Vegetables: some people love them, some people hate them, some people only eat them if they’re finely chopped and hidden in their meals. Whatever your feelings are for them, vegetables are an important part of a healthy diet, and in turn, a healthy lifestyle. To help you expand your palate and motivate you to eat more of the good stuff, we’re highlighting a nutritious vegetable each month of the year.
This month, we’re featuring a vegetable that may have gotten a bad reputation as just a “diet food”: celery. Despite its low caloric value and high water content, this veggie has some surprising benefits beyond simply slimming your waistline.
Celery contains .6g of fiber in one medium stalk 1. Not only can fiber help prevent and relieve constipation 2, but as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol, and high in fruits, vegetables, and gain products that contain fiber, it may also reduce the risk of heart disease, a disease associated with many factors. Unfortunately, according to a 2009 study, adults and children in the US consume less than half of the recommended amount of fiber 3. Adding celery to your diet can help you increase your intake and reap the many benefits of eating enough fiber.
Celery is made up of compounds that give it powerful antioxidant properties 4. Antioxidants may prevent or delay some types of cell damage by fighting free radicals, or chemicals that cause damage to your cells 5. Free radicals may play a role in developing certain health conditions, although more research should be conducted on this connection 6.
How to Eat More Celery
Celery is pretty easy to incorporate into your diet, since you can eat it raw or cooked. For a quick snack, eat a few stalks of celery with nut butter or hummus. The protein in the dip will fill you up, and the celery itself will give you that satisfying crunch you get from less healthy alternatives, like chips. To add celery to a meal, try chopping it up and tossing it into a salad or soup - it makes a great addition to Black Eyed Pea Soup, which for some, has become a New Year’s Day tradition. Whip some up this year for good health, prosperity, and luck!