Perhaps it will not be one of the most beautiful vegetables to look at, with its hard and lumpy rind, but celeriac, scientific name Apium graveolens var. rapaceum, is another demonstration that one must never judge by appearance. Under its peel, in fact, we can find a white and delicious pulp, perfect for enriching salads or side dishes and with unexpected properties for health. Indeed, celeriac helps to boost the metabolism, counteracts overweight and inflammation, protects memory and is diuretic. But let's try to understand better by referring to the scientific research on the subject.
Celeriac is a low-calorie food and a precious source of fiber. This vegetable provides iodine and mineral salts, such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, manganese and iron, vitamins, such as A, K and C, and flavonoids, such as apigenin and luteolin, with an anti-free radical and anticancer action (Bruznican et al, Front Plant Sci, 2019).
Celeriac and its beneficial properties for the immune system
Celeriac supports the immune system, counteracting inflammation and oxidative stress, and shows an antiviral and antibacterial action. Not only that, celeriac also helps fight allergies (Godlewska et al, Molecules, 2020).
Celeriac against overweight and water retention
Thanks to the substances it contains, celeriac is draining and able to counteract water retention. Not only that, celeriac, being a source of fiber, helps to keep hunger under control, giving a feeling of fullness for longer. In addition, celeriac also acts on the thyroid and metabolism. In fact, containing iodine, it helps to increase metabolism and to burn more calories, making it suitable in case of overweight or obesity (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).
Celeriac for the health of the gastro intestinal tract
Celeriac promotes digestion and supports the work of the intestine, avoiding constipation and counteracting inflammation (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods - Ma et al, Nutrition, 2008). Chronic inflammation can, in the long run, increase the risk of obesity, depression, cellular degeneration, infections and cardiovascular problems. Hence the importance of combating inflammation by any means and a healthy and varied diet, which also includes celeriac, is certainly a valuable ally.
Celeriac for muscle health
The apigenin contained in celeriac reduces the risk of loss of muscle mass and muscle function, conditions that can worsen the quality of life, increasing the likelihood of falls and fractures but also of developing chronic diseases (Jang et al, Oncotarget, 2017 - Bruznican et al, Front Plant Sci, 2019).
Celeriac and memory
Celeriac, thanks to its content in flavonoids, such as luteolin and apigenin, is neuroprotective and has a tonic effect on memory and learning capacity (Jang et al, Oncotarget, 2017).
Celeriac and thyroid
Celeriac, containing iodine, is indicated in case of hypothyroidism. For the same reason, avoid or at least limit the consumption of celeriac in case of hyperthyroidism but also agitation and insomnia (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods).
How to enjoy celeriac
You can add raw celeriac to salads. In this case, peel the vegetable and slice it finely. Season with extra virgin olive oil and vinegar or lemon. For a more protective action on the heart, which is expressed thanks to the vitamin K and potassium content of celeriac (Vinceti et al, J Am Heart Assoc, 2016 - Gast et al, Nutr Metab Cardiovasc Dis, 2009), you can combine also olives, which provide vitamin E and unsaturated fatty acids, which are cardioprotective (Vardi et al, J Lipids Res, 2013) and fennel, which helps to limit a possible action of increased blood pressure induced by celeriac (Aufiero, the nutritional and therapeutic role of foods). If, on the other hand, the aim is to take advantage of the mild laxative action provided by the celeriac fibers, to stimulate the proper functioning of the intestinal tract and to control body weight, it is possible to associate raw celeriac with raw artichoke, another precious source of fiber. Alternatively, you can also prepare stir-fried celeriac.