For a long time, celery eked out its existence as a mere soup vegetable. However, we now know its true potential. Celery (also white celery or celery sticks) is particularly popular at the moment. It can be prepared as a raw food snack, celery juice, steamed as a vegetable, or baked out of the oven. At the same time, celery is an ancient medicinal plant that is used in naturopathy for rheumatic complaints or high blood pressure.
Celery – bulb, leaf, and celery stalk
Celery (Apium) is a genus of plants that includes 30 species. However, celery (Apium graveolens) in particular is used in the kitchen and in medicine.
The types of celery known to us are all varieties of real celery:
- celery root
- Pickled celery (also called celery or stick celery)
- cut celery
Celeriac is characterized by its large, gnarled bulb. It is mainly finely grated for salads, chopped up as a soup ingredient, or sliced as a so-called “celery schnitzel” and fried in a pan.
The celery has only a small tuber but long, fleshy petioles. In order to achieve the “pale” color of the celery, i.e. to prevent the green coloration, the plants are piled up with soil or wrapped in dark foil. The lack of light now affects the formation of chlorophyll – similar to white asparagus. But there have long been varieties whose noble pallor is cultivated.
The bulb of the cut celery is also hardly pronounced. However, this type of celery does not have particularly fleshy stalks. Therefore, its leaves, which are visually reminiscent of parsley, are used as a fine herb.
So while today we mainly store celery in the kitchen, it used to be an important part of the medicine chest as well.
Medicinal plant celery
In ancient Egypt, for example, the ancestor of today’s celery variety – the wild celery – was already around 1200 BC. used as a medicinal plant against rheumatic complaints. In Traditional Chinese Medicine ( TCM ), on the other hand, celery juice is considered a remedy for high blood pressure. And in Ayurveda, celery has long been used to treat digestive disorders and neurological complaints of old age.
All of this is no wonder since celery – and here in particular celery or celery stalks – contains an effective mixture of special plant substances, so it could still be used today by knowledgeable consumers as a targeted remedy, for example against gout.
Celery – the vegetable against gout and rheumatism
What is particularly noteworthy about celery is its high potassium content, which is responsible for one of the most important medicinal effects of celery, namely its diuretic effect. Thorough drainage is extremely helpful, especially in the case of gout and rheumatism, so that the corresponding waste products (e.g. uric acid) can be excreted more easily. 100 g of fresh celery already contains 344 mg of potassium and thus 10 percent of the recommended daily dose of potassium. An anti-inflammatory effect is also welcome in rheumatic diseases – and celery can also serve with one.
Celery has anti-inflammatory properties
Celery is an excellent source of antioxidants. In addition to antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C and beta-carotene), celery also contains significant amounts of polyphenols. These are secondary plant substances that also have a strong antioxidant effect. Examples include phenolic acids, flavonoids, phytosterols, and furocoumarins.
For example, according to epidemiological studies, a higher intake of flavonoids is associated with a lower risk of various diseases, including those associated with inflammatory processes. Using more than 5,000 subjects, Chinese researchers from Harbin Medical University found that celery is one of the main food sources of flavonoids, after apples and potatoes.
Gregory Hostetler’s team at the Ohio State University in Columbus showed in a study (3) that celery stalk extracts can reduce oxidative damage in body tissue. Furthermore, it has been proven that celery extract can prevent the risk of inflammatory reactions in both the digestive tract and the blood vessels.
Celery protects the stomach
As an antioxidant, celery protects the digestive tract. However, the polysaccharides it contains appear to be particularly protective of the stomach. dr Al-Howiriny from the Department of Pharmacognosy at King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and his research team found out in a study that celery extract can care for the gastric mucosa, prevent stomach ulcers and regulate gastric acid formation.
The scientists attribute these results to the fact that celery suppresses the increased production of gastric acid through its antioxidant potential. In addition, celery has an enormously high base potential. Therefore, if you have a stomach ailment and have celery in the house, you can make celery tea. This tea is extremely alkaline and helps to neutralize excess stomach acid.
- 1 handful of celery sticks (white celery)
- 1 liter of water
Preparation and application:
Use fresh celery sticks, wash them well, and then chop them up.
