Healthy Benefits of Celery
Celery has a long history and was first used as medicine and then later on as food. The medical use of the celery leaf dates back to the 9th century B.C. appearing in the Odyssey, by the famous Greek poet, Homer. Ancient Greeks would use the leaves also to decorate their athletes, and the Romans were known to use celery for seasoning. Wild celery is different from our modern day celery in that it has less stalk and more leaves. Celery is believed to be originated from northern Africa and southern Europe and is also native to the Himalayas. It was not until the Middle Ages that celery was recorded as being used for food, and did not become popular in Europe until the 18th century and in the early 19th century for the United States.
Vitamins in Celery
This is one food that you can actually burn more calories digesting resulting in negative calories. Celery contains about 6 calories per 8 inch stalk, and is loaded with health benefits. This wonderful plant is from the Umbelliferae family which is also the same for parsley, fennel, carrots and dill. While most foods lose nutrient when cooked celery is one that still holds many of its nutrients when cooked. Celery leaves are high in vitamin A, and the stalks contain vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C that supply potassium, calcium, folic acid, iron, magnesium, sodium and essential amino acids.
Health Benefits of Celery
Celery contains phthalides which is said to lower cholesterol and coumarins which are believed to be useful for cancer prevention. The courmarins help prevent free radicals from damaging cells, that decrease mutations potentially causing cells to become cancerous. Coumarins are also believed to enhance certain white blood cell activity, and compounds called acetylenics found in celery have shown to stop the growth of tumor cells.
Lower Blood Pressure
Considering celery is an excellent source of vitamin C, which has been stated in over 20 scientific studies to be a cold fighter, it is safe to say that celery supports the immune system as well as reduce the risk of heart disease, strokes and cancer. Celery being that it is a great source of potassium, calcium and magnesium is also believed to lower blood pressure. It contains active compounds called phythalides that help relax the muscle that surrounds the arteries allowing those vessels to dilate. The blood can flow at a lower pressure with more space inside the arteries. These phythalides also reduces stress hormones that cause blood vessels to constrict.
Grow your own celery
Though celery is sold all year round, it is best to buy it when in season and preferably from your local growers. In 2010 the Environmental Working Group reported that celery is 1 of 12 foods that show high amounts of pesticide residues. So it is best to buy celery organically or grow it yourself. I can testify that celery grown in your own garden is always going to be better than getting it anywhere else. If you are starting it from seed make sure to give yourself between 12-16 weeks of growing time indoors before your last estimated frost date.
The complete Illustrated Book of Herb, Readers Digest