Fennel health benefits includes lowering cholesterol levels, supporting bone health, supporting skin health, lowering blood pressure, act as excellent remedy for infant colic, remedy anemia, helps retain brain function, mange bacterial infections, help stimulate appetite and help manage seasonal allergies. Other benefits includes relieving coughing and broncho-constriction, helps promote eye health, help promote weight loss and help prevent cancer.
What is Fennel?
Fennel is a vegetable that resembles the celery in appearance, even though its taste tends to catch most people off guard- possessing a licorice like taste. Possessing the scientific name Foeniculum vulgare, it is characterized by its white colored bulbs and tall green stalks, and is completely edible- including its seeds, bulbs and stalks.
Fennel appears to have originated in the Mediterranean regions that are currently known as Italy and Greece, though today it is grown in many countries such as India, Russia and the Unites States.
It is traditionally considered a “winter” vegetables, since harvesting usually occurs in late fall, with it being utilized heavily in winter meals (think of various soups and casseroles). Today, however, its use extends far beyond its use in meals, as it possesses a wealth of nutrients that translate to health benefits. If you haven’t been taking advantage of its offerings, we’re sure you’ll want to start after reading to the end.
Nutrition Info (100 g)
Dietary Fiber-2.7g 11% RDA
Protein-1.1g 2% RDA
Vitamin A-117IU 2% RDA
Vitamin C-10mg 17% RDA
Niacin-0.6mg 3% RDA
Folate-23.5mcg 6% RDA
Pantothenic Acid-0.2mg 2% RDA
Calcium-42.6mg 4% RDA
Iron-0.6mg 4% RDA
Magnesium-14.8mg 4% RDA
Phosphorus-43.5mg 4% RDA
Potassium-360mg 10% RDA
Zinc-0.2mg 1% RDA
Copper-0.1mg 3% RDA
Manganese-0.2mg 8% RDA
Selenium-0.6mcg 1% RDA
15 Amazing Health Benefits of Fennel
1. Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
Foods high in fiber are capable or helping to reduce blood cholesterol levels, and luckily fennel is no exception. Fiber in fennel helps to prevent the full absorption of cholesterol into blood, subsequently preventing its deposition on artery walls. Fiber also has a way of promoting bile excretion, which then mandates replacement of this enzyme via conversion from cholesterol. Both of these mechanism are excellent for reducing circulating cholesterol levels in the blood.
2. Can Support Bone Health
While fennel does not have a high amount of calcium, every little bit helps when you are a vegetarian and have a hard time finding non-dairy sources of calcium. Much of the calcium is found in the bulbs, though that isn’t the only bone supporting nutrient found here as phosphorus, magnesium and Vitamin K are also present to promote health bone mineralization.
3. Support Skin Health
Fennel contains generous amounts of Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant vitamin that helps to buffer damage caused by UV rays on the skin. By neutralizing free radicals, these can help to slow down accelerated aging on the skin. Vitamin C is also very important in the synthesis of collagen, a structural protein that helps to retain skins natural youthfulness and vigor. Scurvy, a disease that occurs from Vitamin C deficiency, actually manifests as the body’s inability to synthesize enough collagen, causing structural defects under the skin, at joint and on gums. Adequate vitamin C consumption also helps prevent wrinkles and age spots.
4. Help To Lower Blood Pressure
Fennel is rich in potassium, a mineral that helps to optimize fluid balance by acting as a counter to sodium. Whereas sodium promotes water retention and causes an increase in blood pressure, potassium promotes elimination of excessive sodium and water, helping to reduce blood pressure. The effect do take some time to manifest, so it is not a short term fix to acute high blood pressure.
5. Fennel Oil Is An Excellent Remedy For Infant Colic
Colic in infants is characterized by stomach discomfort with or without gas and excess acidity. Most times, it occurs when gas bubbles are trapped, or when you fail to appropriately burp the baby. It’s essential oil possesses carminative properties, as well as antacid, helping to remove gas bubbles and soothe the infant stomach. If you’ve ever bough gripe water to give your baby, fennel oil was probably a primary ingredient in them.
6. Can Help Remedy Anemia
Fennel contains two components that are important in red blood cell production; iron and an amino acid named histidine, which stimulates production of the protein hemoglobin- the oxygen carrying constituent in blood. This is actually superior to iron alone, as a number of other co-factors and nutrients are responsible for the process of blood building.
7. Can Help Retain Brain Function
There are many things which can affect brain function as we age, but there are a few things we can do to try and retain as much of our mental faculties as we can. Fennel has vasodilatory properties which ensures that the flow of blood continues unabated, throughout the entire body and the brain as well. This also minimizes the risk of blood clots which could cause a stroke or brain bleed. Potassium also helps enhance electrical nerve conductivity in the brain, helping maintain optimal functioning of the brain.
8. Fennel Oil Can Be Used To Manage Bacterial Infections
The inclusion of fennel oil is known to soothe intestinal conditions, and may also help relieve diarrhea with a bacterial cause behind it. In addition, topical application of fennel oil to wounds can help prevent bacterial infection and speed up healing along the way.
9. Helps To Stimulate Appetite
Fennel has been used for years to help stimulate appetite when recovery from illness or when trying to ensure you consume an adequate diet. You can also use the essential oil if you are finding it difficult to incorporate fennel into enough recipes.
10. Help You Manage Seasonal Allergies
Seasonal allergies occur with runny nose and congestion, making it difficult to breathe. Fennel has decongestant properties, allowing you to breathe easier.
11. Help Relieve Coughing And Bronchoconstriction
Fennel contains a compound known as cineole, which possesses expectorant properties, helping in the removal of phlegm and mucus from the lungs. This can also help asthmatics, since accumulation of mucus in the lungs gives way to wheezing and labored breathing.
12. Fennel Has Emmenagogue Properties
An emmenagogue is a substance that aids in the removal of menses during a woman’s normal menstrual cycle, and also helps to ensure regularity to an extent. This is helpful for women who endure many days of discomfort, and also helps in ameliorating the associated symptoms of bloating, irritability and more that occurs.
13. Helps To Promote Eye Health
Fennel helps to preserve the health of your eyes thanks to the presence of its multiple anti-oxidant compound and bioactive substances, which prevent excessive damage leading to premature macular degeneration. They also assist with night vision, help to keep the optic nerve healthy and prevent retinal damage.
14. Can Promote Weight Loss
Fennel is an extremely low calorie food which is loaded with fiber and nutrients, making it an ideal diet food. Fennel also possesses diuretic properties which can help flush out excess water from the body as well as subcutaneous water trapped under the skin. High fiber and nutrient dense foods help to blunt appetite as the body receives most of what it needs, and signals to the brain that it is full. If you recall, fiber traps water and bulks in the intestine, making you eat less and fell greater satiety.
15. Can Help Prevent Cancer
The best way to prevent cancer is by ensuring you consume enough anti-oxidants from natural foods, to neutralize free radicals generated as a result of metabolism. While this directly helps suppress inflammatory processes in cells, and even on DNA itself, some of its compounds such as anethole are known to inhibit growth of cancerous cells in their infancy, preventing the rapid growth cancer cells are known for.
Fennel is an extremely versatile plant, with many of its parts finding utility in food, health and medicine. Many people do use fennel in some form or another, though you could definitely benefit from increased consumption.