It’s easy to fall in love with fennel at first bite. Its crisp, crunchy texture and aromatic taste has endeared it to my kitchen for a lifetime. Fennel has the distinct ability to leave you feeling fresh and has even been used for centuries as a digestive remedy. Science has show us it is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, carminative, diuretic and antispasmodic agent. It is also know for its antimicrobial activity against different bacteria. This most likely is due to the presence of different active phyto-compounds.
Many folks will say that it tastes like licorice crossed with celery, but, in fact, it’s sweeter and juicer than celery. And it doesn’t have an overwhelming licorice taste, but instead just a hint that mellows completely when cooked. At only 28 calories a cup and with good amounts of vitamins A, B and C, fennel may become your new best friend in the produce department.
Five Amazing Facts About Fennel
1. Fennel relieves digestive upset and colic in babies: Fennel is known in herbal medicine as a carminative. (1) A carminative is an herb that coats the esophagus and gastrointestinal lining to soothe heartburn, relieve indigestion and prevent flatulence. Try mixing some fennel in with the baby food to prevent discomfort from colic! (2)
2. Try fennel to combat symptoms of PMS: Like many other herbs, fennel has diuretic properties that will not deplete your body of potassium (a much needed electrolyte that is instrumental in cardiac health). (3) The diuretic properties of fennel can relieve PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping and general edema without any side effects.
3. Eating fennel during pregnancy may guard against heart disease for the baby later in life: Fennel contains dietary isoflavones that are similar to the phytoestrogens found in the soybean. These isoflavones have been shown in animal studies to reduce a baby’s risk of heart disease later in life if consumed by the mother during pregnancy. (4) Keep eating that fennel after the baby is born! Fennel acts as a galactogauge by increasing the production of breast milk from the mammary glands.
4. Fennel is a high potency antioxidant: Fennel is not usually on the top of the list when antioxidants come to mind, but this incredible herb is packed with alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) that mops up all of those disease-causing free radicals. (5) So stock up on fennel to boost your immunity for this cold and flu season!
5. Fennel can help combat the toxic effects of chemotherapy: When our body undergoes conventional cancer treatment, chemotherapy drugs can become toxic to the liver and kidneys. Fennel has been shown in studies to reduce the level of toxicity these drugs have on our organs and protect us from further damage. (6)
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1. Chittora Manish; Veer, Chandra: "Biology and biotechnology of fennel." International Journal of Bioassays, [S.l.], v. 2, n. 12, p. 1616-1619, dec. 2013. ISSN 2278-778X.
2. Irina Alexandrovich, MD, Olga Rakovitskaya, MD, Elena Kolmo, MD, Tatyana Sidorova,MD, Sergei Shushunov, MD: "The effects of fennel seed oil emulsion in infantile colic" Alternative Therapies, July/Aug 2003, Vol. 9 No. 4
3. Anita Dua, Gaurav Garg, Ritu Mahajan: "Polyphenols, flavonoids and antimicrobial properties of methanolic extract of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Miller)" European Journal of Experimental Biology, 2013, 3(4):203-208
4. Emmanuelle Souzeau, Sonia Be ́langer, Sylvie Picard, and Christian F. Deschepper: "Dietary isoflavones during pregnancy and lactation provide cardioprotection to offspring rats in adulthood" Experimental Cardiovascular Biology Research Unit, Quebec, Canada. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 289: H715–H721, 2005.
5. Vivek Kumar Gupta and Surendra Kumar harm: "Plants as natural antioxidants" Rajendra Institute of Technology & Science, Sirsa-125 005, Haryana, India. Natural Product Radiance, Vol. 5(4), 2006, pp. 326-334.
6. Naglaa M Ebeed , Halima S Abdou, Hoda F. Booles, Sherifa H Salah, Ekram S Ahmed and Kh. Fahmy: "Antimutagenic and Chemoprevention Potentialities of Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) Hot Water Crude Extract" Department of Genetics, Faculty of Agric., Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt 2. Department of Cell Biology, National Research Center, Dokki, Egypt: Journal of American Science 2010;6(9)