On sight, we can all tell the difference between a cucumber and a celery stick. For most of us, that's where the distinction ends. They're both green, taste good when you dip them in things, and are generally believed to be healthy. But, what about the fact that celery is full of phytonutrients that fight inflammation, or that both are majorly hydrating?
What we eat determines how our bodies function, so we think those choices should be as informed as possible. With that in mind, we teamed up with Naked Juice to find out what some of our favorite veggies are really made of. Keep reading to learn more about what celery and cucumbers do for your body, why you might choose one over the other, and to discover new (and delicious) ways to up your intake.
Both celery and cucumbers are incredibly low-calorie foods (but also low on carbs and protein), and have similar quantities of most nutrients. Either is a much healthier vehicle for your salsa than those tortilla chips. But, to see what's really going on beneath the surface, you have to know where to look.
Here's a hint. Celery is much higher in both sodium and folate than cucumbers. Translation: People on low-sodium diets may be better off choosing cukes, and anyone looking to to boost their mood should go for celery. High folate availability is associated with increased production of happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine
Claims To Fame
Celery has so many buzzy nutrients, it's hard to keep them straight: phenolic acids, flavonols, pthalides. But, what do these actually do? (It's pretty awesome.) Phytonutrients, like flavonols and phenolic acids, decrease the risk of free radical damage and prevent inflammation. Pthalides lower blood pressure by helping the muscles around your blood vessels relax. Who knew?
Not to be outclassed, cucumbers have a pretty fierce antioxidant profile as well. Fresh cucumber aids in the never-ending effort to seek and destroy free radicals, and has serious anti-cancer benefits. Phytonutrients called cucurbitacins have been shown to block cancer cell development, while lignans are associated with a reduced risk of estrogen-related cancers.
Now that you know why celery and cucumbers worth noshing on, and which has more of what you care about, here are some tasty new ideas for how to enjoy both.
How To Eat Celery
Celery is not just for ants on a log (although you're never too old for celery with peanut butter and raisins). Try it in an energy bowl with mung beans, cashews, and mushrooms, mixed up with kale and ginger in a juice, or chopped into a delicious butternut squash soup with green apple and carrots.
How To Eat Cucumbers
For even more tasty recipes to help you up the ante on Superfoods in your life, check out our constantly updated recipe hub.