Along with carrots, onions and potatoes, celery has become a common household staple. Its crunchy texture and distinctive flavor makes celery a very popular addition to salads, soups and other cooked dishes. Although available throughout the year, you’ll find the best quality celery during the summer months when it is in season. Locally grown varieties can be easily found in the markets. Celery has a laundry list of nutrients including vitamins K, C, B6, B1, A, B2, as well as potassium, fiber, calcium, and iron. All assist to promote health, lower cholesterol, and maybe useful in cancer prevention.
Celery is an excellent source of vitamin C, which we all knows helps in supporting the immune system. Vitamin C- rich foods like celery may help reduce cold symptoms or the severity of cold symptoms which could be very useful with fall fast approaching. Vitamin C also helps prevent free radical damage that triggers the inflammatory reaction, and is therefore associated with reduced severity of inflammatory conditions. Vitamin C is beneficial in promoting cardiovascular health and research has shown that consumption of vegetables and fruits high in vitamin C are associated with a reduced risk of death from all cases of heart disease, stroke and cancer.
Celery’s potential for reducing high blood pressure has long been recognized by Chinese medicine practitioners. Western researchers may have recently identified the reason why. Researchers credit the compound phthalides found in celery which can help relax the muscles around arteries and allow those vessels to dilate. Giving more space inside the arteries allows the blood to flow at a lower pressure. Another contributing factor could be the diuretic activity of celery. The potassium and sodium found in celery helps to stimulate urine production, thus helping body to red excess fluid and causing the blood vessel walls to relax. In addition celery can also lower cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion.
Celery had a long history, first as a medicine and then later as a food. Celery’s vitamins and minerals help to give our bodies protection from diseases in addition to required nutrients for everyday function. Celery, like cucumbers, also has a high water content that can help keep us hydrated as well. To kick up your celery intake you can add chopped celery to your favorite tuna fish or chicken salad recipe or enjoy the simple snack of eating low-fat peanut butter on celery stalks.
The Most Effective Exercises
Often times, I’m always asked what are some of the most effective exercises. People want to work out but they also want to get the most out of their workout for their time. So here a some of the most effective exercises:
1. Walking. Some might be a little surprised to see this in my list but there’s a reason why it’s here. You can walk anywhere, anytime, either on a treadmill or with no equipment other than a good pair of shoes. It’s great for beginners to start a fitness routine or for those that are more seasoned exercisers to alternate their routine between high and low impact activities. Beginners should start by walking five to ten minutes at a time gradually moving up to at least 30 minutes. As you progress, lengthen the time of your walks before increasing your speed or incline.
2. Interval Training: Adding interval training to your cardio workout can boost fitness, burn more calories, and help you lose weight. The basic idea is to vary the intensity of your aerobic workout to challenge your body instead of cruising in your comfort zone. Kick up your pace for a minute or two, and then back off for 2-10 minutes depending on the length of your workout and how much time you need to recover.
3. Squats: Squats work multiple muscle groups( the quadriceps, hamstrings, and gluteals) at the same time. To correctly perform a squat, keep your feet shoulder-width apart and your back straight. Bend your knees and lower your bottom as if you were sitting in a chair, taking care to keep your knees over your ankles. You can practice this with a real chair to master the correct technique and posture.
4. Lunges: Like squats, lunges work all the major muscles of the lower body, with the added benefit of improving your balance. To correctly perform a lunge take a big step forward keeping your spine straight. Bend your front knee to about a 90 degree angle. Keep your weight on your back toes and drop the back knee toward the floor, but do not let the knee touch the floor. Return to standing position.
5. Push-ups: Push-ups strengthen the chest, shoulders, triceps, and core muscles all at the same time. Push-ups should be done with the hand placed slightly wider than shoulder-width apart. Place the toes (or knees if you’re a beginner) on the floor creating a smooth line with your body from shoulders to feet. Keeping rear-end muscles engaged lower and left your body by bending and straightening the elbows keeping the torso stable.
6. The Bicycle: This abdominal exercise targets the rectus abdominis (the “six pack”) and the obliques (the waist). To execute this exercise start by lying on your back and place your hands behind your head lightly supporting it with your fingers. Bring your knees to your chest and left the shoulder blades to the floor without pulling on the neck. Bring your opposite elbow to the knee. Example: Bring the right elbow towards the left knee and straighten the other leg. Switch sides and continue alternating sides in a “pedaling” motion.
7. Bent Over Row: This exercise works all the major muscles of the upper back in addition to the biceps. For proper technique, stand with feet shoulder-width apart, then bend knees and flex forward at the hips. Tilt your pelvis slightly forward, engage the abdominals and extend your upper spine to add support. Almost like you’re going to sit. Hold dumbbells or barbell beneath the shoulders with your hands about shoulder-width apart. Bend the elbows and lift both hands to the sides of your body, pause and then lower. Beginners should start without weights.