By: Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
As a part of the Apiaceae family, the celery plant is believed by some to be originally from the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa. Woven garlands of wild celery have been found within ancient Egyptian tombs. The Greeks considered celery a holy plant, and used it in the early Olympic Games. In the 1500’s AD, celery is thought to have been grown throughout much of northern Europe.
Traditionally eaten as a vegetable in many different types of cultures and recipes worldwide, celery seeds have been used historically as a medicine to help people calm their nerves, treat the common cold, and increase sex drive.
Regardless of where celery first originated, it’s best to remember that celery is among the most powerful superfoods you can eat!
Top 10 Health Benefits
1) Skin & Hair
Celery is packed with an abundant amount of silica, which is known to help strengthen hair and fingernails, as well as tighten and moisturize your skin.
2) Weight Loss
Eating sticks of celery is known to help speed up your metabolism and burn calories. Certain plant proteins in celery can also help control your hunger, to keep you from the late night fridge runs. Additionally, celery contains just six calories per stalk.
3) Antioxidant & Cancer Prevention
Don’t forget the celery leaves! This leafy, darker green part of the plant contains beneficial flavonoids such as lutein & beta-carotene, which are known to help prevent cancer.
4) Improve Immune System
Celery is rich in vitamin C, which helps your body’s natural defense system in the fight against free radicals that can cause you to get sick.
5) Cardiovascular: Reduce Blood Pressure
Eat celery for heart health! Celery can help to decrease blood viscosity and improve circulation. Celery contains phthalide, an isoflavone, which can increase the overall diameter and elasticity of blood vessels to keep your blood flowing freely. Eating celery regularly can actually transform excess cholesterol into bile acids.
6) Natural Laxative
Building off the last point, this increase in bile acids can then help to expel waste more easily, thus reducing constipation.
7) Reduces Inflammation
Celery contains another beneficial flavonoid called luteolin. Studies show that luteolin is able to shut down the production of a substance called interleukin-6 (IL-6), in turn significantly reducing inflammation.
8) Migraines & Pain Relief
Celery seed extract has been used for thousands of years to help relieve pain. This natural remedy has given many pain relief from numerous ailments, including migraines, arthritis, and gout.
9) Respiratory Problems
Celery is known to possess certain antispasmodic properties which help to suppress muscle spasms. Because of this beneficial trait, eating celery can help with respiratory symptoms from illnesses such as asthma, tuberculosis, and bronchitis.
10) Improved Sex Life
The andosterone in celery helps to increase male pheromones, making men more desirable to their female counterparts! This can help women “get in the mood” and increase the overall experience for both partners.
Best to Choose Organic
As explained in my article, “Organic Fruits and Vegetables Are Better for Your Health”, I always recommend purchasing organic fruits and vegetables when available in your local region. Make sure the celery you eat is organic. According to the Environmental Working Group’s Dirty Dozen, celery is the number four most prone non-organic fruit and/or vegetable to contain mass amounts of pesticide residue.
Grow Your Own Organic Celery
Rather than shopping at the local grocer, you can grow your own organic celery right in the garden! Follow these tips for best results.
- Needed: Rich soil, lots of water, cool to moderate temperatures (or protection from hot sun)
- Sprouting: Soak the seeds overnight. Use a mixture of half compost and half sand, placing seeds 1” apart, and cover with ½” of sand and burlap. Place the seeds into a sunny area, but out of direct sunlight, best at around 70 degrees F.
- Planting: Once sprouted and reaching about 2-3” tall, you can then transplant the seedlings into individual pots. Once they grow to 6” tall, you can then transplant them to your garden. It’s best to plant them at least 6 inches apart, and no deeper than how they grew in the pots. Several inches of mulch will help to protect the celery plants, while giving them the nutrients they need to grow strong!
To grow great organic vegetables in limited space, I recommend Terracotta Composting 50-Plant Garden Tower. This unique self-contained vertical garden allows anyone to turn their waste kitchen scraps into an abundant organic veggie harvest.
For more detailed instructions and tips on best practices for harvesting, visit this article on OrganicGardening.com.
My Favorite Quick Celery Recipe: Braised Celery
2 bunches of organic celery
1 tablespoon of butter or olive oil
Pinch of salt and pepper
Cut up celery into chunks. Heat up the olive oil or butter in a pan. Season the celery and cook it up on medium heat for approximately 10-15 minutes, until slightly browned.