little-heard-of volatile oils, such as terpenes (which consist mostly of limonene), and the sesquiterpenes β-selinene and humulene. 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. Coumarins help thin the blood, and linoleic acid is an omega-6 fatty acid. What all these and other compounds do for the body is pretty impressive.
As mentioned celery possesses two of the major sirtuin-activating nutrients-Apigenin and Luteolin.