Let’s imagine a scenario. You have been healthy for years and now entering into the peak age where your health is supposed to be the best. Suddenly, you start countering issues such as muscle pain, backaches, headaches, or joint pain. And this happens without any reason. You think you have been eating right, doing exercises, making progress in your workout. But what is the reason for such weakness? You try to find a good doctor and start the medicine. Things remain ok until you take those pills but worsen after. And one day, you decide to change your diet. And everything comes back to normal.
Well, that is the moment when you realize the importance of a good diet.
These situations are common in many parts of the world. Having a good diet goes hand in hand with good fitness, physical activities and a healthy way of living. When it comes to vegetables, you have tons of options to choose from. The green leafy vegetables especially provide some great benefits that we are not able to appreciate.
A word on green leaf vegetables
Green leafy vegetables such as celery are packed with a multitude of important as well as powerful nutrients. These are very critical for the good health of our body. And to your surprise, these are available all around the year. You don’t have to wait for the season to arrive just as in the case of fruits. These can be easily used in any food preparation including meals, salads, diet food, etc. they can be used as herbs and can be used for garnishing as well. Many people also use them in hot and cold beverages. If you wish to reap the maximum benefits from them, you should have them in a variety of combinations along with other vegetables.
In this article, we shall discuss the importance, benefits and some amazing facts about a popular and easy-to-digest green herb- celery. Read on to enlighten your senses.
Coming from the popular parsley family, celery is a herbaceous plant. Its scientific name is Apium Graveolens. It is popular as a vegetable in many parts of the world. It is a very healthy cooking meal and can be had as a full diet and even as a low-carb diet. Celery also has uses as a popular flavoring agent in a variety of casseroles, soups and stocks. In the US, the vegetable serves as a whole. People also eat celery as spreads or dips. An appetizer in a salad is an important role of celery in many vegan diets. The fruit of the vegetable is tiny resembling seeds. These are identical to plants in taste. The aroma and freshness of celery seeds make it a worthy addition in salads and dishes as a brilliant seasoning ingredient.
Origin and history
The celery is native to the Mediterranean areas and belongs to the areas of the Middle East. In history, Greeks and Romans made great use of it as a flavoring agent. Ancient Chinese used the vegetable as good medicine and for herbal remedies. The ancient form of celery is identical to smallage, which is also called wild celery. The large, fleshy and upright leaves came into existence with great use in the 18th century. Many countries are now harvesting and breeding celery with less or no stringiness than was its original character in ancient times.
Benefits of celery
As a normal green vegetable, celery has plenty of uses and benefits to cherish you.
A great source of antioxidants
When it comes to filling up our body with good antioxidants, celery does wonder. The antioxidants it provides are specific for protecting our cells, blood vessels and various organs from oxidative damage. Oxidative damage is the process of oxidation in our bodies. It is the formation or release of extra toxic substances emerging from the chemical reaction in our body that products energy.
Celery is also full of beta carotene, vitamin C content and flavonoids. There are around 12 antioxidants that serve as an extra nutritional value to the meals. A single stalk has all of the 12 antioxidants which shows the importance of having even a little bit of this magical green leafy vegetable. Celery is also a great source of phytonutrients. These can help in the reduction of inflammation in the digestive organs of our body. It also reduces inflammation in our cells and digestive tract.
Celery helps in reducing inflammation
Many chronic types of inflaming can lead to the onset of various diseases such as osteoporosis or arthritis. The seeds of celery and even the leaves or roots have around 25 types of compounds that act as potential anti-inflammatory nutrition. These offer protection against inflammation in our bodies. These also reduce the occurrence of inflammation and help avoid it to occur from the start.
Help in digestion
Celery is rich in fiber. Hence it helps in digestion. Also, its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content can provide good protection to our entire digestion system. Celery also shows spectacular benefits for our stomach flu as it helps it digest the food with proper enzymes while reducing the extra accumulation of acid in the stomach.
Celery is also rich in polysaccharides. It contains specific pectin-based polysaccharides along with a compound called apiuman. This together works to reduce the symptoms of stomach ulcers. They also help in enhancing the health of the inner lining of our stomach. They also find good use in the modulation of stomach secretions, studies suggest.
Another important thing about the green veggie is that it’s high in water content. If statistics are to be believed, it has 95 percent of water and a huge amount of soluble as well as insoluble fiber. This altogether is miraculous for our digestive system. A cup of celery sticks has 5 grams of dietary fiber content which is more than sufficient for our daily consumption to stay on a healthy track.
Has low glycemic index
One might think that since celery has so many good nutrients, it might have a high glycemic index. Such is not the case. Glycemic index is simply the amount of effect a vegetable has on our blood sugar level.
