Celery might be best known for accompanying a plate of hot wings, but this pale green vegetable is much more than a garnish. A 1-cup serving of chopped celery contains just 16 calories and no fat and is rich in certain vitamins and minerals. Celery might also prevent certain chronic health conditions. Look for light green celery that is crisp and firm because it has the most nutritional value.
Vitamin A supports a strong immune system and encourages normal reproduction. The vitamin promotes healthy eyesight, aids in cellular communication, and helps maintain the function of your heart, lungs, and kidneys. Women need 2,333 international units of vitamin A each day, and men require 3,000 international units. A 1-cup serving of celery supplies 453 international units toward these goals.
The recommended daily intake of vitamin K is 90 micrograms. The most important function of vitamin K is to clot your blood. The vitamin might also support a healthy skeletal system in elderly individuals, according to the MedlinePlus website. Celery is a notable source of vitamin K with 29.6 micrograms per 1-cup serving.
Fruits and vegetables are nutritious sources of dietary fiber, and adding celery to your diet can help you increase your intake. Men need between 30 and 38 grams of fiber each day, and women require 21 to 25 grams, the MayoClinic.com website notes. Fiber encourages healthy digestion and can help prevent constipation. Increasing your intake of fiber might also reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes. A 1-cup serving of celery contains 1.6 grams of dietary fiber.
Celery contains coumarins, which are natural compounds that help reduce the damage caused by free radicals, substances that can cause chronic health problems. Coumarins might help prevent cancer and encourage increased activity of certain white blood cells, Michael T. Murray notes in his book, “The Condensed Encyclopedia of Healing Foods.” A 2000 study published in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” reports that the lutein in celery can cut your risk of developing colon cancer. Including celery in your daily diet might also lower your blood pressure and reduce your cholesterol level. Celery might also be useful in treating migraine headaches and muscle aches.
Slice fresh celery into a tossed green salad or add it to stir-fry recipes. Stir chopped celery into a vegetable, chicken noodle, or bean soup. Celery complements the flavor of stew and chili recipes as well. Fill celery sticks with peanut or almond butter for a protein-rich snack. Serve celery sticks with low-fat ranch dressing for a nutritious side dish, or toss sliced celery with olive oil, minced onions, chopped, red bell pepper, and garlic powder for a tasty and nutrient-dense salad.
Important Notice: This article was originally published at www.healthyeating.sfgate.com by Sara Ipatenco where all credits are due.