Celery – A Powerhouse Food

celeryCelery always looks garden-fresh and the crunchiness of its stalks is fun to eat.  But celery is more than just green and crunchy. It is low calorie and chock-full of health benefits. Some even argue celery is a healthier option than an apple.

Plant Family

Celery (Apium graveolens)  belongs to Apiaceae family along with other aromatic plants such as parsnip, parsley, and carrots. These north temperate plants are defined by their flowers forming umbels, which resemble an upside-down umbrella. While some of the Apiaceae plants are edible and well-known foods, others are poisonous (e.g., water hemlock, water dropwort, etc.) and can be fatal. So be careful when eating plants grown in the wild.

Health Benefits

The health benefits of celery are numerous – it has anti-inflammatory properties. It can lower blood pressure and strengthen the cardiovascular system.

Celery contains decent amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A – known respectively as major immune system booster and a powerful antioxidant preventing cellular damage from free radicals.

It is a first-rate source of vitamin K which is not only directly connected to bone health and cardiovascular fitness, but has also been lauded lately as possessing a wider range of advantages – such as cancer prevention and helping with the processing of vitamin D.In fact, recently there has been a steady increase in the sales of over-the-counter vitamin K supplements, but while the surge of interest in this vitamin is understandable, the buyers’ interests will be probably served better by direct celery consumption – just one cup of chopped celery stalks contains a third of the recommended daily intake.

How to Enjoy Celery

Celery is extremely low in calories and high in fiber. A perfect snack for dieters, which makes it a valuable food in terms of digestion and achieving a sense of fullness without resorting to heavy, calorie-dense food. And, it is packed with androsterone, a pheromone said to be a libido booster with especially pronounced effect on men’s sexual function. Not bad for a modest green plant with simple, if recognizable, taste.

To reap celery’s full benefits, consume it fresh and raw. Pair it with hummus, greek yogurt, and peanut butter. Mix it in salads in the summer and use it in chicken or vegetarian soups in the winter. And of course, try it in a smoothie – a couple of stalks will provide a piquant sharpness that cuts through nicely to the sweetness of apples or bananas.

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