Celery (Apium graveolens) is a marshland plant in the family Apiaceae that has been cultivated as a vegetable since antiquity. Celery has long fibrous stalk tapering into leaves.
Depending on location and cultivar, either its stalks, leaves or hypocotyl are eaten and used in cooking. Celery seed is also used as a spice and its extracts have been used in herbal medicine.
At just 10 calories stalk, celery’s claim to fame may be that it’s long been considered a low-calorie “diet food.”
But crispy, crunchy celery actually has a number of health benefits that many surprise you. Here are five you should consider adding celery to your diet, plus a few recipes to make it easy.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CELERY
■ CELERY IS A GREAT SOURCE OF IMPORTANT ANTIOXIDANTS
Antioxidants protect cells, blood vessels, and organ from oxidative damage.
Celery contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, but there are at least 12 additional kinds of antioxidant nutrients found in a single stalk. It’s also a wonderful source of phytonutrients, which have been shown to reduce instances of inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs.
■ CELERY REDUCES INFLAMMATION
Chronic inflammation has been linked to many illnesses, including arthritis and osteoporosis. Celery and celery seeds have approximately 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that can offer protection against inflammation in the body.
■ CELERY SUPPORTS DIGESTION
While its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients offer protection to the entire digestive tract, celery may offer special benefits to the stomach.
Pectin-based polysaccharides in celery including a compound known as apiuman, have been shown to decrease instances of stomach ulcers, improve the lining of the stomach secretions in animal studies.
And then there’s the high water content of celery – almost 95 percent – plus generous amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. All of those support a healthy digestive tract and keep sticks has 5 grams of dietary fiber
■ CELERY IS RICH IN VITAMINS AND MINERALS WITH A LOW GLYCEMIC INDEX
You’ll enjoy vitamins A, K, and C, plus minerals like potassium and folate when you eat celery. Its also low in sodium. Plus, its low on the glycerin index, meaning it has a slow, steady effect on your blood sugar.
■ CELERY HAS AN ALKALIZING EFFECTS
With minerals like magnesium, iron, and sodium, celery can have a neutralizing effect on acidic foods – not to mention the fact that these essential bodily functions.