Fennel seed is an aromatic spice from fennel plants that originated in the Mediterranean but is now grown and used around the world. I have used fennel seed over the years to cook with, but there are many other reasons to use fennel seed that I didn’t really think of before! There are a number of health benefits of fennel seeds that we’ll outline in this post. Fennel Seed
What does fennel seed taste like?
Fennel seed has a sweet, aromatic anise or licorice flavor. The taste is similar to star anise or tarragon. When used sparingly, fennel provides a subtle sweetness without being overpowering.
1. Rich in Nutrients
Fennel seeds contain a wide array of vitamins and minerals including vitamins C, E, and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, copper, and manganese. Just 1 tablespoon of fennel seeds provides 20% of your daily vitamin C needs. The potassium in fennel seed may help reduce high blood pressure levels.
The vitamin E in fennel is good for your body and particularly the skin. It helps reduce the UV damage to skin cells and relieves skin dryness.
2. Packed with Antioxidants
Fennel is brimming with powerful antioxidants like quercetin, kaempferol, and rutin. These compounds fight free radicals in your body to prevent oxidative damage linked to chronic disease. The antioxidants in fennel also have anti-inflammatory effects. This is one of my favorite reasons to use fennel seed!
3. May Aid Digestion
Fennel seed has long been used as a digestive aid. Compounds like anethole block spasms in the small intestine to reduce bloating and gas. Fennel also relaxes the gut to alleviate constipation and diarrhea. The fiber content is also beneficial for good digestive health.
4. Eases Menstrual Cramps
For women, fennel tea or supplements may relieve painful menstrual cramps. The antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties ease muscle spasms and inflammation for more comfortable periods. Try sipping fennel tea several days before your period starts. How to Manage Your Period During an Emergency
Some women have also found fennel seed to help offset menopausal symptoms. Consult your health professional if you have questions or want guidance regarding how best to use it.
5. Fights Bad Breath
Chewing fennel seeds freshens your breath naturally. The antibacterial effects kill odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. Anethole, the main component of fennel oil, prevents bacterial growth and provides minty fresh breath. Basic Oral Hygiene Tips Everyone Needs You take some fennel extract and mix it with water to create your own breath freshener. Gargle the fennel seed extract mixture or just swish it around your mouth for the desired effect.
6. May Suppress Appetite
Fennel is thought to act as a natural appetite suppressant. Animal studies show fennel extracts reduce food intake to promote weight loss. The fiber also leaves you feeling full. Enjoy fennel tea before meals or use fennel seed powder in cooking. 10 Healthy Foods Under $1
7. Boosts Milk Production
For breastfeeding mothers, fennel can help boost the milk supply. Add fennel to your diet in moderation or drink fennel tea a few times per day. Fennel may have some benefits for breastfeeding infants by reducing the occurrence of colic symptoms.
8. Fights Fungus
Fennel has powerful antifungal abilities against common pathogens like Candida albicans. Fennel oil extracts and teas make it harder for fungus to grow and spread. For fungal issues, use fennel topically or add it to your meals.
9. Protects Heart Health
The antioxidants in fennel prevent cholesterol from forming plaque in arteries. Fennel also relaxes blood vessels to lower your heart rate and blood pressure. These effects reduce your risk of heart disease, heart attack, and stroke. Relaxation Techniques for Preppers
Vitamin K is an essential nutrient for good heart health and to strengthen your bones.
10. May Prevent Cancer
Certain compounds in fennel seeds exhibit anti-cancer effects. In studies, fennel blocked the growth and spread of breast, liver, colon, and lung cancer cells.
11. Has Antimicrobial Effects
Fennel oil and extracts have antibacterial and antiviral effects against dangerous pathogens. For example, fennel is effective against E.coli, Salmonella, Staphylococcus aureus, and Bacillus species bacteria.
12. Improves Immune Function
The high vitamin C content in fennel gives your immune system a boost. Vitamin C ramps up the production of white blood cells in your body. This strengthens your defenses. Is Vitamin C Really Good for You?
13. Detoxifies the Body
Fennel acts as a diuretic to flush excess fluids and toxins from the body. It also stimulates the production of bile to aid digestion and quicken the elimination of toxins. These effects help cleanse the body of harmful substances.
14. Fights Inflammation
The anti-inflammatory effects of fennel can provide relief from arthritis, gout, and other inflammatory conditions. Compounds like anethole block enzymes that trigger swelling. Applying fennel oil brings more of these benefits to target areas for better joint and bone health. 20 Uses for Aloe Around the House
15. Has Antiviral Effects
Extracts of fennel seed help stop certain viruses. Though more research is needed, fennel shows promise as an antiviral agent.
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How do you use fennel seeds in cooking?
Fennel seeds can be used to flavor a variety of savory dishes. Add them directly to salads, soups, stews, sauces, marinades, bread, and pasta. You can also toss them with roasted vegetables or grind them to make fennel salt or spice rubs. Use them sparingly as they have a strong flavor.
Should fennel seeds be cooked?
You can use fennel seeds raw or cooked. Cooking mellows out the anise flavor and makes it sweeter. Dry roasting before use also mellows the flavor. For raw use, add at the end of cooking.
What are your reasons for using fennel seed? You can buy fennel seed at your local supermarket and start eating it! You can also use it in your recipes. I think it’s just something small that has a bunch of different effects that you can easily enjoy for a low cost. If you’re looking to live a little healthier, then this may be something small you can do to make big changes in your life. Let me know if you’ve ever used fennel seed! May God Bless this World, Linda
Copyright Images: Fennel Dried In A Bowl Depositphotos_368055730_S by Nazilekeskin