Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Food of the Week: Celery

“Ellie, can you overdose on celery?” The voice on the other end of the phone line asked. “I was reading about hedge funds all afternoon and I realized I’d eaten almost 10 stalks!” Never fear my dear friend; there is more to celery than “ants on the log.”

The stalky veggie first hit the history books as a medicine. The ancient Romans thought it could cure constipation and hangovers. Just to the east, the Egyptians used the shaft to treat masculine deficiencies and the subterranean tuber (known as celeriac or celery root) for feminine disorders. Perhaps King Tut beat Dr. Freud to the pychosexual punch…

Now, nutritional science has shown that our ancestors weren’t wrong to use celery for its medicinal purposes. With nearly 45% of your daily Vitamin K and 15% Vitamin C, this veggie enhances your immune system, eases internal inflammation and even defends against bad cholesterol. Celery is filled with special compounds called pthalides which relax muscles around individual arteries allowing the blood to flow unrestricted thereby lowering blood pressure.

There are many great ways to include celery in your diet. Not discounting peanut butter and raisins, I think we dig up some more creative ideas. Celery and tomato is a natural marriage, think V8 Juice with a celery stirring stick (Vodka’s not a bad addition to this one). Try celery leaves in a salad or add some slices to a tuna sandwich. Don’t forget that celery yield great flavor to any dish so consider tossing in a few pieces in olive oil along with some onion for a soup, stir fry or pasta.

If you really want to get adventurous, try some of these recipes!

Celery Apple Gazpacho

Celery, Avocado and Bell Pepper Salad with Black Olives

Pineapple Celery Punch


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Kate said...

I'm famous! Thanks for the info, Ellie, I feel better about my snacking habit. Reading about hedge funds, still not so keen on, but if I'm getting my Vitamin K maybe it's worth it!