Celery – A Powerhouse of Health
The English word ‘celery’ is derived from the French ‘céleri’, which is in turn derived from the Italian word ‘seleri’. Belonging to the family Apiaceae, celery (Botanical name: Apium Graveolens Var. Dulce) is a plant which is commonly used around the world as a vegetable. Being highly alkaline in nature, containing 95% water and having a high fiber content, celery is most commonly associated with weight loss regimes and is widely considered as a soothing food. The stalk and leaves are used in a variety of culinary preparations like salads, soups, etc, while the seeds are sold as spice.
The celery seed (also known as ajwain in Hindi) has been used as a medicine for thousands of years in Indian Ayurvedic Medicine to treat colds, flu, fluid retention, indigestion and different types of arthritis. These seeds contain several substances including volatile oils, flavonoids, antioxidants, and chemicals that are responsible for thinning the blood. The essential oils are also used in the perfume and pharmaceutical industries. Celery seeds can also be used as a flavoring or a spice, either as whole seeds or ground with salt known as celery salt. (Read how to select, store and cook celery?)
CELERY NUTRITION FACTS
|Nutritional Value per 100 gms of celery||Source: USDA Database|
|Total Fat||1.12 gms|
|Dietary Fiber||2.10 gms|
|Vitamin A||449 IU|
|Vitamin C||3.1 mg|
|Vitamin K||29.3 µg|
|Carotene β||270 µg|
A highly nutritious and hydrating food, celery is highly alkaline by nature and helps to balance the PH levels of our body.
Celery is choc a bloc with nutrients and minerals and is used to treat a variety of health problems. Celery leaves are a rich source of Vitamin A, while the stem contains Vitamins B1, B2, B6, and Vitamin C, in addition to Potassium, folic acid, Calcium, magnesium, iron, Prosperous, sodium and essential amino acids.
Celery also contains certain essential oils that give celery its unique and characteristic smell. These oils are soothing and help to regulate the nervous system.
The sodium present in celery is soluble and organic (unlike that of table salt which is composed of inorganic, insoluble compounds), which allows for better absorption of other nutrients in the body. It also prevents dehydration by regulating the balance of salt levels at the cellular level. That is why celery juice is a perfect rehydration drink for athletes.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CELERY
A healthy food with medicinal properties, celery has nutrient benefits found in all parts of the plant including leaves, stalks, roots and seeds. Think celery, and what comes to mind is a crunchy low cal vegetable.
1. Benefits of Celery for Blood Pressure
Celery contains a compound, Phthalide, which relaxes the muscles of the arteries, allowing blood vessels to dilate, thereby reducing blood pressure.
2. Benefits of Celery for Weight Loss
- Because of its high content of cellulose, a single stalk of celery contains very few calories, and studies suggest that the body actually burns up its own calories to digest this food, thus aiding tremendously with weight loss.
- The celery contains hormones that have a soothing effect on your central nervous system, making it easier for you to lose weight.
3. Anti Inflammatory Benefits of Celery
Apart from being a good source of antioxidants like Vitamin C, Beta Carotene and Manganese, celery is also rich in Phytonutrients which have shown to contain an antiinflamatory property which helps protect us from cancer and also boosts our immune functions.
4. Celery – A Natural Diuretic
Celery can reduce water build up in the body, thereby reducing the concentration of uric acid which causes pain and inflammation in people suffering from arthritis and gout.
5. Celery Reduces Menstrual Discomfort
Online clinical research suggests that chemicals in celery help decrease blood clotting thus reducing severity of pain during menstrual cycle.
6. Other Health Benefits of Celery
Studies also suggest that celery could be effective in treating Hysteria, Loss of Appetite and Exhaustion, to Kill Bacteria in the Urinary tract, in regulating bowel movement and to control intestinal flatulence (Intestinal gas).
CELERY – SIDE EFFECTS
By and large celery is considered a safe food, if consumed in a controlled way. However, certain conditions call for precaution in consuming celery, especially the seeds (ajwain).
- Celery may cause drowsiness. Avoid taking celery if you are already on sedative medications.
- In some people celery may cause skin inflammation and sensitivity to the sun.
- Celery oil and celery seeds are not considered safe when used during pregnancy as large amounts might cause the uterus to contract and cause a miscarriage.
- Celery is also known to cause allergic reactions in certain people.
- Due to its water retention properties celery might prove to be contraindicative for some kidney disorders.
- Celery contains certain hormones that help to relax the muscles. These hormones combined with anesthesia and other medications used during and after a surgery might have a slow down effect on the central nervous system and cause complications. Hence, it is advisable to stop using celery at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.