Celery has been cultivated and consumed as a vegetable since ancient times. It belongs to the Umbelliferae family which is known for its pleasingly fragrant plants like parsley and carrot. It is considered to be a cleansing agent and very nutritious. Celery is a highly versatile vegetable as almost all its parts can be eaten one way or another- be it the fibrous stalk, the green leaves or the seeds. Some relish it in its raw form and use it in their salads. Others like to incorporate it into their soups, stews, and roasts.
The leaves of the celery function as a fresh seasoning for soups or stews and impart a slightly spicy taste akin to black pepper. It is also readily used in its dried form. It turns into a dry herb that again can be used in myriad dishes to enhance the flavor. Fish or meat with dry celery seasoning is a popular dish in several cuisines the world over. Even its seeds are highly useful. The oil is extracted from them, which is used extensively in perfumes. Ground celery seeds also provide celery salt that again is used for seasoning for its flavorsome and spicy taste. The ancient Indian medicinal practice of Ayurveda also utilizes these seeds for their healing properties.
Nutritional Value of Celery
Celery is a highly nutritious vegetable that is mostly made up of water and dietary fiber. It is a low-calorie food that is incredibly rich in antioxidants. It is power-packed with a number of essential vitamins like vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B2, vitamin B5, vitamin B6, Folate, vitamin C, and vitamin E. Minerals like Calcium, Potassium, and Sodium are also heavily found in celeries. Below is a list of all the nutrients found in a 100g serving of celery:
- Dietary Fiber – 1.6g
- Fats – 0.1g
- Protein – 0.8g
- Carbohydrates – 3.5g
5 Health Benefits of Celery
As illustrated above, celery is packed with important vitamins and minerals making it one of the most beneficial vegetables in your kitchen. Below we detail out the specific health benefits you are set to gain by incorporating celery in your meals.
1. Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory
Celery is loaded with antioxidants that fight inflammation and cell damage known to cause early aging. It also regulates blood flow in the body and optimizes your blood pressure. Quercetin is a type of flavonoid present in celery that soothes inflammation. Preliminary research reports state the role of quercetin as an anti-cancer agent as well.
2. Storehouse of nutrients
Celery is a treasure trove of many essential nutrients your body needs daily for its ideal functioning. It contains vitamin A that is essential for stronger immunity, better eyes, healthier skin, and aging-related conditions. Celery is also vitamin K rich which enhances bone density and aids blood clotting. Optimal bone density can mean a lesser risk of suffering from fractures. If you have been prescribed blood thinners, then it is even more crucial for you to ensure that your vitamin K levels do not falter.
Celery is rich in folate. It helps cognitive development and performance. Lack of folate in the diet has been attributed to problems like memory loss and fatigue. It is also important for the development and health of fetuses.
Celery is a good source of potassium which aids in nurturing muscle mass and healthy heart functioning. It helps in managing your blood pressure to ensure no untoward fluctuations happen with it. Apart from that several other important vitamins and minerals, there are other nutrients also present like vitamin C, vitamin B, magnesium, and calcium.
3. Improves digestion
Celery is very high on dietary fiber which is directly responsible for gut and bowel health. Eating a diet rich in dietary fiber makes you fuller and makes you feel satiated for longer periods of time. This ensures that you do not frequently snack hence actively reducing your caloric intake. It also increases the size and smoothness of your stools, thus enhancing bowel health.
4. Helps with weight loss
For the most part, celery is simply water which means that a single stalk usually only contains about seven calories. Also, the fact that it contains a high amount of dietary fiber means that you feel full for a significant amount of time, reducing any unnecessary eating on your part. Both these facts help immensely in managing the calories you consume and aid in weight loss.
Research has shown that chewing food plays an important role in assuaging hunger as much as the actual food. Chewing triggers the release of satiety hormones which make sure you feel full.
5. Hydrating agent
Celery is largely composed of water, which also makes this a very refreshing snack that will keep you hydrated. Having enough hydration is essential for survival, and for the well-being of your body. Hydration also helps improve the quality of your skin and hair.
Celery Inspired Indian Recipes
The Indian cuisine records many different delicious ways of preparing this vegetable. You can reap all the amazing health benefits without compromising on taste whatsoever. The following recipes illustrate great ways to cook and consume celery.