Spinach leads the healthy veggie pack, while apples walk away with the most health accolades for fruits. On the same stage, celery plays underdog against these heavyweights, but once you discover celery’s endless list of amazing health benefits, you may just end up joining its growing list of followers.
Whether in vegetable trays, soups or in your mother’s evening dishes, most, if not all, would have consumed celery in one way or the other. The health benefits and nutritional value of celery have been well documented and have been heavily utilised in culinary and folk medicine for centuries. This lean and green mean machine is part of the Apiaceae plant family and is chock-full of beneficial enzymes and essential vitamins and minerals, such as potassium, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and folate.
A steady supply of celery can help promote cardiovascular and digestive health, reduce the risk of memory loss and even prevent pancreatic cancer, among others. Furthermore, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of celery make it a perfect food source for those with heart disease, high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol levels. In addition, as a supplier of polyphenols, phytonutrients and antioxidant flavonoids, the celery also offers many other incredible benefits for your eyes, liver, skin and cognitive health.
Promotes Weight Loss
Celery is one superfood you can incorporate into your daily diet to achieve healthy weight loss due to its low calorie and high fibre content. Fibre has the ability to make you feel full for a prolonged period of time after your meals, which effectively thwarts you from binging, and as a result, facilitates weight loss.
Its high water content can also provide a major advantage for those embarking on a weight loss journey, as insufficient water intake is a direct cause of dehydration, leaving you feeling demotivated and exhausted to hit the gym and zap those kilos.
In addition, celery also regulates lipid metabolism, causing it to be a valuable ingredient in weight loss. You can afford to prep celery with other greens that contain a higher energy density, as the low-energy density value of celery counteracts the other ingredients and ultimately aids in weight loss.
Lowers Blood Pressure
There is no denying that high blood pressure levels are one of the main causes of modern lifestyle diseases. Celery contains phthalides — a phytochemical which relaxes artery walls and improves blood flow, therefore reducing blood pressure. In addition, an Iranian study has ascribed the antihypertensive properties of celery to the same phytochemical, which also means that celery is able to soothe the muscles surrounding the blood vessels.
Furthermore, celery is packed with nitrates, a compound which has been found to also lower blood pressure. Additionally, celery seeds, similar to its stalk, also possess the ability to reduce blood pressure levels.
Celery contains an abundance of fibre and minimal calories, making it ideal for a low-cholesterol diet. One particular Chicago study pointed out that celery’s phthalides were discovered to reduce cholesterol levels by seven percent. Similar findings were established and recorded in a separate Singapore study.
The same studies also showed that celery has the potential to lower triglycerides and cholesterol levels, and at the same time, increase HDL (the ‘good’ cholesterol) levels, making it suitable for treating hyperlipidaemia, as well.
Celery is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, due to the flavonoid and polyphenol antioxidants it contains. These enzymes promote overall health by minimising oxidative stress and fighting free radicals that can lead to inflammation, especially more so as you age. Inflammation is a common contributing factor for chronic diseases like arthritis, heart disease, cancer and many more.
Over the recent years, researchers have ascertained over a dozen distinct types of antioxidants that contribute to the astonishing benefits of celery. These include phenolic acids — such as caffeic and ferulic acid — as well as flavanols, such as quercetin. Quercetin is what makes celery ideal for remedying a wide range of conditions that are made worse by inflammation, like irritable bowel syndrome, kidney and liver infections, urinary tract infection, skin disorders, gout and arthritis, among many others.
Another one of the significant benefits of celery? It falls under the same family tree as cancer-protective vegetables, like parsley, carrots, fennel and parsnips — all of which boast chemo-protective compounds called polyacetylenes. Early studies have reported that polyacetylenes help reduce toxicity and are effective in the contest against cancer formation, particularly intestinal cancer, leukaemia and breast cancer.
Furthermore, polyacetylenes are essentially equipped with immune-boosting effects, including tumour-fighting capabilities that inhibit mutated cells from proliferating. Polyacetylenes have also shown several fascinating bio-activities, which include cytotoxic, antiplatelet-aggregatory and anti-tumour activity, anti-inflammatory properties, as well as activity against bacteria and mycoplasma, according to the Department of Agricultural Sciences at the Aarhus University of Denmark.
Celery is also reported to contain a flavonoid called apigenin, which has been found to stimulate death in cancer cells.
Renowned for its nutritional value and health benefits, celery is also regarded as an essential ingredient in the culinary world. This green machine provides amazing benefits for supporting good digestion and regulating your metabolism, not to mention a preventive cure for a number of chronic illnesses. Make celery an integral component of your diet and reap its health benefits in no time!