Celery has been around for a long time. In Middle East cuisine, it is frequently used to flavor foods. There are many varieties of celery available all having more or less the same flavor. Celery is said to have originated in Europe but from there it spread to large parts of the modern world. Celery is grown extensively in vegetable gardens with flat dwellers taking to growing it in pots. The plant is a compact one growing to a height of about half a meter. The flowers that open on mature plants that are two years old are umbelliform in nature. The stalks grow in clusters and all parts of the plant are edible. There are many varieties of celery with the commonest being the light green colored one. Though less common, red and white celery are also available, though not everywhere.
How to Use Celery
Though it is the stem that is used the most, it is important to know that the whole plant is packed with nutrition. The leaves can be mixed into a stir fry. The leaves contain great amounts of vitamin C to say nothing of the chlorophyll. When you buy celery, make sure you look for firm and crisp looking stalks. Celery grows in close contact with soil so washing it really well is important. Strip each stalk and trim the bottom part. Wash the stalk under running water looking for loose dirt and grit which could be embedded in the stalk. Trim the top part of the stem and keep aside for cooking. For salads the bottom to middle part is the best. This is the most succulent part. Cut celery into thin slices and toss into a mixed salad.
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green colour celery leaf
Different Uses Of Celery
The top part and the leaves can be cut fine and added to stews and soups. Many vegetables have nutrients that are not heat stable. When heated, these nutrients degrade and are lost. But in the case of celery, nutrients are not lost even when they are heated, making celery perfect for cooking. Celery soup has been much touted in recent times as the perfect food for dieters. Celery contains negligible amounts of calories and soup made of celery is a tasty and nourishing dish. For variety, vegetables like carrots, leeks and cabbage which compliment celery can be added to the soup. Spices and herbs when added to the soup make it even more interesting. The base for the soup can be a thin stock or it can be water.
While celery soup by itself is nourishing, surviving on just that for long periods is not advocated. Cutting out carbohydrate completely and surviving on soup exclusively is not wise. Instead, it can be fleshed out by having whole meal crackers which will add some carbohydrates too. Depriving the body of carbohydrates will result in poor concentration, depression and fatigue. The weight that is lost will be replaced doubly fast when one goes off the no carbs diet. Those who can have small quantities of butter can add a tiny pat of butter to the soup and up its taste quotient in a big way. Celery can be added to salads to give a Mid-Eastern flavor. Either the stalk or the seeds can be used. In Asia, the seeds are often boiled in water and the water drunk to get relief from dyspepsia.
A Cure For Halitosis
Celery is a potent weapon in the fight against halitosis or bad breath. In most cases, halitosis is caused by poor dental hygiene. Food particles remain between teeth and on the gums breeding bacteria which give pungent odor. Munching on celery helps in two ways as the rough bristles scrub the back of the tongue washing it clean. The natural bristles also dislodge food particles from between the teeth. The effect is of a thorough cleaning of the teeth. Chewing on a celery stick towards the end of the day is good dental hygiene practice. It will leave your mouth feeling fresh and smelling pleasantly fragrant.
Celery And UTI
Celery plant as well as the seed is effective diuretics. At the first sign of UTI, boil a cup of water with a teaspoon of celery seed. Strain and cool the water and drink it. The urinary tract will get flushed of all bacteria. COX – 2 inhibitors are a kind of NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory that is present in celery and celery seeds. The plant variety, unlike the chemical ones, does not cause unpleasant side effects. Painful joint conditions like bursitis respond favorably to the painkilling apigenin that is plentiful in celery and its seed. The seeds can be boiled in water and made into a tea or if the flavor puts you off, you can have capsules of celery seed extract.
Coumarins And Cancer
The phytochemical coumarin that is one of the potent compounds in celery has an important role to play in cancer prevention and it also boosts the power of a type of white blood cells in fighting cancer. They destroy free radicals before they attack healthy cells. Another compound discovered in celery is acetylenics which arrests the growth of tumor cells. Phenolic acids are a group of compounds which arrest the action of prostaglandins that sometimes encourage the growth of cancer cells. Celery also has inbuilt protection against certain kinds of fungus. Eating celery transmits some of that protection to you.
Use Of Celery to Control Indigestion
Celery seeds are very effective against flatulence. It has anti-inflammatory compounds, painkillers, sedatives and carminatives that help deal with dyspepsia. In Germany celery preparations are approved for use for dyspepsia. There is encouraging evidence that Luteolin, a compound that is present in celery is effective in preventing formation of brain plaque that causes Alzheimer’s disease. Gout is another disease that responds favorably to the COX – 2 inhibitors present in celery. Celery reduces uric acid that leads to painful gout attacks. Four stalks of celery daily or four capsules of celery seed extract will keep gout at bay. Or you could make an infusion of 1 teaspoon of celery seeds in a cup of boiling water. Let the seeds steep for 20 minutes, strain and drink the liquor.