I’m using that play on words for the title of this blog to make a point. It seems every article or book on nutrition I’ve read lately praises the health benefits of eating plants, and lots of them. But why? How are they good for us?
What’s the Scoop?
To find out, I thought I would take a closer look at the humble celery, that staple of veggie trays everywhere. Other than serving as a great scoop for other things like salad dressings, peanut butter, or hummus, celery is really an amazing health food. Pills should work as well!
According to an article by Ocean Robbins, published September 13, 2019 on the Food Revolution website (https://foodrevolution.org/blog/celery-health-benefits/), celery contains Vitamin K (a whopping 40% of daily-recommended allowance), vitamins A and C, folate, manganese, some calcium and sodium as well. (For years, I thought its only use was to burn energy by chewing. Who knew?)
But wait, there’s more! (as they say on infomercials). Celery is a great antioxidant. Atoms called “free radicals” roam throughout our bodies. These are atoms that have an outer shell (or orbit) with an uneven number of electrons. Since its outer shell lacks an electron, it will bond with other atoms to grab what it wants — another electron. This causes “oxidative stress” and oxidative stress adds to aging and leads to disease. So if a food is an “antioxidant,” that food helps protect our bodies from these free radicals and the damage oxidative stress does to us.
- Celery has epigenin, (which destroys cancer-causing free radicals) and luteolin (which retards tumor growth).
- Celery seed extracts have been known to reduce inflammation. Inflammation causes pain, so it may help with pain reduction. (I use celery seeds in my coleslaw dressing recipe.)
- Celery is a great source of insoluble fiber, which prevents constipation in most people. (Too much could cause problems in some.)
- Caution: According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), Big Ag (conventional farming industry) dumps a load of pesticide on the celery crop, which is absorbed into the plant, so you should purchase organic celery if possible.
Moral of the Story
If the lowly celery stalk can do all this, imagine what broccoli, sweet potatoes, apples, kale, beans, etc. can do for you. Yet it seems wherever there is space in my town, up rises a Burger King, Wendy’s, or Taco Bell. I heard last evening on the news, that in the future, about 50% of children will be obese. For the calories in one Big Mac, you could eat a ton veggies and load up on amazing nutrients that fight disease and slow aging at the same time.
This Halloween I felt guilty handing out candy. I wish I could have doled out little bags of celery instead.