Many people think celery is just a pretty filler. It is often considered boring, but your body loves the minerals and salts provided in it low-calorie stocks and leaves. It even retains its nutrition when steamed so use it for soups and stir frys as well as salad. Forget your grandma’s advice to cook until it is clear. It is best still crisp and add texture as well as nutrition to any dish. So what does it do for you?
- Celery is one of the very low calorie herbal plants. Its leaves carry only 16 calories per 100 g weight and contain lots of non-soluble fiber (roughage) which when combined with other weight loss regimens may help reduce body weight, and blood cholesterol levels.
- Its leaves are rich source of flavonoid antioxidants such as zea-xanthin, lutein, and beta-carotene, which have been anti-oxidant, cancer protective and immune-boosting functions. For the same reason, celery has been acknowledged as a functional food.
- Its leaves are a good source of vitamin-A. 100 g fresh celery comprises of 449 IU or 15% of daily-required levels of this vitamin. Vitamin-A and beta-carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and for night vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps the body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- The herb is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid (provides 9% of RDA), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum metabolism.
- Fresh celery is an excellent source of vitamin-K, provides about 25% of DRI. Vitamin-K helps increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
- The herb is a very good source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
- Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils that include terpenes, mostly limonene (75 to 80%), and the sesquiterpenes like ß-selinene (10%) and humulene; however, its characteristic fragrance is due to chemical compounds known as phthalides (butylphthalid and its dihydro derivate sedanenolid) in them.
Its medicinal uses have been well studied.
- Wild celery has been used in medicines to reduce blood pressure, to relieve indigestion and as an anti-inflammatory agent. It also used as a diuretic to remove excess water from the body.
- The essential oils in the celery seeds, leaves, and root have been employed as carminative, emmenagogue, galactogogue (help breast milk secretion), nervous system ailments such as headache and nervous irritability.
- The herb has also been claimed to be useful in treatment of rheumatism and gouty conditions. (Disclaimer)
So add some celery to every thing you cook. Food really is your best medicine.