Whatever you do, don’t let that extra nutritious celery go to waste this holiday season. Seriously, have you ever used the entire bunch? 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 nutritious, sexy, slender stalks and give them the recognition they deserve.
There has been very promising research over the past few decades that will put celery back on your menu year-round for the health benefits alone. It is one of the vegetables that naturally contains a high percentage of supplements that have great benefits for our body, and naturally occurring chemicals that can prevent cancer.
What are the health benefits of celery?
- It 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. Because of its high levels of sodium and potassium, it is an excellent post-workout drink to replace electrolytes.
- Studies have also shown that celery may help to lower cholesterol and prevent cancer by improving detoxification.
- It 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.
- It’s an easy way to reduce grains. TIP: Think outside of the box – instead of stuffing celery 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.
What is the nutrition in celery?
Two stalks of celery contain about 20 calories, 0 grams fat, 0 g cholesterol, 5 g carbohydrates, 1 g protein, 2 g dietary fiber.
How to choose and store celery:
Look for firm, tightly packed stalks with fresh, unwilted leaves and a bright green color. 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?
Try this week’s vegan recipe for a curried celery soup, using the stalks, leaves, and apples. However if you do have some leftover turkey, don’t forget to add the chopped celery when making those leftover turkey salad sandwiches.