Whilst Apples generally come away with the most health awards, in my opinion celery is somewhat uncelebrated and so easily features on my list of top ten vegetables foods. But once you take a quick look at its endless list of health and nutritional benefits hopefully it will take its rightful place in your dietary plan.
When buying celery, the darker the colour the stronger the flavour. Use the outer stems for stock, soups and juicing and save the inner stalks for eating raw or in salads. You can use the leaves for a garnish or again in a salad – it can easily take the place of parsley or even coriander leaves. Juicing is also an excellent way of taking in the benefits of celery.
I often substitute some if not all of the onion in a recipe with celery since onion can imbalance acid levels and cause wind. So in soups and sauce bases I’ll chop the celery finely and cook it out the same way as I would an onion. It also eliminates any chance of repeating on you or smelling!
So why add celery to your diet?
If you’re watching your weight then celery should become your BFF. At just 10 calories per stalk celery is a great choice to add to your snack box, it’s full of bite, crisp and coolness with strong flavours, so enjoy just as it comes, or add to your salads or stir fries. I rather like it with walnuts and apple mixed with creme fraiche or mayo – not quite a Waldorf but almost there.
If you suffer from joint pains and inflammatory conditions, then eating celery will bring much needed relief. It contains a chemical known as polyacetylene that provides super pain-relief for many types of inflammation such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, asthma and bronchitis.
Celery is also stress busting – yes you did read correctly the first time. The valuable minerals such as magnesium and essential oils in celery help to sooth the nervous system. It may also improve your sleep pattern if eaten at night. If you’ve got a Vita Mix or Nutra-bullet food processor then make yourself a green health drink for the evening 45 minutes before bed – you’ll be providing excellent nourishment for the body throughout the night that will be absorbed by the blood cells and nervous system to good effect. Celery juice acts as the perfect post-workout tonic as it replaces lost electrolytes and rehydrates the body with its rich minerals.
Acidity and Digestive aid
Celery helps to regulate the body’s alkaline balance and cleans the digestive system thus protecting you from problems such as acid reflux. Because of its high water content and insoluble fibre it also helps the passage of stools (so not recommended if you have diarrhoea already).
Last but certainly not least, celery is known to contain at least eight groups of anti-cancer compounds. Among them are the Acetylenics, Coumarins and Phenolic acids, and that have been shown to stop the growth of tumour cells and help prevent free radicals from damaging new cells.
Always choose green celery where possible for its higher chlorophyll content. Ensure that the ribs are still firm, not limp. Celery should be stored in the fridge or cold room, in a sealed container or wrap in a plastic bag. If your celery has wilted, sprinkle it with a little water and put it in the refrigerator for a few hours. It will regain its crispness.
For further information about eating healthily, join us on our One Day Nutritional Cookery Class.
Kumud Gandhi is a Nutritional Food Scientist bestselling Author, Broadcaster, and Keynote Speaker on the subject of nutritional health for productivity & performance in the workplace. In 2010 Kumud founded ‘The Cooking Academy’ a cookery school that focusses on cooking for nutritional health and wellbeing. Kumud regularly presents to international audiences on a variety of topics such as ‘Eating for Immunity and a Lifetime of Wellness’. She is an expert in the field of Wellness in the Workplace and works with organizations to create transformational change in employee health & well-being through nutrition and health coaching.