Celery and the brain

Researchers at the University of Illinois report that a plant compound found in abundance in celery and green peppers can disrupt a key component of the inflammatory response in the brain. This could be important news for the research on ageing, and on diseases such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

Inflammation plays a key role in many neurodegenerative diseases and also is implicated in the memory and behaviour problems that can arise as we get older. Inflammation is not always a bad thing; it is a critical part of the body’s immune response that in normal circumstances reduces injury and promotes healing, but when it goes wrong then it can lead to serious physical and mental problems.

The new study looked at luteolin, a plant flavonoid in celery and green peppers which is known to impede the inflammatory response in several types of cells outside the central nervous system. Herbalists have known about the cooling properties of celery for decades and prescribe it for arthritis and hot flushes, but now it seems scientists are also taking it seriously. Add celery and green peppers to your diet and you will whizzing through the crossword in record time. If you don’t like the taste of them – and I know some people who don’t – then if you have a juicer add it to your mix. I juice celery regularly with apples and carrot to boost my immune system and help with arthritis and even celery-haters love the taste of the juice.