Celery Boring — Not!!
Celery is exciting and nutritious. You know how they say that everything cycles…like fashion and sports teams? Well it’s high time for celery to make a come back. Known to some as the stir stick in a Bloody Mary, a part of your Thanksgiving stuffing, or something to add to your tuna salad, I say let’s re-think this superstar veggie. It’s time to take a closer look at these sexy slender stalks and give them the recognition they deserve.
Historically celery has always been a dieters dream, because of its low caloric value. Remember the theory that it was a “negative food”, suggesting that the amount of calories consumed was less than the number of calories used to digest it? Well friends that was indeed a myth. However, because of that very bulk it can certainly help fill you up by adding bulk and fiber to your diet.
There has been very promising research over the past few decades that will put celery back on your menu for the nutrition and health benefits alone. It is one of the vegetables that contain a high percentage of supplements that have great benefits for our body, and naturally occurring chemicals that can prevent cancer.
- Celery is high in minerals, and vitamins A, B, C, K, folate, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus.
- The high water content in celery makes it ideal for vegetable juicing. TIP: Juice with carrot and apple for a delicious treat.
- Celery is the best vegetable source of naturally occurring sodium.
- Celery is a natural diuretic and when taken in conjunction with a person using high blood pressure medication it can actually improve the effectiveness of the medication. This can have the added benefit of them being able to reduce the level of medication taken.
- Followers of Traditional Chinese Medicine have been using celery for centuries to reduce blood pressure levels, and it is said to calm nerves.
- An easy way to reduce grains. TIP: Think outside of the box – besides stuffing with peanut butter, use flavored cream cheese or hummus; or make a low fat version with non-fat yogurt, chives, and cucumber or dill. Top with sliced black olives.
Celery keeps for weeks, but a lot of drooping stalks still get thrown away. TIP: Wrap a damp paper towel around the bunch before storing in the crisper, or try aluminum foil. Chop in large chunks and freeze in a freezer bag to add to soups and stews when water content doesn’t make a difference. Don’t ever throw away those tender inner stalks or the leaves. They are the best part! Sliced thin they may just be the ingredient you didn’t know your salad was missing. Think Waldorf, with apples, raisins, and walnuts. How about a celery leaf pesto? Be brave, and try a ratatouille, or a Cajun creole. And then of course there are the traditional soups, stews, and one of my personal favorites – stir fry.
Celery $UPER $AVER TIP: Mix chunks in with leftover rice and sprinkle with toasted nuts as an excellent hot or cold salad or side.
Celery Nutrition Profile (2 stalks)
20 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 g cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrate, 1 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber
What? Calories in celery is only 20?! Celery is nutritious and low calorie, so Happy Crunching.
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WITH THESE NUTRITION TIPS
Lowering your cholesterol naturally through diet and nutrition doesn’t have to be hard. Can a bowl of oatmeal help lower your cholesterol? How about a handful of walnuts or some fresh vegetables sautéed in olive oil and garlic? The answer is YES. A few simple tips and tweaks to your diet may be enough to lower your cholesterol to a healthy level and help you stay off medications. At any rate you will start to see your numbers go down.
A low-cholesterol diet also is one of the best ways to improve heart health. In fact studies show you can slash your bad cholesterol by as much as 10% to 20% by changing your diet. The secret? Follow a diet rich in healthy fats like vegetable oils and fish, and avoid foods high in saturated fats and trans fats. Read more to find out how nutrition can be a key in keeping your cholesterol low….
Start your day with Oatmeal – Oatmeal contains soluble fiber, which reduces your low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol. Use low-fat milk, top with nuts or berries. TIP: Try adding a small amount of peanut butter – delicious!
Eat more garlic – Garlic impedes the ability to make cholesterol as well as having immune stimulating properties. TIP: First crush or chop the garlic in small pieces and let it rest for a few minutes to release the potent allium. Sauté with veggies, add to soups and sauces, or roast and add to mashed potatoes.
Consider adding plant sterols – Plant sterols and stanols are substances that have powerful cholesterol-lowering properties, and occur naturally in small amounts in many grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, and seeds. Manufacturers have started adding them to foods such as margarine spreads, orange juice, cereals, and yogurt drinks.
Add fish and omega-3 fatty acids to your diet – Fatty fish is heart healthy because of its high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, which can also reduce your blood pressure and risk of developing. TIP: You should bake or grill the fish to avoid adding unhealthy fats. If you don’t like fish, you can also get small amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from foods like ground flaxseed or canola oil. You can take an omega-3 or fish oil supplement to get some of the benefits, but you won’t get other nutrients in fish, like selenium.
Go nuts! – Walnuts, almonds and other nuts can reduce blood cholesterol. Rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, walnuts also help keep blood vessels healthy. According to the Food and Drug Administration, eating about a handful (1.5 ounces, or 42.5 grams) a day of most nuts, such as walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts, or pecans, may also reduce your risk of heart disease.
Stick with olive oil – It can lower your “bad” (LDL) cholesterol but leave your “good” (HDL) cholesterol untouched. The FDA recommends using about 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day in place of other fats in your diet to get its heart-healthy benefits. Besides sautéing your favorite veggies, you can use olive oil as a substitute for butter when basting meat or as a dip for bread. TIP: Look for one of those great stainless steel misters to save calories. Spritz on salads and veggies for the grill.
Spice it up – Instead of relying on butter, sour cream, and other fatty additives for flavoring go to your spice cabinet, or use fresh herbs. Using a small amount of oregano, basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme, cilantro, coriander, or cumin can go a long ways towards boosting flavor.
HOMEWORK: Break out the oatmeal! Avoid high fat dairy products, fatty meats, fried foods, saturated fats, and highly processed foods, such as lunchmeats. Try this delicious recipe for Pasta Primavera from The Food Network’s Ellie Krieger, and you will be on your way to lowering your cholesterol naturally.
Having a healthy approach to nutrition and lifestyle is a basic component of preventative medicine; and also can be effective in corrective medicine for many common health problems. Always check with your physician before beginning a new diet, or discontinuing medications.
What is cholesterol? Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is made in the body by the liver. Cholesterol forms part of every cell in the body and serves many vital functions.
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