Is Fennel a Superfood?
What Is Fennel?
Fennel (Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare), which is most often associated with Italian cooking, is a hardy, perennial herb. It is a relative of parsley, carrot and coriander. Fennel bulb can be consumed raw or cooked.
Fennel Has Licorice-Like Flavor
Fennel has licorice-like flavor. Fennel bulbs have the texture of celery. It has a rich history that dates back to ancient times. According to Greek mythology, fennel stalks were used to carry knowledge down from Gods to men.
Is fennel part of your diet?
Fennel Is a Superfood
One Cup (~87 g) Of Raw Sliced Fennel Contains:
Fennel Is Usually Associated With Italian Cooking
How frequently do you use fennel?
Fennel Is Good For Health
Fennel Health Benefits
Fennel has many health benefits. Here is a brief overview of some of them.
Strengthens the Immune System
Vitamin C in fennel boosts immunity. It promotes optimal functioning of the immune system. It prevents diseases, and also helps you recover quickly should you fall ill.
Fennel removes dangerous LDL cholesterol from the body. LDL cholesterol increases the risk of coronary artery disease. Add fennel bulb salad to your diet.
Antioxidants in this versatile vegetable, including vitamin C, protects the body from damage caused by free radicals, thereby preventing various cancers. Fiber in fennel prevents colon cancer by removing carcinogenic substances from the colon.
Plant nutrients in fennel, like quercetin, rutin and anethole are well-known for their antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Anethole prevents cancer by shutting down TNF (tumor necrosis factor).
Prevents Heart Attack and Stroke
Homocysteine is a non-protein α-amino acid. High levels of this compound are linked to early development of heart disease and stroke. Folate in fennel converts homocysteine into harmless molecules, thereby preventing heart attack and stroke. Potassium in fennel reduces hypertension, which is another risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Uncontrolled inflammation can cause many diseases, including heart disease. Antioxidants in fennel, like quercetin and rutin, combats chronic inflammation, thereby reducing the risk of heart disease. Fiber in fennel promotes a healthy cardiovascular system.
With the advent of processed food, which has potassium removed, studies suggest that there has been a decrease in our overall potassium intake. This can be dangerous.
Fennel Is Rich in Potassium
A fennel bulb contains more than 960 mg of potassium, approximately 25 percent of the recommended daily intake for adults. According to the American Heart Association, foods that contain potassium are necessary for managing high blood pressure because potassium balances out the negative effects of sodium.
Promotes Bone Health
Nutrients in this highly prized vegetable, including phosphorus, iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, vitamin K and manganese, keep your bones strong and healthy. A fennel bulb contains 115 mg of calcium, just less than 10 per cent of the recommended daily intake for older adults. Calcium-rich foods prevent osteoporosis.
Iron in fennel is the chief constituent of hemoglobin. Fennel contains histidine, which stimulates the production of hemoglobin; it also facilitates the formation of other blood components. Folate in fennel prevents anemia.
Fennel is low in calories and an excellent source of dietary fiber. One cup of fennel contains 2.9 g of fiber and less than 30 calories (a healthy balanced diet for older adults includes 25-38 grams of fiber per day). Dietary fiber in fennel fills you up, making it ideal for weight control.
Good for the Nervous System
The Office of Dietary Supplements at the National Institutes of Health recommends adults aim to intake 400 mcg of folate daily (the equivalent of 0.4 milligrams)
One cup of chopped fennel contains around 23 mcg of folate. Folate deficiency negatively impacts the nervous system. Folate is important to maintain a healthy nervous system.
Provides Relief from Menstrual Pain
Abdominal cramps are common during menstruation. There is evidence that fennel may help to significantly reduce cramping in safer and more natural way than NSAIDs.
Eases Menopause Symptoms
A research study suggests that phytoestrogens in fennel help manage postmenopausal symptoms. Good news is, they do not pose adverse effects. The study was published in Menopause, a journal of The North American Menopause Society.
The research study consisted of a randomized, triple-blind trial. It comprised of 90 Iranian women aged between 45 and 60 years, who lived in Tehran.
Participants were given capsules containing 100 mg of fennel every day, twice daily, for a period of eight weeks. They were divided into two groups of 45 women: one that received the treatment and one that received placebo.
Using Menopause Rating Scale researcher scientists compared the results of the treatment group with those of the placebo group at 4, 8, and 10-week intervals after the intervention began.
Based on responses, fennel was found to be an effective and safe treatment to reduce menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women without serious side effects.
The study revealed significantly lower MRS scores in patients who had received the treatment compared with the placebo group.
Another study was published in the journal Menopause. Researchers studied the effects of fennel capsules on a group of 79 women between the ages of 45 and 60. Results indicated that fennel was significantly effective in reducing menopause symptoms.
This small pilot study found that, on the basis of a Menopause Rating Scale, twice-daily consumption of fennel as a phytoestrogen improved menopause symptoms compared with an unusual minimal effect of placebo. A larger, longer, randomized study is still needed to help determine its long-term benefits and side effect profile.— Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of NAMS
Good For the Digestive System
As mentioned in a 2012 review, which was published in the International Journal of Food Science and Nutrition, plants that improve digestion usually belong to one of three groups: bitter, pungent and aromatic. Throughout the research, fennel, peppermint, ginger and aniseed have all been identified as some of the most effective.
Fennel acts as an anti-spasmodic agent within the colon. It provides relief from involuntary muscle spasms. This superfood not only cures cramps and indigestion, but also prevents colon cancer. It removes carcinogens from the digestive tract.
If you are tired of lettuce, tomatoes, carrots and celery, if you are bored of all the “normal” vegetables in your refrigerator and cupboards, try fennel. Fennel bulbs have a mildly sweet, refreshing, delicious flavor. The leaves make a great garnish for salads, soups and more.
Should fennel not be part of your diet?
- Fennel is a perennial herb.
- Fennel contains B-vitamins.
- Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C.
- Fennel removes bad cholesterol.
- Fennel prevents cancer, anemia, heart attack and stroke.
- Fennel strengthens the bones.
I think it's very expensive to not eat healthy. Eating healthy is the only affordable option we have left.— Marcus Samuelsson
© 2017 Srikanth R