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Did you use to hate vegetables when you were a kid and you’re not too keen on them now either, as an adult?
Even if you are not too thrilled to see carrots and broccoli on your plate, chances are you enjoy a lot more salads, sauces or soups containing celery, due to its mild and slightly tangy flavor.
Celery is extremely versatile and can be eaten either raw or boiled; both the root and the aerial part of this plant (leaves and stems) are tasty and rich in nutrients.
Celery is considered one of the world’s healthiest foods and it is well-known to people interested in healthy eating due to a fascinating myth: that the number of calories you consume by chewing and digesting it is lower than the number of calories it provides.
This fact was proven to be false, but even so, celery contains a very low amount of calories (16 calories per 100 grams) which makes it a suitable choice for people who want to lose weight.
When it comes to healthy eating, we like to think the number of calories is less important than the nutrients that a certain food provides to your organism, so let’s see what nutritional benefits you’ll enjoy by adding celery to your dishes.
This vegetable is surprisingly rich in nourishing substances, and it shouldn’t miss from a health-promoting diet plan:
Very Low Glycemic Index
The Glycemic index refers to the effect that food has on a person’s blood glucose content.
The standard value is 100, describing the effect that pure glucose has on blood sugar levels.
It is recommended to opt for foods with a low GI; these foods contain carbohydrates which break down slowly during digestion and release glucose into the bloodstream gradually without having a huge impact on blood sugar levels and causing the body to release higher amounts of insulin to counteract this effect.
Celery has an extremely low glycemic index, close to 0 according to some sources, which makes it an excellent choice for people suffering from diabetes or following a low-carb diet.
Very Rich In Vitamin K
Our bodies need vitamin K for various reasons:
- Plays a crucial role in blood clotting
- Prevents heart disease
- Helps building strong bones and maintaining bone density at older ages
- Allows vitamin D to help your body work optimally
Vitamin K deficiencies have been associated with osteoporosis, various types of cancer, tooth decay, infectious diseases, and brain health problems.
Including celery in your menu every week helps you ensure your daily dose of this overlooked nutrient which plays a vital role in maintaining good health!
High Antioxidants Content
Antioxidants are substances such as vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids (compounds found in plants) which protect our bodies from harmful molecules called free radicals.
Free radicals are considered the main culprit for cancer, blood vessel diseases, and other health conditions.
- Phenolic acids
These compounds help our bodies tackle the negative effects of free radicals originating from various sources:
- Taking medicines
- By-products of normal body processes like burning sugars and releasing digestive enzymes
- Environmental pollutants
The powerful mix of antioxidants found in celery lowers your risk of developing conditions like cancer, macular degeneration, arthritis, or Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s always recommended to take your antioxidants from fruits and vegetables rather than through dietary supplements.
Provides Dietary Fiber to Your Digestive System
100 grams of celery contain 1,6 – 1.7 grams of dietary fiber, and this vegetable represents an excellent source of soluble fiber.
Soluble fiber is made from gum, mucilage, and pectin found in plant cells; when reaching your digestive tract, soluble fibers absorb water and create a gel-like mass which prevents food from moving too fast through your digestive system.
This means that your body has more time to absorb nutrients and substances like glucose and cholesterol reach your blood stream more slowly.
Celery also contains insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stools and prevents constipation.
Nutrition experts recommend a daily intake of 38 grams of fiber for men and 25 grams for women; celery can help you ensure a good deal of the daily necessary amount of both soluble and insoluble fiber.
Potassium is another nutrient found in large amounts in celery (100 grams of celery provide 8% of the potassium daily recommended intake).
The highest quantity of potassium is found in leaves, which should be used fresh or within a day or two, otherwise, they start losing their nutritional value.
Here is why you need potassium:
- Helps regulating fluid balance because it maintains electrical impulses in your body (potassium is considered an electrolyte)
- Reduces blood pressure
- Keeps your heart in good health
- Is a very important component of cells
- Offer protection against muscle mass losses
- Preserves bone density
- Prevents the formation of kidney stones
Potassium is a vital macronutrient and a high intake has been associated with a 20% decreased risk of dying from any cause.
As a precaution, potassium is not recommended for people whose kidneys are not fully functional and cannot remove excess minerals from the bloodstream.
An Excellent Source of Molybdenum
Have you ever heard about molybdenum?
You may remember this chemical element from school when you needed to learn the periodic table for your chemistry class.
This metal has a complex biological role and many enzymes crucial for the functioning of our body depend on molybdenum.
Actually, the human body contains 0.07 mg of molybdenum for a kilogram of weight, and higher concentrations are found in tooth enamel, kidneys, and liver.
