Celery is a marshland plant that has been cultivated as a vegetable since ancient times. Celery is an important food source of conventional antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, beta-carotene, and manganese. But phytonutrients is where it scores high grades in terms of its nutrient value. Many of these phytonutrients fall into the category of phenolic antioxidants and have been shown to provide multiple benefits.
Celery leaves are rich in vitamin A, while the stems are a great source of vitamins like B1, B2, B6, and C as well as minerals like iron, phosphorus, calcium, folate, potassium, sodium, magnesium, and various essential amino acids.
Health Benefits Of Celery
Reduces Blood Pressure
As already discussed earlier, celery contains organic sodium which helps reduce blood pressure rather than increase it. Regular consumption of celery juice notably lowers blood pressure levels, most probably due to the compound called phthalide, which relaxes the muscles around the arteries and promotes normal blood flow. For optimal results, drink the juice for a week, make a 3-week break, and start over again.
The mineral content of this veggie balances body’s pH levels and neutralizes acidity. Celery leaves have high content of vitamin A (a powerful anti-acid), whilst the stems are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C with rich supplies of potassium, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and plenty essential amino acids.
Celery contains polyacetylene, a compound which relieves inflammation of all kinds, such as gout, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, bronchitis, and more.
Celery acts as a natural laxative which relieves constipation safely and in an all-natural way. It works by relaxing the nerves which have been overwhelmed by man-made laxatives.
Calms The Nervous System
The alkaline minerals present in this veggie calm the nervous system, so celery juice is ideal for those suffering from insomnia.
Promotes Weight Loss
Celery is a good source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, the two types of dietary fiber. Celery juice is a great weight loss tool as it helps reduce unhealthy cravings because the soluble fibers absorb water and form a thick, gel-like mass in the digestive tract. This mass slows the rate at which food moves through the digestive system, altering how quickly nutrients like cholesterol and glucose are absorbed into the bloodstream.
Celery juice has been shown to lower total cholesterol and bad cholesterol (LDL). In a study at the University of Chicago Medical Center, celery was found to be helpful in lowering cholesterol, as well as blood pressure, levels. Phthalide, a chemical compound in celery, was shown to reduce blood pressure in laboratory rats by up to 14 percent and lower cholesterol levels by about 7 percent.
Maintains Electrolyte Balance
Celery juice serves as an ideal post-workout tonic because it helps restore lost electrolytes and hydrates the body with its high mineral content.
Keeps Cancer At Bay
Celery contains up to 8 different anti-cancer compounds, including acetylenics, which inhibit the growth of tumor cells; phenolic acids which stop the action of prostaglandins which stimulate tumor growth; and coumarins which prevent free radicals from causing damage to the cells.
Drinking a celery juice every few hours is one of the best ways to cool down and normalize body temperature on a dry and hot day.
Sodium and potassium present in celery juice help stimulate urine production and regulate body fluids, which makes celery an important tool to remove excess fluids from the system. Thanks to its diuretic effect, celery juice also helps dissolve and eliminate urinary stones and gallstones easier.
How To Cook Celery
If you are planning to steam vegetables as part of your meal, you can include celery without having to worry about an excessive loss of its phenol-based antioxidants. In a recent study, researchers 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. Both boiling and blanching resulted in substantial loss of these antioxidants, in the range of 38-41%. With steaming, however, 83-99% of these antioxidants were retained in the celery even after 10 minutes.
Storage: While it’s best to use fresh celery, it can be stored for 5 to 7 days in the refrigerator without significant loss of antioxidant nutrients.