Is celery the powerful anti-cancer weapon we have all been waiting for?

Step aside kale; it’s time to pay some respect to the underappreciated vegetable, celery. Often put on the back burner because of its weight loss status, celery has been used for its medicinal properties since the 9th century in certain parts of the world. While celery is certainly a great weight loss food, there are so much more benefits and uses to this overlooked vegetable than just sticking it in a hummus dip.

Once you get to know the nearly endless list of health benefits, you’ll quickly join the growing community of celery lovers. Unlike the general belief and its reputation as a nutritional lightweight, celery is actually a nutrient powerhouse. It is loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber. While celery is a low-calorie food — it comes with only six calories a stalk — this doesn’t mean it has no nutritional value.

To the contrary, this water-rich vegetable is an excellent source of dietary fiber and essential vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin K. Celery is also an excellent source of vital minerals: calcium, copper, iron, zinc, and potassium included.

But what truly puts this food on top of the superfood list is its impressive ability to prevent, suppress, and reverse cancer. Research has shown that celery contains two important antioxidants, called apigenin and luteolin, which have exhibited some potent chemopreventive effects. These flavonoids are naturally occurring plant pigments that have the ability to fight free radicals in the body.

Celery, a cancer-fighting superhero in the making

Scientific studies, both in cell and animal studies, found that apigenin fights cancer in multiple ways at every stage of the disease. It has been shown to inhibit the initiation, progression, and metastasis of tumor growth. Given its versatility, apigenin may help to overcome the natural genetic variations in cancers that make some of today’s therapies unresponsive.

Apigenin can deprive tumors of the blood, oxygen, and nutrients (such as glucose) they need for their uncontrolled growth and survival. This mechanism, called angiogenesis, is a crucial process to stop proliferation, or the growth of cancerous cells.

Researchers also found that apigenin can inhibit the expression of a protein essential to cancer’s ability to break down and invade healthy tissue, thereby preventing its spread throughout the rest of the body. Next to preventing angiogenesis and metastasis, apigenin has also exhibited anti-inflammatory properties, and it may promote cancer cell apoptosis, or programmed cell death.

When it comes to prostate cancer, scientists found that the flavonoid found in celery suppressed the progression of the disease in many powerful ways. They reported an increase in cancer cell death and a reduction in tumors, cell proliferation, pro-inflammatory cancer triggers, and blood vessel growth to tumors.

In addition to apigenin, celery also contains luteolin. This powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory properties has been shown to interfere with the replication cycle of cancer cells, thus preventing cancer growth. In one mouse model, researchers reported a 60 percent reduction in tumor size after luteolin supplementation.

Don’t let celery’s punchy, green flavor scare you. This versatile vegetable can be used in a variety of dishes going from green smoothies and juices to soups and stews. Are you ready to up your intake of this healing food? Or why not grow your own supply from kitchen scraps? Find the instructions here.

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