Most people think of celery as a good low-calorie snack to satisfy their crunch cravings, but the actual health benefits of the simple green veggie often get overlooked. If celery isn’t part of your current diet, you might want to grab some the next time you go grocery shopping!
1. Celery is an Anti-Inflammatory
Celery contains numerous antioxidant nutrients, including Vitamin C, beta carotene, manganese and phytonutrients. Many of the phytonutrients in celery are powerful antioxidants that have been shown to provide anti-inflammatory benefits. They also protect the body against free radical damage, which is a major contributing factor to inflammation and chronic diseases. Those who suffer from ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease or other inflammatory digestive tract issues can benefit greatly by adding celery to their diet.
2. Celery Supports Cardiovascular Health
Thanks to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties in celery, it works to keep the cardiovascular system healthy and strong. The phytonutrients in celery work to prevent cell damage and decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease. Researchers have found that the phthalides in celery can act as muscle relaxants, allowing the blood vessels to expand, and stabilize a healthy blood pressure.
3. Celery Aids in Digestion
Celery’s high water content combined with its insoluble fiber make it a great food for the digestive system. Celery also contains pectin-based polysaccharides that can provide the stomach with special benefits. They reduce inflammation, improve the integrity of the stomach lining and even decrease the risk of developing a stomach ulcer.
4. Celery Helps Prevent UTIs
We often think of cranberry juice when trying to heal a urinary tract infection, but it turns out that celery is also beneficial. It stimulates urine production while helping to reduce uric acid levels, making it a natural aid in preventing and fighting UTIs, along with other bacterial infections that can occur in the reproductive or digestive tracts.
5. Celery Reduces LDL Cholesterol
A component in celery known as butylphthalide gives the crunchy vegetable both its flavor and scent. It also reduces bad cholesterol! A Chicago University study found that consuming just two stalks of celery a day can reduce LDL cholesterol levels by up to seven points!
6. Celery Helps to Regulate the Body
The high water content and natural electrolytes in celery help regulate body temperature by hydrating and cooling, especially on a hot day. Celery also helps regulate the body’s alkaline balance, protecting it from problems due to acidity, and it’s a great low calorie, nutritional snack for those who are watching their weight.
7. Celery May Help Prevent Cancer
Celery contains phthalides, flavonoids and polyacetylenes — all known to be cancer-fighting components that help to detoxify carcinogens. The antioxidants in celery also protect against cell damage, neutralizing free radicals before they can cause serious conditions such as cancer.
8. Celery is a Natural Diuretic
Celery is rich in both sodium and potassium, both of which help to regulate the fluid balance in the body. Potassium also acts as a vasodilator to reduce blood pressure.
How to Select and Store Celery
Choose celery that looks crisp, snaps easily when pulled apart, and is relatively tight without many stalks splayed out. The leaves should be pale to bright green in color, without any yellow, brown or black patches. You can store your fresh celery in the fridge in an airtight bag or container for 5-7 days. Make sure to wash your celery before use, and don’t forget to use the leaves! They contain the most Vitamin C, calcium and potassium. If you’re not crazy about the taste of celery, try juicing it up with other fruits and vegetables.
Check out the video below for a healthy dip recipe to serve with your celery!