Ancients believed fennel increased strength. The Greeks considered fennel a symbol of success and the Puritians even referred to fennel as the “meeting seed.” It was their common practice to chew on the seeds during meetings.
Today fennel is still quite popular, grown throughout Europe and used in many Mediterranean dishes. Not only did the Greeks use it in their food, it was also used as a natural slimming aid and to increase milk of nursing mothers.
Fennel is still widely used around the world today. The United States, France, India and Russia are the top cultivators of fennel.
Fennel is a tall and hardy plant, and all of it can be eaten from the leaves right down to the roots. Fennel’s crunchy texture is similar to that of celery. Its unique taste often reminds you of the flavor of licorice or anise.
Even though the fennel plant gets the spotlight, the valuable health benefits of the fennel seeds are quite amazing due to the many nutrients packed in these tiny seeds.
Unlock Valuable Nutrients Found in Fennel Seeds
- Get relief from gas and improve digestion. The fiber content found in fennel helps the digestive system to absorb water, which stimulates the bowels to work more efficiently. Fennel seeds can relieve constipation. It helps improve digestion in the body by speeding up the breakdown of food molecules.
- Reduce cholesterol and balance blood sugar. Since fennel seeds are high in fiber they lessen the reabsorption of cholesterol in the bloodstream and help keep your arteries flowing clearly.
- Protects against free radical damage with high levels of flavonoid antioxidants, like quercetin and rutin. Antioxidants found in fennel are also anti-inflammatory. These can reduce the inflammation, pain, and effects of arthritis.
- Prevent cancer with the oil anethole that gives fennel it’s unique flavor. Anethole is a powerful anti-cancer agent. Fenchone, limonene, pinene, myrcene, chavicol and cineole are additional essential oils found within fennel and also cancer fighting compounds.
- The seeds are rich in minerals (copper, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc, magnesium). Being full of potassium, it can regulate your blood pressure, help manage insulin, and blood sugar levels.
- Loaded with vitamins: A, C, E and many of the B complex vitamins. The most active vitamin found in fennel seeds is vitamin C. High levels of vitamin C are crucial a strong immune system.
- Keep your eyesight sharp, the vitamin C in fennel helps reduce conditions related to premature aging and macular degeneration.
- Breathe easier with fennel. Phytonutrients found in fennel seeds can reduce asthma symptoms, relieve sore throats, and help clear sinuses.
- Used as a diuretic, it increases the frequency of urination. Fennel seeds help to remove toxic substances from the body and reduce swelling.
- Freshen your breath. Chewing on dried fennel seeds can improve oral health. The seeds sweet flavor kills bacteria naturally and fights halitosis. In India, they are eaten as an after-dinner digestif.
Take Advantage of the Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Every part of the fennel plant can be used to spice up your cooking or as an alternative medicine remedy.
Fennel seeds are often the easiest to find and add into your daily life. You can find it on the spice aisle of any grocery store… simply sprinkle on your food dishes, chew them after meals, or steep them in hot water for a soothing tea.
Some easy cooking ideas… sprinkle seeds on top of cakes or bread before baking, add to scrambled eggs or in fruit salads. Slice up fresh fennel root for added crunch to salads or add to your favorite sautéed veggie dish. Fennel goes great with fish dishes – especially salmon.
A word of caution, like many other plants, oils or remedies… consuming too much of anything is harmful. This is true for fennel as well, so make sure it is not eaten in large quantities.