Spices & Herbs: Fennel

Native to Mediterranean shores, fennel is a flowering plant species in the carrot family.  Its aromatic seeds are known to offer a wide range of nutritional properties that improve health.  Fennel seeds have a licorice or anise aroma and flavor, and can be consumed whole on their own or used in cooking.  They are commonly used in sweet and savory dishes around the world and can be added to breads and crackers before baking as well as used in spice blends and seasonings for fish, poultry, and seafood. To enhance their flavor, lightly toast the fennel seeds in a dry pan before using.

Lovers of food and post-food refreshments, Indians love fennel seeds and commonly consume them after meals to aid in digestion.  However, refreshment is not these tiny seeds’ sole purpose.  They are also essential for their indispensable medicinal and culinary practices.

Dried fennel seeds are low calories and rich in vitamins (A, C, E, and K), minerals (calcium, magnesium, zinc, potassium, selenium, and iron), fiber, and antioxidants such as polyphenol.

Fennel seeds contain an aromatic essential oil with antibacterial properties that help to freshen breath.  Munching on these sweet seeds increases saliva secretion which helps kill the harmful bacteria and help combat bad breath.  Though small in size, fennel seeds have a high fiber content which may also improve digestive health.

Essential oils in fennel seeds stimulate the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes that improve digestion.  Anethole, fenchone and estragole, compounds found in fennel seeds, act as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory and are helpful for constipation, indigestion, gas  and bloating.  Consuming fennel tea is thought to help keep the digestive tract healthy.

Fennel seeds are rich in potassium which is known to help control heart rate and blood pressure.

Fennel seeds are rich in phytonutrients which help clear sinuses.  They also facilitate bronchial relaxation which helps reduce symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and congestion.

Rich in antioxidant compounds that neutralize free radicals, fennel seeds are believed to have anti-cancerous properties.

Fennel extract protects the skin from free radical damage and improves skin cell longevity and are widely used to treat acne, rashes and dry skin.

The essential oils and fibers in fennel seeds help to purify your blood and flush toxic compounds out of your b0dy.







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