We often think of celery as a great weight loss food. I’ve often heard about how you burn more calories eating celery than the number of calories you consume. But how good is it, and what are the health benefits of celery?
To start off, there is a reason that celery is so low in calories, it is 95% water. The remaining five per cent is fibre, sugar (1.8g per 100g). Mixed in with all of that water and fibre, you’ll also find some great vitamins and minerals. Celery is a good source of riboflavin, vitamin B6, pantothenic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, and manganese. It’s nutrient dense, meaning it is very high in nutrients compared to the number of calories.
Celery has a rich and old history. In fact, celery was found alongside the remains of pharaoh King Tutankhamen. This isn’t the only burial ground that this plant has been found in. Celery leaves were woven into crowns placed on the dead in ancient Greece. And speaking of ancient Greece, Homer makes mention of the plant in both the Iliad and The Odyssey. However, an ancient history doesn’t equate to being healthy, so let’s take a look at the facts and see if celery is really good for you.
Health Benefits Of Celery
It’s true that celery can help you lose weight. The intake of water and fibre will help keep things moving in your digestive and urinary tract. The water in celery is also good for keeping you hydrated, combatting hunger, and flushing your body of unhealthy toxins and germs.
Celery, along with many vegetables, is a rich source of polyacetylenes. Studies have shown that polyacetylenes are important for cellular bioactivity. These organic compounds in celery could have anti-cancer properties. This is just one of the potential benefits from these incredibly healthy compounds.
Celery is also an effective form of reducing oxidative stress and hypertension. This is so important for heart health and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Celery extract has shown to strengthen the gut by producing gastric wall mucus. This helps protect the wall from ulcers and also protects the stomach from gastric acid. Gastric acid is the digestive juice that breaks down food. It is important when doing its job, but it is the mucus’ job to keep the acid from wearing down the stomach walls. Most maladies start in the gut. Heal the gut and you can heal the body (most of the time). It’s even better if you protect your gut from the get-go so you don’t have to spend the time and energy trying to repair your intestinal walls.
Another notable health benefit from celery is its effect on male fertility. Studies found celery significantly increases healthy sperm count.
Unfortunately, the stalks are often the most widely consumed part of the plant. The chopped stalks make for a quick and easy snack, or can easily be tossed into a recipe. While the stalks are great for you, don’t neglect the celery leave. The leaves are one of the most nutrient dense portions of this good whole food.
If you’re going to snack on celery that’s great, but snack on celery, not celery filled with peanut butter or dunked into veggie dip. The point of it is that it is a nutrient dense, low-calorie snack, and shouldn’t be used as a tool to eat processed sugar. If you feel the need to snack, chewing on celery can be a satisfying choice. It’s crunchy, and the stringy fibre in these stalks keeps your mouth busy, chewing it down. Celery is also great in a salad or cooked with meat (especially the leaves).
One thing to keep in mind is that celery is one of the more heavily pesticide sprayed vegetables. Choosing organic celery is the healthier way to go, or you can grow your own. You can grow your own celery, but it is a harder vegetable to grow. The plant likes cool, moist climates so it may not be the right vegetable for everyone to grow.