Celery nutrition facts
Exotic celery herb is known for its strong aromatic flavor that it gives to variety of popular Mediterranean cuisines. This herbaceous biennial plant has originated in Europe and now grown all across the world as a garden herb and vegetable for its leaves, shoots, roots and seeds.
Botanically, the plant belongs to the family of Apiaceae of the genus; Apium and known scientifically as Apium graveolens.
This herb is a small plant; reaches about half a meter in height and requires good moisture in the soil for growth. The edible cluster of long, dark green, somewhat hollow stalks grow upright from the crown of the plant.
Celery bears umbelliform flowers at the top of the stalk in the second year. Leaves have appearance similar to flat leaf parsley, Several cultivars exist; wild celery is the parent of the cultivated stalk celery (A. graveolens dulce) as well as leaf celery (A. graveolens secalinum) and celeriac or knob celery (A. graveolens rapaceum).
Chinese celery or oriental variety has thin, hollow, succulent stalks and has more intense flavor than the continental variety.
Celery seeds, used as spice, are similar in appearance to cumin seeds. They feature dark brown color, oblong shape with thin vertical ridges; and flavor that is strongly aromatic.
Health benefits of Celery
One of the very low calorie herbal plant, celery leaves contain only 16 cal per 100 g weight and lots of non-soluble fiber which when combined with other weight loss regimens may help to reduce body weight and blood cholesterol levels.
Celery is a functional food. Its leaves are rich source of flavonoid antioxidants such as zeaxanthin, lutein and beta- carotene, which have anti-oxidant, cancer protective, and immune-boosting functions.
It is also good source of vitamin-A. Vitamin-A and beta-carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin, and for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in flavonoids helps body to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
The herb is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic acid (provides 9% of RDA), riboflavin, niacin and vitamin-C, which are essential for optimum metabolism.
Fresh celery is an excellent source of vitamin-K, provides about 25% of DRI. Vitamin-K help increase bone mass by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain.
The herb is very good source of minerals like potassium, sodium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
Its leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils that include terpenes, mostly limonene (75 to 80%), and the sesquiterpenes like ?-selinene (10%) and humulene; but its characteristic fragrance is due to chemical compounds known as phthalides (butylphthalid and its dihydro derivate sedanenolid) in them.
Essential oil obtained from extraction of celery plant has been used in soothing remedies for nervousness, osteoarthritis, and gouty-arthritis conditions. In addition, its seeds, and root has diuretic (removes excess water from body through urine), galactogogue (help breast milk secretion), stimulant, and tonic properties.
Celery plant contains just 16 calories per 100 g leaves and along with numerous health benefiting phyto-nutrients such as flavonoids, folate, vitamin-A, vitamin-K, minerals and other vitamins, has all the characters to consider it as one of the most valuable low calorie or negative calorie weight loss functional foods.
|Principle||Nutrient Value||Percentage of RDA|
|Total Fat||1.12 g||4.5%|
|Dietary Fiber||2.10 g||5.5%|
|Pantothenic acid||0.246 mg||5%|
|Vitamin A||449 IU||15%|
|Vitamin C||3.1 mg||5%|
|Vitamin K||29.3 µg||24%|
Selection and storage
Celery also known as smallage is available in the markets during all the seasons. The tender leaves and stems may be used any time during the season. However, in order to prepare dry leaves, its top 6 to 8 inches of growth is cut during blooming.
In the store, buy fresh leaves and stems with bright green color and crispy appearance. Avoid any slump, shriveled stems as well as dry, yellow, spoiled leaves.
Its stems can stay fresh for up to a week in the refrigerator. Wrap in paper towel and place in zipped bag. Use the leaves when they are fresh to get their strong aromatic flavor.
Celeriac (Apium graveolens, Rapaceum Group) is a turnip-like root plant closely related to and has similar growth habit and general appearance of celery. The root features thick gray-brown outer coat and white aromatic flesh inside. The root celeriac, used as vegetable, is popular in the United Kingdom.
Celery seeds are used either as whole seeds or as ground and mixed with salt to prepare "celery salt".
Preparation and serving methods
Wash the leaves and stems in cold water in order to remove surface dirt, fungicide, and pesticides. Since the herb is high in fiber contents, remove its tough stem ends and chop the stem and leaves closely to cook thoroughly. Its leaf tops, root, as well as stems are being used in cooking in many European, and Asian cultures.
To prepare root celeriac, trim off top and base. Peel the outer tough skin using paring knife. Cut in to cubes or slice it and rinse soon in lemon or orange juice to prevent discoloration (oxidization).
Here are some serving tips:
Fresh leaf, root, and stalks used in salads and stews.
The herb is used as a garnish in a variety of recipes. It blends well with other vegetables like potator, carrot, beans, and poultry.
- Fresh leaf as well a root has been used in the preparation of soups and sauces.
Wild celery has been used in complementary medicines to reduce blood pressure, to relieve indigestion and as an anti-inflammatory agent. It also used as a diuretic to remove excess water from the body.
The essential oils in seeds, herb, and root have use as carminative, emmenagogue, galactogogue (help breast milk secretion), nervous system ailments such as headache and nervous irritability.
- The herb has also been claimed useful in rheumatism and gouty conditions.
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