Make Fennel Your Friend

What’s Special about Fennel?

Foeniculum vulgare, majorly known as fennel, is a flavor-filled culinary and medicinal herb. The plants are white and green, with leaves of feathers and yellow flowers. Both its crunchy bulb and the seeds of the plant have a mild, licorice-like flavor. Yet, its unique flavor is more potent due to its powerful essential oils. Aside from its long page of culinary uses, fennel and its wonder-seeds offer a large array of health benefits and may render anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial aid to our health.

What is Fennel?

This aromatic herb, Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), hailed from the Mediterranean region and has a lot of culinary and medicinal uses. It has not been fully adopted and naturalized as an herb around the globe but is still widely grown in coastal climates and on many riverbanks. It is one of the major components of absinthe alcoholic liquor), although fennel itself does not have the hallucinogenic characters for which the liquor is known.

Nutritional Tips of Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are majorly consumed in the quantity of a tablespoon per serving, and its nutrition value can be seen below:

Nutrients Nutritional Value (per 6g)
Calories 19.8
Fiber 2.3 g
Carbohydrates 3 g
Protein 0.9 g
Fat 0.6 g
Cholesterol 0 g

Health Benefits of Fennel

Should you have read this article to this section, you ought to have concluded with you that the plant is indeed an amazing one as it packed with a lot of health benefiting nutrients. It is now time we explore how this amazing nutrient could give us the desired healthy living.

1.   Boosts Digestive Health

Fennel seeds are widely used to treat a lot of digestive ailments, such as intestinal gas (and infant gas), heartburn, bloating, and also colic in babies. The seeds have carminative and antispasmodic effects. The essential nutrients of the seeds can help treat other serious digestive ailments like irritable bowel syndrome.

Some studies suggest that the seeds may also help people treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), constipation, diarrhea, and ulcerative colitis. However, more annotated research is necessary in this regard.

2.     Regulates blood pressure

Often get high blood pressure? An amazing study published by the Journal of Food Science showed that chewing fennel seeds aid in increasing the nitrate levels in saliva. Nitrite is a natural component that keeps a check on your blood pressure levels. Also, fennel seeds are high in potassium, which aids in controlling the heart rate and blood pressure.

  1. Reduce Water Retention

Taking fennel tea frequently helps flush out too much fluid as it works as a diuretic medication. Also, fennel seeds help to remove harmful toxins and reduces the chances of urinary tract problems. It also has diaphoretic stimulating properties on perspiration.

4.   Asthma and Other Respiratory Ailments

The phytonutrients in the seeds help clear sinuses. This can help ease asthma symptoms. The expectorant features of the seeds cure other respiratory ailments like cough, bronchitis, and congestion. A study researched the relaxant effects of these seeds on guinea pig tracheal chains. It inferred that the seeds could offer great bronchial relaxation. However, we still need more research evidence to fully understand the same effect in us humans.

These seeds may instead cause serious asthmatic symptoms in some people. Hence, talk to your medical doctor if you are prone to asthma.

  1. Increase Milk Production

Breastfeeding mothers sometimes struggle to produce enough milk to meet their babies’ demands. Fennel seeds may help to ease that problem. Anethole, the major compound in fennel seeds, has a feature that mimics estrogen and may stimulate milk production as well.

Some research studies suggest that taking fennel seeds increases prolactin—the hormone that fosters milk production. If you are breastfeeding and have a poor milk supply, you may consider asking your health practitioner if taking tea made from fennel seeds could be helpful.

6.   Control Bad Breath

bad breathAnecdotal proves suggests that chewing fennel seeds may freshen ones’ breath. The seeds possess the flavor of anise. Simply snacking on 5 to 10 of the seeds could freshen your breath. The seeds are known to increase saliva production and may wash off the bacteria in charge of bad breath. The essential oil of these seeds has beneficial antibacterial properties that help combat the pathogens causing bad breath. The longer you snack on the seeds, the more refreshing you would feel.