Boil the chopped celery in a liter of water and let the tea steep, covered, for five minutes.
Then strain and drink the tea lukewarm and unsweetened after the meal.
Celery strengthens the cardiovascular system
Given celery’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, it’s not surprising that many researchers are interested in its cardiovascular benefits. Oxidative stress and inflammation of the blood vessels set the tone in many cardiovascular diseases, especially in the case of arteriosclerosis (= “hardening of the arteries”).
Scientists have discovered that the polysaccharides in celery can reduce the risk of inflammation in the cardiovascular system. Celery extract has also been shown to lower cholesterol levels, thereby contributing to heart health ( 9Trusted Source ). Celery also contains phthalide, a phytochemical that supports the cardiovascular system by relaxing the smooth muscles of the blood vessels. As a result, the blood vessels dilate and the blood pressure can drop. At the same time, celery has a certain anti-cancer effect:
Celery has anti-cancer properties
Vegetables and herbs from the Umbelliferae family, which includes celery, have a high content of apigenin, a light yellow plant pigment from the flavone group. Studies have shown that apigenin can stop many cancer cells (especially those of the breast, colon, and lungs) from multiplying and slow the spread of inflammation.
Prof. Salman Hyder and his team from the University of Missouri have shown that apigenin not only stops the progression of breast cancer but can even shrink tumors. The scientists found that apigenin killed the cancer cells because the blood vessels were no longer supplying them with nutrients.
In another study, the American cancer research institute National Cancer Institute (NCI) found that celery is one of the 10 foods that can best prevent cancer, which shows what a major role nutrition plays in cancer prevention, but also in cancer therapy—even when it is often wrongly claimed that diet has only a minimal impact on cancer.
Celery juice (made fresh by hand using a quality juicer) is a great way to get the healing properties of celery in effective doses.
Juice from celery stalks
Celery juice is a wonderfully detoxifying component of a juice cleanse to strengthen the immune system and stimulate kidney function.
- celery sticks
Preparation and application:
Wash the fresh celery under running water.
Cut the stalks into small pieces and squeeze out the juice using a good-quality juicer.
In order to benefit from the therapeutic benefits of celery, it is sufficient if you consume 100 ml of celery juice 1 to 3 times a day.
You can do this cure 3 to 4 times a year for one week at a time. However, many people also drink the juice daily for a longer period of time or permanently and report increased well-being and better performance.
It is important that you prepare the juice fresh every day or – if you want to buy a juice – use a high-quality organic celery juice
Tip: Since pure celery juice tastes very intense and is not for everyone, you can also combine celery juice with other types of vegetables, such as cucumber juice, carrot juice, tomato juice, or beetroot juice. Make sure, however, that your juice mixture always contains 100 ml of celery juice per serving.
Lose weight with celery
Because celery is a great detoxifier, helps remove excess water from the tissues, and is one of the lowest-calorie vegetables, celery is very helpful when it comes to weight loss.
100g of celery has just 15 calories, not least because celery is more than 90 percent water. However, celery only has all of its positive properties if it is bought fresh and crunchy and prepared as quickly as possible. Therefore, it is extremely important to pay attention to the best possible quality when shopping.
