Historically used as a topical medicine and as a tonic to clean the bloodstream, celery is a crunchy vegetable that earns its green color and nutritional value from the sun.
Surprisingly, one cup of chopped raw celery packs a nutritional punch with 5% of daily fiber, 3% of vitamin A, 33% vitamin K, and 9% of folate. Research has found that celery has the unique phytochemical apigenin, currently being studied for its anti-cancer and antioxidant properties. Celery also contains the phytochemical quercetin that helps reduce inflammation and aid in illness prevention.
It’s important to note that many phytonutrients being studied for their anticancer properties are in the initial stages of research, and while the findings are exciting as potential future agents to slow or stop the growth of tumor cells, the research is not there yet to provide specific recommendations. These studies highlight that plants are an important component to our diets and further support our recommendations to include a wide variety plant foods in our diets to ensure that we are consuming all the supportive nutrients and phytonutrients.
When purchasing celery, look for firm stalks that are light in color and without bruises, as color and durability are signs of its freshness. Look at the bottom of celery, also known as its heart; it should be white, not browning. Darker stalks contain more chlorophyll, a signal of the amount of magnesium.
Celery, along with onions and carrots, is a component of the classic mirepoix used around the world to create a flavor base for soups, sauces, and stews. Celery is a natural source of sodium and has a light, salty taste, and maintains its nutritional value when cooked.