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Overview

Celery is a biennial vegetable (meaning it has a normal life cycle of two years) that belongs to the Umbelliferae family, whose other members include carrots, fennel, parsley and dill.

While most people associate celery with its prized stalks, its leaves, roots and seeds are also used as a food and seasoning as well as a natural medicinal remedy.

Celery grows to a height of 30 to 40 centre metres and is composed of leaf-topped stalks arranged in a conical shape and joined at a common base. The stalks have a crunchy texture and a delicate, but mildly salty, taste. The stalks in the centre are called the heart and are the most tender.

In Australia we are used to celery appearing in different shades of green, but in Europe they also enjoy a variety that is white in colour. Like white asparagus, this type of celery is grown shaded from direct sunlight so the production of its chlorophyll content. and hence its green colour, are inhibited.

History

The celery that we know today was derived from wild celery. While thought to have its origins in the Mediterranean regions of northern Africa and southern Europe, it was also native to areas extending east to the Himalayas. Wild celery differed a bit from its modern day counterpart in that it featured less stalks and more leaves.

Celery has a long and prestigious history of use, first as a medicine and then later as a food. The initial mention of the medicinal properties of celery leaves dates back to the 9th century B.C., when celery made an appearance in the Odyssey, the famous epic by the Greek poet, Homer. The Ancient Greeks used the leaves as laurels to decorate their renowned athletes, while the ancient Romans used it as a seasoning, a tradition that has carried through the centuries.

Benefits

Celery contains many beneficial minerals and vitamins including vitamin C and several other active compounds that promote general well-being.

Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C, a vitamin that helps to support the immune system. Vitamin C-rich foods like celery may help reduce cold symptoms or severity of cold symptoms; over 20 scientific studies have concluded that vitamin C is a cold-fighter.

Vitamin C also prevents the free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory cascade and is therefore also associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions.

Nutritional Profile

Celery contains vitamin K, vitamin C, potassium, folate, dietary fiber, molybdenum ,vitamin B6 (pyridoxine), calcium, vitamin B1 (thiamin), magnesium, vitamin A, tryptophan phosphorus, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), iron and more.

Disclaimer

The information provided is for educational purposes only and must not be taken or interpreted as a suggestion or as medical advise.

If you have any medical conditions, you should consult your health care professional.

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