Celery (1 cup) contains 11% of the daily recommended dose of molybdenum, and the trace element’s benefits include:
- Fighting against inflammatory, fibrotic and autoimmune diseases by lowering copper levels in the body
- Preventing tooth decay by strengthening enamel
- Working as a co-factor for a series of important body enzymes mostly responsible for the metabolism of toxins
- Offering protection against cancer – when plants take less molybdenum from the soil, they contain more cancer-producing agents and this leads to a higher incidence of the disease
The recommended daily dosage of molybdenum is 75 micrograms (for people needing a 2,000-calorie diet).
Contains Folic Acid
A serving of fresh celery provides 9% of the daily recommended dose of folic acid, a B vitamin also called folate.
This vitamin occurring naturally in food in the form of folate (folic acid is the synthetic form) has a very wide range of benefits for people of all ages, both men and women:
- Women who are pregnant or want to become pregnant are recommended to take folic acid and eat foods rich in folate in order to prevent birth defects and miscarriage. Folic acid is vital for the essential bodily functions and has an important role in producing DNA
- Anemia and other conditions caused by folate deficiency are also treated by taking folic acid supplements
- Folic acid reduces homocysteine levels in the blood (a chemical associated with a higher risk for heart disease)
- This vitamin is also used to treat a series of conditions occurring at older ages (Alzheimer’s disease, memory loss, macular degeneration, hearing loss, osteoporosis, etc.)
By including celery in your diet, you will increase your intake of folate significantly and keep yourself safe from a wide range of serious health problems; folate is the third ingredient found in high quantities in this crispy vegetable after vitamin K and molybdenum.
Rich in Vitamins A and C
100 grams of celery contain 15% and 5% of the daily recommended dosage of vitamin A, respectively vitamin C.
These vitamins are absolutely necessary for the good functioning of our bodies.
Vitamin A is needed for promoting cell growth and a healthy immune system, and it is also required for good vision.
Vitamin A deficiencies are rare and occur only with people with very poor diets or digestive disorders.
Vitamin A is prescribed more often for topic use to people dealing with skin issues (acne, dry skin, wrinkles and so on).
High doses of vitamin A are not recommended and can do more harm than good, and for this reason, it’s better to get your daily dosage from natural sources.
Vitamin C is one of the best-known nutrients believed to help curing common colds.
Experts claim that vitamin C has a yet more important role in treating cardiovascular disease, eye disease, and immune system problems.
Unlike vitamin A, this nutrient is very safe and exceeding daily values is not likely to cause harm.
Adults are recommended to get nine servings of fruits and vegetables a day, but since only 10 or 20% of people do so, taking a daily supplement is also considered a safe way of meeting your daily vitamin C needs.
Rich in Male Pheromones
In the past years, celery’s popularity rose after it was discovered it may have aphrodisiac effects.
Celery is rich in androstenone and androstenol, two male pheromones also found in body fluids, which suggests that eating celery makes men more attractive.
Some scientists argue on celery’s impact on male attractiveness since androstenone might not have the desired effects on women, unlike the androstenol released in male sweat.
Celery’s reputation as an aphrodisiac dates back from the oldest times, obviously due to its phallic shape, and the plant has been used as a cure for impotence for centuries.
Moreover, it looks like substances found in celery stimulate the pituitary gland, which has an important role in releasing sexual hormones.
Consequently, it might be a very good idea to include celery in the menu the next time you cook a romantic dinner!
Celery is Made Up of 95% Water
Have you ever noticed that celery tends to wilt very quickly?
This is due to its high water content, which is also responsible for its lovely crispness.
Keep celery in the refrigerator not more than a week and sprinkle it with some water if it has wilted.
The high content of water explains it why celery is perfect for losing or maintaining weight – eating foods which are mainly made of water helps you feel full without having to consume too many calories.
A celery serving contains less than 0.3 calories of fat and only around 1 gram of protein.
Of course, it’s not recommended to use celery as your main source of nutrients, but adding this vegetable to salads, soups, and stews allows you to opt for a healthy and filling garnish that doesn’t add unwanted calories to your diet.
The high content of water also helps you prevent dehydration – the human body is made of 50-75% water and needs to get water not only from drinking, but also from foods like meat and plants.
Celery is a tasty and safe addition to your diet as long as you are not allergic to it or pregnant (aromatic oils in celery may cause contractions of the uterus).
This vegetable should be used carefully by other categories as well, such as people taking anticoagulant or diuretic medication.
Furthermore, the high content of fiber (in case you eat too much celery) may cause indigestion, bloating, and stomach pain.
Whether you prefer its leaves, stems or roots, celery blends perfectly with many foods and vegetables, and can be included in a huge number of recipes, such as salads, stews, and soups.
When was the last time you ate celery?