Karen Schuppert

Karen Schuppert

I was dining with a friend the other day who told me she eats two celery stalks before every meal. Whether in soups, vegetable trays, topped with peanut butter or added to a dish, most people have consumed celery in one way, shape or form. That’s a good thing because the benefits of celery — not to mention celery seed — begin with it being an excellent source of antioxidants and beneficial enzymes, in addition to vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate and vitamin B6. My friend was consuming it for these benefits and more.

I recently posted on Facebook a short bullet list of the many health properties organic celery has to offer. Here is an expanded version accompanied by one of my favorite fall recipes.

Lowers cholesterol level:

  • A research study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests that eating celery every day may reduce artery-clogging cholesterol (LDL.) Less cholesterol means less plaque on the artery walls and a general improvement in heart health. The fiber that is found in it also works to scrape the cholesterol out of the bloodstream and eliminate it from the body with regular bowel movements, further boosting heart health.

Reduces blood pressure:

  • Celery contains phthalides, which are organic chemical compounds that can lower the level of stress hormones in your blood. It also contains potassium, which helps in reducing blood pressure. When blood pressure is reduced, it puts less stress on the entire cardiovascular system and reduces the chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke.

Lowers arthritis pain:

  • Celery is great for people suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. It has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and pain around the joints. It also acts as a diuretic, which helps remove uric acid crystals that build up around the body’s joints that can add to the pain and discomfort.

— Boosts immune system: Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, celery greatly boosts the immune system and makes it more active and efficient. Eating this vitamin C rich vegetable regularly can reduce your risk of catching a common cold, as well as protect you against a variety of other diseases.

— Reduces asthma symptoms: Vitamin C present in celery prevents free radical damage and also has anti-inflammatory properties that lessen the severity of inflammatory conditions like asthma.

— Regulates fluid balance: Celery is rich in both sodium and potassium, both of which help regulate the fluid balance in the body. Because celery acts as a diuretic, the seeds are also beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections in women.

— Relieves migraines: The presence of coumarins in celery can provide relief from migraines. “Coumarins are a group of important natural compounds that have been found to have multi-biological activities such as anti-HIV, anti-tumor, anti-hypertension, anti-osteoporosis, pain relief, and preventing asthma and antisepsis,” says Ray Sahelian, M.D. The exact mechanism isn’t completely understood, but research points to a suppression of nitric oxide release in the brain, which can cause headaches and migraines.

— Detoxifies the body: It acts as an antioxidant, and all parts of celery, including the seeds, roots, and leaves can be used. Eating this vegetable regularly helps to avoid diseases of the kidney, pancreas, liver, and gallbladder.

— Controls diabetes: Celery leaves are also eaten for treating various diabetic conditions. This is because of their high fiber content, which has been shown to help manage diabetic symptoms

— Nerve tonic: Celery contains high calcium and due to this, it is commonly used to calm the nerves.

— Weight loss: Eating stalks or drinking celery juice before meals may help reduce your weight. Celery is very low in calories and is also filling due to its high fiber content. Therefore, it can help reduce the tendency to overeat and help you keep the weight down without feeling hungry all the time.

Mulligatawny Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

1 tablespoon butter

1 medium onion, chopped

1 cup organic celery, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 apples, peeled and chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

3 tablespoons flour or arrowroot (GF)

2 tablespoons curry powder

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

8 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1/2 cup basmati rice

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breast, chopped (omit if vegetarian)

3/4 cup organic coconut milk

Salt and pepper

Possible Garnishes: Cilantro and sliced almonds

Heat the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, apples and ginger. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mix in the flour, curry powder and cayenne pepper. Stir another 3-5 minutes, then add the stock, rice, chopped chicken, and 1 teaspoon salt.

Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender and the chicken has cooked through.

Add the coconut milk. Salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with toasted almonds and/or cilantro.

*Make sure to purchase organic celery, as conventional is laden with pesticides. It’s one of the items from the environmental Working Group’s “Dirty Dozen” list.

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