Have you ever heard of fennel before? It’s that big white bulbous-looking vegetable in the supermarket with large green stems on top that have fluffy tendrils of string (similar texture to dill). If you haven’t, then it’s time you start!
The benefits of fennel are endless – it helps with a variety of health conditions and tastes great, too! One of my favourite juices is in fact, made with fennel.
This crunchy, licorice-like herb has been used as an alternative medicine for different ailments for centuries! And how it’s time to check them out:
1. Anti-Aging Effects
Fennel is one of the best sources of vitamin C. Vitamin C helps neutralize free radicals in the body, which when normally not dealt with, can result in cellular damage and premature aging. It is also high in Vitamin B, which when combined with vitamin C, creates a powerful duo for helping maintain good skin, while keeping collagen synthesis in check (that means tighter, firmer skin, folks!).
2. Cancer Preventative Properties
Aside from being high in fibre, which is a great way to help prevent colon cancer, fennel contains a host of vitamins, minerals and crucial phytonutrients that help prevent and protect against tumour formation. In particular, one anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called anethole, helps stop breast cancer cells from growing, according to this study. It helps reduce NF-kappa B and tumour necrosis factor (TNF), an inflammation-triggering molecule and cancer-signalling molecule, respectively.
3. Soothes Digestive Tract
One of the best benefits of fennel is its ability to heal and soothe the digestive tract. The essential oils in fennel, like anetol and cineole, have antibacterial and disinfectant properties (which help cure conditions like diarrhea), and the amino acids in fennel can help cure indigestion. It is also a very popular anti-flatulent, helping to expel excess gas from the stomach and relieving uncomfortable bloated feelings.
4. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Suffer from painful menstrual cramps? Fennel can help! By acting as an anti-spasmodic, fennel alleviates tense, sore muscles caused by cramps in the abdomen. It also contains many nutrients that are anti-inflammatory, which in and of itself, helps relieve pain associated with menstrual cramps.
5. Reduces Obesity
Fennel creates feelings of satiety after eating it, which helps prevent you from over-eating. It is a healthy source of fibre to keep you full, and helps boost your metabolism, too. It also acts as a diuretic, which reduces water retention – a common factor as to why we may look or feel bigger than we actually are. Fennel also helps dissolve fat deposits in the bloodstream, which can be used as an alternative energy source.
6. Protects Against Anemia
This beautiful herb contains a hefty amount of iron and the amino acid histidine. When your body is lacking iron, your body makes fewer and smaller red blood cells, which means less hemoglobin, and not enough oxygen that can reach your brain and other cells of the body. Histidine is also important for stimulating hemoglobin production, and forming other blood components.
7. Improves Brain Function
Potassium is a crucial electrolyte needed by the brain to conduct electrical impulses throughout the body. Fennel contains a good amount of potassium, so it therefore improves brain function and cognitive abilities. Potassium is also an effective vasodilator, which means more oxygen can reach the brain and improve functionality.
8. Cardiovascular Health
If you want to love your heart, eat fennel! It helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream (aka. eliminates damaging LDL cholesterol), which prevents against heart disease, atherosclerosis and strokes. It also helps lower high blood pressure thanks to its high potassium levels (potassium acts as a vasodilator, relaxing blood vessel tension and thereby reducing blood pressure).
9. Nourishes The Eyes
As previously mentioned, fennel is high in vitamin C and the amino acid, Arginine. These two compounds are needed for regeneration of tissues and prevention of aging – both of which contribute to eye health. Fennel also helps neutralize free radicals, which prevents pigment cells in our eyes from dying due to oxidative-stress induced damage.
10. Helps With Respiratory Disorders
Two expectorants in fennel, namely Cineole, and Anetol, help with respiratory disorders like congestion, bronchitis and chronic cough. These expectorants help break up phlegm and open up the throat and nasal passageways for faster elimination and better recovery from said respiratory conditions.