When is the last time you ate a stick of celery? Chances are if you’re like most people, it was on the vegetable tray of the last party you attended—maybe it was Super Bowl weekend. What might surprise you is that this very common, and little discussed, food has powerful therapeutic benefits for your blood pressure.
Doctors at the University of Chicago studying the Asian custom of using celery to lower hypertension discovered that celery contains the chemical 3-n-butyl phthalide. This compound smoothes the muscles lining of the blood vessels, which increases vessel diameter and allows for easier blood flow at lower pressures. When animals were given the human equivalent of four stalks of celery, their blood pressure was reduced by an average of 13 percent and cholesterol levels by 7 percent!
Using the recommended Asian dosages to lower mild cases of high blood pressure, you would need to eat about four ounces of celery daily. This works out to about a cup, chopped up. Often this needs to be continued only for a week or two to obtain desired results.
When you eat celery, don’t peel the strings off. They act like a scrubbing brush that gently stimulates the bowels and removes excess waste material (an added bonus for anyone with constipation or other colon problems).
The sodium in celery is also beneficial for people who suffer from stiffness in the joints. Celery or celery juice will very often stop creaking knee joints, which commonly occur as we get older. (For the record, a cup contains a little over 100 mg of sodium. Since celery is 93 percent water, a cup has only 18 calories.) Celery is truly a ten-cent remedy for a million-dollar problem!
For more heart-healthy solutions, visit my Heart Health Center.
Now it's your turn: What is your favorite way to eat celery?