Food & Fitness Friday: Celery
Happy Food & Fitness Friday!
This week’s nutrient powerhouse is the acclaimed celery. I’m sure you’ve noticed that celery is having a banner year with the rise of celery juice’s popularity. Yes, the juice is amazing, but don’t stop there! This plant has so much more to offer.
Here are my five favorite things about this super stalk:
1. Celery is a great source of important antioxidants.
Antioxidants protect cells, blood vessels, and organs from oxidative damage.
Celery contains vitamin C, beta carotene, and flavonoids, but there are at least 12 additional kinds of antioxidant nutrients found in a single stalk. It’s also a wonderful source of phytonutrients, which have been shown to reduce instances of inflammation in the digestive tract, cells, blood vessels, and organs.
2. Celery reduces inflammation.
Chronic inflammation has been linked to many illnesses, including arthritis and osteoporosis. Celery and celery seeds have approximately 25 anti-inflammatory compounds that can offer protection against inflammation in the body.
3. Celery supports digestion.
While its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients offer protection to the entire digestive tract, celery may offer special benefits to the stomach.
Pectin-based polysaccharides in celery, including a compound known as apiuman, have been shown to decrease instances of stomach ulcers, improve the lining of the stomach, and modulate stomach secretions in animal studies.
And then there’s the high water content of celery — almost 95 percent — plus generous amounts of soluble and insoluble fiber. All of those support a healthy digestive tract and keep you regular. One cup of celery sticks has 5 grams of dietary fiber
4. Celery is rich in vitamins and minerals with a low glycemic index.
You’ll enjoy vitamins A, K, and C, plus minerals like potassium and folate when you eat celery. It’s also low in sodium. Plus, it’s low on the glycemic index, meaning it has a slow, steady effect on your blood sugar.
5. Celery has an alkalizing effect.
With minerals like magnesium, iron, and sodium, celery can have a neutralizing effect on acidic foods — not to mention the fact that these minerals are necessary for essential bodily functions.
Tips for Buying and Storing Celery:
Sturdy stalks. Look for celery that has sturdy, upright stalks. They should snap easily when you pull them, not bend.
Crisp leaves. Leaves should be crisp and fresh, ranging in color from pale to bright green. Avoid celery with yellow or brown patches.
Wait to chop. Chop celery just before cooking or serving to maintain nutrients. Even celery that has been chopped and stored for just a few hours will lose nutrients.
Steam it. Steamed celery will retain flavor and almost all of its nutrients.
Eat in five to seven days. Eat fresh celery within five to seven days to enjoy its maximum nutritional benefits.
Eat the leaves. Don’t discard the leaves — that’s where celery has the most calcium, potassium, and vitamin C. But because they don’t store well, consume celery leaves within a day or two of purchase.
In addition to its many health benefits, celery is a versatile veggie. You can eat it raw or cooked, and it makes a great addition to smoothies, stir-fries, soups, and juices. Celery can also be steamed or baked.
Looking for a way to enjoy celery this weekend? Try my Cream of Celery Soup!
CREAM OF CELERY SOUP
1 bunch celery (about 6 cups)
1 sweet yellow onion
1 cup coconut milk
2 cups veggie broth
1/2 teaspoon dill
pinch of sea salt
Dice celery and onion.
Add all ingredients to a big pot and simmer for 30 minutes and then blend soup using an immersion blender or a blender. Keep immersion blender submerged to avoid hot soup splattering. Blend until creamy. (Or you can transfer to a blender in small batches to puree. Just be extra careful and have the lid slightly open so steam can escape. You can let the soup cool down first for safer blending.)
Ladle up friends!
the little chef with the big heart <3