It’s the proverbial low-cal snack… also the taken-for-granted turkey stuffing ingredient and predictable garnish in a Bloody Mary. But don’t underestimate this little food gem.
Not only is it a dieter’s delight… It’s also a potent cancer fighter. And this little-appreciated edible can help you remember important stuff, like where you parked your car at the airport, or your wedding anniversary. Read on to discover how much this humble food can do for your health. I was shocked to learn about all the benefits. I always thought it was a bland filler.
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Most of us don’t know much about celery, except that it has “practically no calories”, is “mostly water”, and is “stringy”. But there’s a lot more to it than that. . .
Induces cancer cell death and stops cancer growth…
Celery has several compounds that make it a powerful cancer fighter.
Both celery and one of its relatives, parsley, contain the cancer-fighting bioflavonoid called apigenin, which has been studied in relation to breast and ovarian cancers.
A new University of Missouri study found that apigenin shrank a type of breast cancer that’s stimulated by progestin, a synthetic hormone often given to menopausal women.
This study looked at certain mice implanted with a deadly, fast-growing human breast cancer… which were later treated with a progestin similar to those given to post-menopausal women. There was also a control group which did not get progestin.
One part of the progestin group received apigenin, the others did not.
The tumors shrank in the apigenin treated mice, and their breast cancer cell growth dropped to the levels of the control group (the ones with no progestin).
The study co-author, Salman Hyder, noted that apigenin slowed the cancer in three ways:
- Inducing cell death
- Inhibiting cell proliferation
- Reducing expression of a gene associated with cancer growth.
In other words, tumors grew in the mice not given apigenin. But with apigenin the tumors shrank, and weren’t as large to begin with.
Also, blood vessels that feed cancer cells also had smaller diameters in apigenin-treated mice compared with untreated ones… resulting in restricted nutrient flow to tumors, potentially starving the cancer and limiting its ability to spread.
They’re still studying whether this holds true for humans as well as mice.
Meanwhile another study, this one at Rutgers University, found other anti-cancer compounds in celery called acetylenics — which can actually stop tumor cells from growing. They suggest that drinking raw celery juice can prevent free radicals from harming your cells, which can stop cancer from developing in your stomach and colon.
So promising, you’d think the pharmaceutical companies would be all over this. But it’ll probably be hard to even get funding for more research, because they can’t profit from a compound so easily extracted from a plant. But you can…
Boosts your white blood cells
Celery contains another compound, a phytochemical known as coumarin. Studies on coumarins show they’re effective for cancer prevention, and are capable of enhancing the immune activities of certain lines of white blood cells.
In a study done at Tokyo Denki University, scientists examined 21 coumarins for their anti-proliferative activity towards these kinds of cancers:
- Lung carcinoma
- Melanin-producing-pigment mouse melanoma
- Human T-cell leukemia
- Human gastric cancer which had metastasized to the liver
But celery bestows other benefits on you too…
It may be the best brain food in your fridge
As you age, your brain tends to overreact to every slight provocation by spitting out clouds of inflammatory compounds linked to memory lapses, fuzzy thinking, and brain fatigue. Celery protects your brain from these problems by telling the hyperactive immune cells to settle down.
This has implications for diseases like Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.1 Inflammation is a factor in cognitive and behavioral impairments associated with aging.
A new study published in the Journal of Nutrition evaluated luteolin, a plant flavonoid known to squelch inflammatory responses outside the central nervous system.2 Celery is rich in luteolin.
This study showed that brain cells exposed to luteolin had a significantly lowered inflammatory response. Apparently luteolin shuts down production of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a key cytokine in the inflammatory pathway, by a staggering 90 percent! Said principal investigator Rodney Johnson, “This was just about as potent an inhibition as anything we had seen previously.”3
Celery benefits in you in many other ways
Who ever knew celery was so nutrient-dense and had so many health benefits — for cancer and so much more? Bet you never thought a watery “diet” food could offer so much.
This long, thin, green vegetable is actually part of the carrot family, along with parsnip, fennel, and parsley.
Celery’s outer stalks, also called ribs, surround its tender, mildly flavored innermost ribs, the celery heart. It also has leaves which are often mistakenly discarded as “inedible”. But nothing could be farther from the truth, as celery’s leaves contain its highest concentration of nutrients.
Folklore from many cultures considers it an aphrodisiac. There’s not much scientific evidence of that. But never mind that, it’s loaded with other benefits.
Celery is chock full of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin K (good for blood and bones), vitamin C (an immune booster), amino acids, essential fatty acids, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, zinc, vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and E… plus more.
It can impact you in these far-reaching ways4:
- Lowers blood pressure and tones your vascular system. Magnesium deficiency is known to affect your blood pressure. Celery is packed with magnesium, which can relax the muscle cells in your arterial walls. This dilates your arteries, allowing your blood more room to flow freely.
- Healthy, flexible joints. Celery’s anti-inflammatory attributes help reduce joint pain and swelling, which means it can help those suffering from arthritis, rheumatism, and gout. It also contains a diuretic that can help remove uric acid crystals from your joints.
- Asthma. Celery’s high vitamin C levels can help alleviate asthmatic conditions.
- Colds/Flu. Vitamin C also helps prevent viral illnesses.
- Insomnia. Sleeplessness can wreak havoc on your health. For a good night’s sleep, drink a glass of freshly-juiced celery with one tablespoon of honey before bedtime. This can help you relax into a restful sleep. Plus, its medicinal properties can work while you sleep.
- Kidney stones/gall stones. Celery juice can help by clearing the toxins that form these painful stones. Since celery juice is a diuretic, it can help with passing the stone. If you’re prone to stones, a daily glass of celery juice can help keep them away.
- Possible remedy for migraines, based on celery’s coumarin activity.
- Aids digestion and alleviates bowel problems.
- Lowers cholesterol.
- Rebuilds blood cells.
- Builds up your immune system.
- Regulates body temperature.
- Terrific anti-inflammatory.
- Supports liver as a potent detoxifier.
- May help protect women from urinary tract infections.
To enjoy these benefits, juice a bunch of celery with a fresh orange for flavor, and drink this juice for 30 days. Or try it juiced with a tomato and add some fresh onion and garlic to increase its medicinal impact.
If you don’t care for the taste of celery but want its benefits, load it up with organic nut butter spread. The celery will provide the crunch, but the nut butter taste will prevail.
Two important cautions…
Celery is an amazing food with a plethora of nutrients straight from nature. You can hardly go wrong. Even if you’re not on a “diet”.
And yet, here are two important cautions:
First, lighten up on celery seeds during pregnancy. They contain volatile oils, flavonoids, coumarins, and linoleic acid which could cause uterine contractions… which you certainly don’t want before the 39 or 40 week mark. This is a minor problem. I don’t think you’ll find seed in celery stalks.
Secondly, celery is one of the “Dirty Dozen”… According to the latest report from the Environmental Working Group, conventional celery is one of the worst types of produce to purchase. Its soft, absorbent skin makes it especially prone to soak up and retain pesticides. Testing revealed residual traces from a staggering 67 pesticides in conventional celery. Would you like a little celery with your pesticides? Not me. I buy organic celery.
Organic celery can be a terrific food to add to your daily anti-cancer eating plan. It’s inexpensive, and you have to eat anyway, so bring some home today.
Naturally, eating it raw will give you the most bang for your buck.
Lee Euler, Publisher