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Benefits of Celery
Celery is a plant. The fruit and seeds are dried or pressed into oil for use as medicine. Sometimes celery oil is marketed in capsule form. Some people also take celery juice as medicine. The ancient Greeks used celery to make wine, which was served as an award at athletic games. Celery is used to treat joint pain (rheumatism), gout, hysteria, nervousness, headache, weight loss due to malnutrition, loss of appetite, and exhaustion. Celery is also to promote relaxation and sleep; to kill bacteria in the urinary tract; as a digestive aid and for regulating bowel movements; to start menstruation; to control intestinal gas (flatulence); to increase sexual desire; to reduce the flow of breast milk; for stimulating glands; treating menstrual discomfort; and for blood purification.
In most U.S. markets, its the Pascal family of greenish to palegreen celery cultivars that weve become most accustomed to finding in the produce section. Pascal celery is larger than most other celery types, with firm, solid stalks and leafy ends. Yet even within this particular scientific type of celery (Apium graveolens var. dulce), there are many other options including Matador, Red Stalk, Tango, and Sonora. Celery actually comes in a variety of colors from sheer white to vibrant gold to rich red and deep green.
Over time, many different types of plants across the world have been referred to by the common name wild celery. Most of these plants
4. Antioxidant and AntiInflammatory Support
Celery is an important food source of conventional antioxidant nutrients, including vitamin C, betacarotene, and manganese. But its claim to fame in terms of antioxidant nutrients may very well be its phytonutrients. Many of these phytonutrients fall into the category of phenolic antioxidants and have been shown to provide antiinflammatory benefits as well. Below is a representative list of the phenolic antioxidants found in celery.
5. Digestive Tract Support
In addition to its antioxidant and antiinflammatory nutrients that help protect the digestive tract as a whole, celery contains pectinbased polysaccharides that can provide the stomach with special benefits. Weve become accustomed to thinking about polysaccharides as starchy molecules that are used by cells as a way to store up simple sugars. But there are other types of polysaccharides in plants, including the nonstarch, pectinbased polysaccharides found in celery. (Pectin is a sugarrelated molecule that is largely formed from a substance called glucuronic acid.) The pectinbased polysaccharides found in celery
6. Cardiovascular Support
Given the antioxidant and antiinflammatory properties of celery described earlier in this section, its not surprising to see the interest of researchers in the cardiovascular benefits of celery. Oxidative stress and inflammation in the bloodstream are critical problems in the development of many cardiovascular diseases, especially atherosclerosis. Unfortunately, most of the studies weve seen in this area have involved animals. Still, weve seen promising connections between the pectinbased polysaccharides in celery and decreased risk of inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Weve seen these same types of connections between celery flavonoids and decreased risk of cardiovascular inflammation.
7. Other Health Benefits
Because chronic oxidative stress and excessive inflammation are key risk factors for the development of many cancer types, its not surprising to see scientists interested in the potential benefits of celery intake for cancer prevention. While weve seen speculation about celery benefits for stomach cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer, weve been unable to find actual human research studies in any of these areas. Hopefully, future research studies will address the potential cancerrelated benefits of celery much more closely.
8. How to Select
Choose celery that looks crisp and snaps easily when pulled apart. It should be relatively tight and compact and not have stalks that splay out. The leaves should be pale to bright green in color and free from yellow or brown patches. Sometimes celery can have a condition called blackheart that is caused by insects. To check for damage, separate the stalks and look for brown or black discoloration. In addition, evaluate the celery to ensure that it does not have a seed stem, the presence of a round stem in the place of the smaller tender stalks that should reside in the center of the celery. Celery with seed stems are often more bitter in flavor.
9. How to store
We recommend a period of 57 days as a window of time for refrigeration of fresh celery. While some nutrients appear to be stable in whole, refrigerated celery for longer periods of time, several studies show greater losses of phenolic antioxidants in celery after this weeklong period. In addition, based on changes in flavonoid content, we also recommend that you wait to chop up your celery just before you are adding it to a salad or cooked dish (rather than chopping it up the night before and leaving it stored in the refrigerator overnight). If you find yourself needing to cut up celery far ahead of time, in a way that requires overnight storage in your refrigerator, we recommend that you place the cut celery into a hard plastic or glass container instead of a soft plastic bag. Since the cutting of celery will expose more of its surface area, you can avoid increased contact of more celery surfaces to the less stable materials that are found in soft plastic bags by using more sturdy containers for your cut celery.
10. Tips for Preparing Celery
To clean celery, cut off the base and leaves, then wash the leaves and stalks under running water. Cut the stalks into pieces of desired length. If the outside of the celery stalk has fibrous strings, remove them by making a thin cut into one end of the stalk and peeling away the fibers. Be sure to use the leaves
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