Nutritional values of celery stalks
Celery contains a lot of water, almost no fat, a few carbohydrates, and a lot of dietary fiber. The nutritional values per 100 g of freshly cooked celery are as follows:
- Energy (kcal): 17.0 kcal
- Fat: 0.2g
- Carbohydrates: 1.9 g
- Protein: 1.3g
- Fiber: 2.9 g
- Water: 91.9 g
- PRAL value: -3.3 (negative values indicate an alkaline food)
Vitamins in celery stalks
Freshly cooked celery has the following vitamins per 100 g. The daily requirement for the respective vitamin is given in brackets:
- Vitamin A retinol equivalent: 541.0 mcg (900 mcg)
- Beta carotene: 3,248.0 mcg (2000 mcg)
- Vitamin B1 thiamine: 30.0 µg (1100 µg)
- Vitamin B2 Riboflavin: 57.0 µg (1200 µg)
- Vitamin B3 niacin equivalent: 744.0 µg (17000 µg)
- Vitamin B5 pantothenic acid: 348.0 µg (6000 µg)
- Vitamin B6 pyridoxine: 73.0 µg (2000 µg)
- Vitamin B7 biotin (vitamin H): 0.0 µg (100 µg)
- Vitamin B9 folic acid: 4.0 µg (400 – 600 µg)
- Vitamin B12 cobalamin: 0.0 µg (3 – 4 µg)
- Vitamin C ascorbic acid: 3.4 mg (100 mg)
- Vitamin D calciferol: 0.0 µg (officially approx. 20 µg)
- Vitamin E tocopherol equivalent: 0.2 mg (12 – 17 mg)
- Vitamin K phylloquinone: 24.0 µg (officially approx. 70 µg)
Minerals and trace elements in celery
Freshly cooked celery has the following minerals and trace elements per 100 g. The daily requirement for the respective mineral is given in brackets:
- Sodium: 123.0 mg (1500 mg)
- Potassium: 214.0 mg (4000 mg)
- Calcium: 95.0 mg (1000 mg)
- Magnesium: 9.0 mg (350 mg)
- Phosphorus: 54.0 mg (700 mg)
- Chloride: 146.0 mg (2300 mg)
- Sulfur: 17.0 mg (no information on requirement)
- Iron: 0.5 mg (12.5 mg)
- Zinc: 0.1 mg (8.5 mg)
- Copper: 0.1 mg (1.25 mg)
- Manganese: 0.1 mg (3.5 mg)
- Fluoride: 78.0 µg (reference value 3800 µg)
- Iodide: 0.0 mcg (200 mcg)
Pay attention to freshness when buying celery
Fresh celery is pale white to yellowish-light green in color – medium-sized specimens are preferable as their fibers are not as pronounced. The interfaces should look fresh and not dried out or darkened.
When in doubt, don’t be afraid to test the vegetables: if the celery bends easily, it’s superimposed. Leave him in the store. Fresh celery stalks will not bend. They break immediately. Of course, you should also buy the celery if you have successfully completed the test.
Proper storage of celery stalks
You can store the fresh celery in the vegetable compartment of your refrigerator – preferably wrapped in cling film or a plastic bag, as it then stays particularly fresh and moisture can hardly evaporate. According to recent studies, however, celery should be consumed after 5 to 7 days, after which the effectiveness of the antioxidants decreases.
With regard to the flavonoid content, it is recommended to break off or chop the celery sticks just before preparation. This way, the maximum nutrient potential is preserved. Also, when storing, always make sure to keep celery separate from pears, apples, and avocados, as these fruits give off a ripening gas that will help your celery wilt faster.
Pesticides in celery stalks
Unfortunately, celery is sprayed a lot, so according to “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides” (2014) by the Environmental Working Group, Washington, D.C. is one of the 12 fruits and vegetables on which residues of pesticides are most often found – of course only if it comes from conventional production.
Conventionally grown celery is also often contaminated in Europe. For example, the Hamburg Pesticide Action Network (PAN Germany) published the results of new controls, whereby conventionally grown celery stalks contained 69 different pesticides. By now it should be clear that when buying fruit and vegetables you should opt for organic quality as often as possible. Only then does the celery taste really good!
Celery in the kitchen
Before processing the celery stalk, always rinse under cold running water and pat dry. You can pull off the threads of the outer sticks with a small knife, or you can use a vegetable peeler.
Recipes with celery
Celery fits into an infinite number of recipes, e.g. B. in salads, soups, and vegetables. So you can eat celery raw or stew, stew, boil, or au gratin. When preparing it, however, keep in mind that 38 to 41 percent of the antioxidants can volatilize when heated, which is why the antioxidant yield is highest in raw celery.
Celery sticks can therefore also be offered in raw form as cocktail appetizers. Serve with different dips. In the same way, raw celery sticks can be filled with spicy (vegan) cream cheese cream.
However, celery is also used in a variety of ways when boiled and steamed. It can be prepared like asparagus, where its mild, nutty aroma is particularly effective, but it also goes well with stews or risotto.
And don’t forget to spice up your celery dishes with fresh herbs. Tarragon, parsley, nutmeg, basil, and thyme are particularly harmonious companions – there are no limits to your imagination when it comes to seasoning!