Celery-stalks ~ Super Vegetables
Reduce high blood pressure
Lower the risk of cancer
The ancient Romans, notorious party animals that they were, wore wreaths of celerystalk to protect them from hangovers, which may explain the practice of putting celery sticks in Bloody Marys.
While there's no evidence that donning a celery chapeau will save you from the consequences of having one too many, celery does have other healing properties.
This member of the parsley family contains compounds that may help lower blood pressure and perhaps help prevent cancer.
Celery is also a good source of insoluble fiber as well as a number of essential nutrients, including potassium, vitamin-C and calcium.
Chomp Down on Blood Pressure
Celery has been used for centuries in Asia as a folk remedy for high blood pressure.
In the United States, it took one man with high blood pressure and persistence to persuade researchers at the University of Chicago Medical Center to put this remedy to the scientific test.
The story began when a man named Mr. Lee was diagnosed with mild high blood pressure.
Rather than cutting back on salt as his doctor advised, he began eating a quarter-pound (about four celery-stalks) of celery per day.
Within a week his blood pressure had dropped from 158/96 to 118/82.
It was decided to put celery-stalks to the test.
Researchers injected test animals with a small amount of 3-n-butyl phthalide, a chemical compound that is found in celery.
Within a week, the animals' blood pressures dropped an average of 12 to 14 percent.
"Phthalide" was found to relax the muscles of the arteries that regulate blood pressure, allowing the vessels to dilate.
In addition, the chemical reduced the amount of "stress hormones," called catecholamines, in the blood.
This may be helpful because stress hormones typically raise blood pressure by causing blood vessels to constrict.
If you have high blood pressure and would like to give celery a try, try this strategy recommended by Asian folk practitioners.
Eat four to five celery-stalks every day for a week, then stop for three weeks.
Then start over and eat celery-stalks for another week.
But don't overdo it and start eating celery by the pound.
Celery does contain sodium, one stalk contains 35 milligrams, and for some people this can cause blood pressure to go up rather than down.
Eating a ton of celery can be dangerous if you have salt-sensitive hypertension.
Long, lean stalks of celery look just like bones, and they're good for them, too.
Celery is a great source of silicon, which is part of the molecular structure that gives bones their strength.
A funny bone coincidence: Bones are 23 percent sodium, and so is celery.
*** Food Alert ***
A Skin Stalker
Celery is such a sweet, succulent stalk that it has to produce its own pesticides to protect it from hungry fungi.
These compounds, called psoralens, do, in fact, protect the celery-stalks.
In the process, however, they may do us some harm.
For some people, getting psoralens in the diet (or even through the skin) can make their skin extremely sensitive to sunlight, so much so that they can get sunburns after spending even short periods of time in the sun.
If you begin having skin problems after eating celery, you may have to leave it alone.
But first, you may want to try washing the celery-stalks thoroughly before eating it.
Washing removes fungi that may form on the plant, which sometimes causes the production of psoralens.
Blocking Cancer Cells
Who'd have thought that crunching celery might help prevent cancer?
Celery contains a number of compounds that researchers believe may help prevent cancer cells from spreading.
For starters, celery contains compounds called acetylenics.
"Acetylenics" have been shown to stop the growth of tumor cells.
In addition, celery contains compounds called phenolic acids, which block the action ofhormonelike substances
Some prostaglandins are thought to encourage the growth of tumor cells.
Getting the Most
Leave the leaves.
While celery-stalks are certainly a healthful snack, it's the leaves that contain the most potassium, vitamin-C, and calcium.
But, eat it the way you like it.
While many foods lose nutrients during cooking, most of the compounds in celery hold up well during cooking.
Eating a cup of celery, raw or cooked, provides about 9 mg. of vitamin-C, 15 percent of the Daily Value (DV); 426 mg. of potassium, 12 percent of the DV; and 60 mg. of calcium, 6 percent of the DV.
Sprinkle on the Seeds.
Celery seeds, which are found in the spice section of supermarkets, provide a nutritional bonus.
One tablespoon of seeds, which can be added to soups, stews, or casseroles, contains 3 milligrams of iron, 17 percent of the DV.
Here's a great recipe for you to try.
We love this combination of super veggies.
Warm Celery and Red Pepper Salad
5 lge. stalks of celery
1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. thinly sliced roasted sweet red peppers
1 Tbs. white-wine vinegar
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. celery seeds
Pull all the leaves off the celery stalks.
Chop the leaves and set aside.
Cut the stalks into 1/8" diagonal slices.
Warm the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.
Add the celery and cook, tossing frequently, for 1 to 2 minutes, or until crisp-tender.
Add the peppers and toss to combine.
Stir in the vinegar, sugar, and celery seeds.
Cook for 10 seconds, or until the sugar dissolves.
Remove from the heat and stir in the reserved leaves.
Makes 4 servings
Total Fat 1.3 g.
Saturated Fat 0.2 g.
Cholesterol 0 mg.
Sodium 107 mg.
Dietary Fiber 0.9 g.
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