7.     Great for skin problems

Regular intake of the seeds provides minerals like calcium, selenium, and zinc. These minerals are all vital for balancing hormones and also maintaining the oxygen balance in your blood circulation. These minerals give a soothing and cooling effect on your skin, leaving it with a healthy glow. The seeds also offer various ayurvedic advantages that may help in treating many skin ailments such as dryness and rashes. Applying a salve of fennel seeds is very beneficial for the skin as the minerals mentioned earlier get absorbed by the skin and leave it clean, moist, and healthy.

  1. Fennel Tea for Food indigestion

The tea is believed very useful to aid bloating, indigestion, and constipation because of the oils present in these seeds. Fennel contains fenchone, estragole, and anethole, which all contribute to the plant’s anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. For folks with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, the highly volatile oils in the fennel seeds may aid digestion by boosting gastric enzyme production. For its endowment with gastrointestinal benefits, fennel tea would make your digestive tract happy and healthy.

9.     Purifies Blood

The essential fiber and oils in the seeds are considered very useful for flushing out toxins and sludge from our bodies, thus, helping in cleaning the blood, which further aids in optimum absorption of nutrients in our body. The polyphenol antioxidants present in fennel seeds also have anti-inflammatory features that help in combating various pathogens and keeping you safe from various disease conditions.

  1. Improves Eyesight

A handful of fennel seeds could perform wonders for your eyesight as well.  Fennel seeds have Vitamin A (retinol), which is necessary for eyesight. In ancient India, fennel seeds extract was used to relieve the symptoms of glaucoma.

  1. May Help Fight Diabetes

A  study discovered that essential fennel oil may reduce blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes. Fennel seeds are, no doubt, a great source of ascorbic acid. Intake of ascorbic acid may reduce blood sugar levels, though additional research studies are needed to fully understand this mechanism. The beta-carotene in these seeds may also lower cholesterol levels in folks with diabetes type 2. Fennel also has a low glycemic index. Hence, they can be a good supplement to a diabetes diet.

12. Lowers risk of cancer

The seeds are high in powerful-free radical scavenging abilities; due to the presence of many antioxidants, fennel seeds aid in neutralizing free radicals that are in charge of cancer development. Hence, it helps in clearing the oxidative stress together with protecting our body from different forms of cancer (of the stomach, breasts, and skin). It has a chemo-modulatory effect on the cancer patient.

  1. According to Ayurveda

Fennel seeds lower all 3 Trodosha (Pitta, Vata, Kapha). The seed has a cooling effect on our body. It is a great thing to take fennel seed juice during the horrible scorching summer to ease excess heat from the body. The oil found in these seeds is carminative and thus is used in massage salves, especially in Ayurveda, to calm your nerves and boost mental clarity.

  1. May reduce inflammation

The antioxidants in fennel, like quercetin and ascorbic acid, can help lower inflammation and levels of inflammatory markers.

  1. May Boost Fertility

Fennel has estrogenic attributes.  Anecdotal proofs suggest that the properties may also enhance fertility. However, more research study is warranted in this regard.

  1. May Aid Hernia Treatment

Some written documents mention the medicinal use of fennel seeds by the Chinese for treating hernia. Nonetheless, a more detailed study is needed to confirm if they can be supplemented in mainstream hernia treatment.

  1. Good for Acne

pimpleWhen fennel seeds are taken on frequently, they give the body valuable minerals such as calcium, zinc, and selenium. These minerals are helpful to maintain hormonal balance and oxygen balance. When eating, fennel has a great cooling effect on the skin, hence giving a healthy glow.

18.  May Control Menstrual Symptoms

Preliminary research studies have confirmed that fennel is wholesome and effective for relieving menopause symptoms. It is also a well-known emmenagogue. The phytoestrogenic features of these seeds may also help boost menstrual signs like hot flashes and cramps.