Apples walk away with most health accolades, and spinach leads the healthy veggie brigade. Compared to them, celery is somewhat unsung, but once you read its incredible–and nearly endless–list of health benefits, you will quickly join its growing list of lovers.
- Celery is a great choice if you are watching your weight. One large stalk contains only 10 calories! So, add celery to your shopping list and enjoy it in your salads, soups and stir-fries.
- Celery reduces inflammation. If you are suffering from joint pains, lung infections, asthma, or acne, eating more celery will bring much-needed relief.
- It helps you calm down: Celery for stress-relief? Oh yes! The minerals in celery, especially magnesium, and the essential oil in it, soothe the nervous system. If you enjoy a celery-based snack in the evening, you may sleep better.
- It regulates the body’s alkaline balance, thus protecting you from problems caused by an overly acidic diet.
- Celery aids digestion: some say celery tastes like “crunchy water,” and this may be part of the reason it is so good for your digestive system. The high water content of celery, combined with the insoluble fiber in it, makes it a great tool for easy passage of stool. Note: because celery has diuretic and cleansing properties, those with diarrhea should avoid eating it.
- It contains “good” salts. Yes, celery does contain sodium, but it is not the same thing as table salt. The salt in celery is organic, natural and essential for your health.
- It cares for your eyes. One large stalk of celery delivers 5 percent of your daily need for Vitamin A, a group of nutrients that protects the eyes and prevents age-related degeneration of vision.
- Celery reduces “bad” cholesterol: There is a component in celery called butylphthalide, which gives the vegetable its flavor and scent. But that’s not all it does — the compound also reduces bad cholesterol. A Chicago University study profiled by the New York Times shows that the butylphthalide found in just four stalks of celery a day can reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) by up to 7 percent!
- It lowers blood pressure: An active compound called phthalides in celery has been proven to boost circulatory health. Raw, whole celery reduces high blood pressure.
- It could amp up your sex life: According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, Director of the Smeel and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, two pheromones in celery–androstenone and androstenol–boost your arousal levels. They are released when you chew on a celery stalk.
- Celery can combat cancer: Two studies at the University of Illinois show that a powerful flavonoid in celery, called luteolin, inhibits the growth of cancer cells, especially in the pancreas. Another study suggests that the regular intake of celery could significantly delay the formation of breast cancer cells.
Choose celery with upright stalks that snap when bent. The leaves should be fresh and crisp. When selecting celery, remember this rule of thumb: The darker the color, the stronger the flavor.
Freshly chopped celery retains its nutrients much better than if you chop and store it even for a few hours.
Steamed celery not only retains its flavor, but also most of its nutrients–up to 99 percent of them, in fact!