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Eating Well with Whole Foods: Celery

by Suzann Pileggi Pawelski

During spring our bodies tend to crave lighter cleansing foods to help break down the fats we have stored from eating a heavier diet throughout the winter. Now is the perfect time to introduce natural detoxifiers like celery into our diet. Throughout history, celery was prized for its medicinal qualities as well as its nutritive ones. Its healing properties date back to the 9th century B.C. when celery made an early appearance in Homer’s The Odyssey.

Celery is a terrific source of Vitamin C, B6, potassium, manganese, folate, and dietary fiber. A celery rich diet has been shown to help support the immune system, improve digestion, lower the risk of inflammatory conditions like arthritis and asthma, and reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. Celery has been widely used as a natural diuretic over the years. Since it helps rid the body of excess fluids it’s a common ingredient in cleanses and a popular weight loss aid.

When shopping for celery select crisp light green stalks that are smooth along the inside. They should snap easily when pulled apart. The leaves should be light to dark green and free of yellow or brown patches. Due to its high water content celery wilts quickly and should not be kept at room temperature for too long. Instead, store it in a sealed container or plastic bag in the refrigerator.

Celery is refreshing alone or eaten with some of your other favorite spring veggies. Chop it up in tuna salad for a satisfying crunch, purée it into a delicious soup, or blend it with cucumber, carrot, and apple for a delicious cleansing tonic. Also, try dunking it in bean dip or topping it with peanut butter for a healthy protein packed snack.

Waldorf Spring Salad

1 cup organic plain yogurt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon organic honey 
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, ground 
3 apples, medium-sized 
1 cup celery, sliced 
1/4 cup walnuts, chopped

Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, honey, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix well. Wash the apples. Remove the core and chop unpeeled apples into small chunks. Toss chopped apples immediately into yogurt dressing to prevent browning. Add celery and walnuts. Stir to coat well with dressing. Refrigerate the salad until ready to serve. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy! 

Suzann Pileggi Pawelski is a freelance wellness writer who specializes in the science of happiness and how it affects our health. She is also a certified health coach who works with clients on nourishing their bodies and souls by helping them make better food and lifestyle choices. She uses food to naturally increase energy, control cravings and create a balanced lifestyle. Suzann holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communications and a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) from the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Visit her website at www.suzannpileggi.com , or email her at suzannpileggi@aol.com  for a discounted phone consultation.

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