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Getting the Full Scoop on Celery's Health Benefits

By Sandy Schroeder

Many of us routinely scoop up dips with celery sticks instead of chips, but that may be just the beginning of the celery health story. Nutrition researchers say this high-fiber, low-calorie snack may also offer many protective health benefits, according to EasyHealthOptions. Check out this list as you add celery to your shopping cart.

Fight infection and boost the immune system - A 2009 Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology report found celery seed extract reduced H. pylori, a bacterium that lives in the stomach and can lead to stomach cancer. Celery also delivers Vitamin C.

Help control inflammation - Celery’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may reduce stroke risk, fight cancer, kill viruses and protect the brain, according to researchers.

Fight migraines - Drinking celery juice may help relieve headaches and migraines.

Lower blood pressure and reduce cholesterol - Dr. Kenneth Shafer, cardiovascular medicine, Cleveland Clinic, says, “Whole celery is low in salt and possesses nutrients known to help regulate blood pressure including fiber, magnesium and potassium. Eat roughly four stalks, one cup, chopped, of celery daily.”

Savory Ways to Enjoy Celery 

Keeping celery front and center and hiding the chips can be easy if you find the right ingredients for your tastebuds. Raw celery sticks are the first choice because they preserve the most nutrients. Dipping is a natural with healthy choices like an olive hummus or low-fat Greek yogurt with dill, kale and spinach. Chop it into egg, tuna or green salads and add it to your next stir-fry, too.

Breaking away from supermarket carrot and celery stick platters, check sites like Epicurious.com for every imaginable flavor celery dip combination, including curry flavors, spicy jalapeno, and avocado dips, or easy ranch mixes. Just remember to choose low-fat versions of sour cream, mayonnaise and cream cheese to hold the calories and fats down.

Cooking with celery adds a distinctive note when you dice it into a stuffing for turkey, or chop it with green onion into turkey patties or meatloaves. Add it to soups and stews, too. You can buy celery salt, but starting fresh is easy to do, and much healthier.

Picking, Cleaning and Storing

When you shop, look for bright green firm celery, never rubbery.

However, heed this warning: even if you buy organic, celery may contain multiple pesticides. Wash thoroughly in a three-part water, one part white vinegar mix. Dry completely and store in the fridge.

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Wellington, Fla.

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