Celery…the Perfect Food?

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Celery is one of those vegetables that get taken for granted. Let’s get up close and personal.

Most of the plant is usable, the stalks as a crisp vegetable to be eaten raw or cooked, the leaves as a flavoring or dried as an herb, and the seeds as a spice.

Celery has been used medicinally since 30AD.  Celery seeds contain a compound, 3-n-butylphthalide, that has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in rats. Celery has anti-inflammatory health benefits, including its protection against inflammation in the digestive tract itself. Scientists have identified at least a dozen other types of antioxidant nutrients in celery. Celery contains pectin-based polysaccharides that can provide the stomach with special benefits. There are cardiovascular benefits of celery as oxidative stress and inflammation in the bloodstream are critical problems in the development of many cardiovascular diseases.

Celery is used in weight-loss diets, as it provides low-calorie dietary fiber bulk.One cup contains only 16 calories. It has that great crunch factor and is the perfect shape to use as a healthy vehicle to hold your favorite dips.

Nutrients change when stored and refrigerated, they recommend a period of 5-7 days for consuming fresh celery. Wait to cut up your celery until just before you are adding it to a salad or cooked dish to preserve its maximum nutrient potential.

Researchers have compared the impact of steaming (10 minutes) versus boiling (10 minutes) versus blanching (3 minute submersion in boiling water) on the total phenolic antioxidant nutrients in celery. You can steam celery without having to worry about excessive loss of its phenol-based antioxidants; 83-99% of these antioxidants were retained. Both boiling and blanching resulted in substantial loss of these antioxidants, in the range of 38-41%.

Pick up some celery and munch away guilt free!