Celery is high in vitamin content, having vitamin C, A and K. it is also rich in minerals and potassium. It also provides an ample amount of folate means iron to our body. Iron helps in the formation of cells and antigens in our system. Celery is low in sodium. And then, it’s low in glycemic index. It has low sugar and hence, it has slow and steady effects on our blood sugar level. This also means that people with sugar or Diabetes can easily include celery in their diet regime without any worries.
Used as a natural alkalizing agent
An alkalizing agent is a substance or a liquid that neutralizes the extra amount of acid in our body. These are very useful in digestive problems. Celery is a natural alkalizing agent given to us by nature. It has minerals such as sodium, iron and magnesium. Magnesium is a good neutralizing agent, also found in several over-the-counter anti-acid syrups. Hence, celery can help in providing a neutralizing effect in acidic foods. Besides, the minerals it has been very much useful in performing essential body functions.
How to look for the best celery
There are many celery varieties available in the market. A general rule is to always look for the freshest one. You should keep an eye for celery that has upright and a bit sturdy stalks. Here is a good way to find the best one. Try snapping a stalk when you buy. The stalks should snap easily when you pull them. If they appear to be bendy, then it’s not a really fresh bunch.
Also, you should try looking for celery with fresh leaves. This means that the leaves should be crisp and have ranged in color. They can be from pale to bright green. Try not to buy celery having brown patches on it. It might be from a plant having a disease.
Ideal way of cooking
When you buy the celery, you should chop it right before cooking or adding it to the main meal, or mixing with other ingredients. Never store celery after chopping as it will eradicate its nutrients. Facts say that celery loses nutrients even in an hour or so. Hence, it’s better to chop it when you are planning to use it.
A good way to use celery is to steam it. This helps retain the flavor and most of the nutrients of the vegetable will stay in intake. When you buy celery, you should not store it for more than a week. It is best to eat it within 5 to 6 days of buying. This will help you in consuming its maximum nutrients and enjoying its benefits.
Many people discard the leaves of the celery. In reality, they have as much nutritional value as other parts of celery. Try not to discard the leaves. The leaves contain a maximum amount of calcium, vitamin C, vitamin K and potassium. Leaves might not be good for storing for a long time. Hence, it’s better to consume them after one or two days of purchase.
A good way to use celery is to cook or use or eat it as quickly as possible. The more you wait, the more nutritional value it will lose due to atmospheric conditions and lack of nutrients by soil.
Always remember that celery is a great nutritional vegetable. One can easily have it raw also. Cooking it is easy too. One can even add it to smoothies, juices, soups and beverages. You can even bake celery or steam it to experiment with some better ideal recipes.
Some amazing facts about celery
Lastly, we would love to shed some light on few amazing fun facts about celery.
- Did you know that the cultivation of celery began 3000 years ago? It was first grown, cultivated and used in the Mediterranean region of the world
- Humans began using celery in the 16th century as regular food. It was in Italy that people started taking it as a nutritional meal.
- Celery got its first mention in the areas of France in 1623.
- There is a month dedicated to celery and celery cultivation. April is the official National Fresh Celery Month and is actually celebrated in different parts of the world.
- Celery is not one of the tallest vegetables but it has adequate height. The longest celery plant can be 3.3 feet long.
- People began using celery as a medical treatment initially. Some tribes even used it as a great treatment option for toothache, hypertension, arthritis, rheumatism, insomnia and anxiety. It is also a good blood purifier.
- Ancient Romans used to make medicines from celery and use it in the form of aphrodisiac.
- In ancient times, it was used in the form of a bouquet. In Greece, bouquet was a symbol of honor given to performers of athletic games.
- In 1856, celery saw its first introduction in America. George Taylor, a Scotsman brought the vegetable to Kalamazoo, Michigan.
- There is a specific museum dedicated to celery. It’s in Portage, Michigan.
As you can easily realize, there are ample benefits of having celery or adding it to your diet. If you want to take supplements or wish to go for a good dosage of nutrition, you can skip that and start adding celery to your diet. This is one vegetable which we don’t use much. Hence, it is all set to amaze you with its ample benefits. If you are afraid of the taste or something, you can always compliment it with other meals. You can have it in salads, soups, or stir-fries. add it to sandwiches or burgers as good toppings, also cook it or have it raw.
In the end, always remember that no one wants to take medicines in his or her life. But if you are committed to being healthy, you need to make some good lifestyle changes. Adding vegetables such as celery to your diet can help you achieve that. And keep having those on regular basis. They slowly fill up the nutritional value of your body. They won’t be that instant, but the effect will be long-lasting and you will remain healthy for a longer period.