Healthy Inside, Radiant Outside
Fennel is high in vitamin C, providing almost half of the RDA in just one bulb. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that may help reduce free radical damage that can lead to premature aging. Vitamin C is also necessary for the formation of collagen and a powerful tool in protecting skin’s appearance, making it a good choice to naturally slow aging. A deficiency in vitamin C is called scurvy, which manifests in the inability to properly form collagen, leading to bleeding gums and bleeding below the skin. Due to these functions, adequate intakes of vitamin C are critical for reducing the appearance of wrinkles and maintaining healthy skin. The RDA is 60 mg/day, but more vitamin C from whole food sources will help keep skin healthy from the inside-out.
1. Fennel is a digestive tract saviour. The seeds have a compound that relaxes GI spasms, which allows gas to pass and relieve bloating, says Sass. You can also chew on the seeds directly or sip on a fennel tea at the end of a meal.
2. Fennel seeds have been used for centuries to stimulate digestion and relieve bloating. The key active constituent in fennel seeds is the terpenoid anethole which has been shown to inhibit spasms in smooth muscles, including those in the intestinal tract. With their mild, anise-like flavour, fennel seeds are used in many different types of dishes around the world.
In northern and central Europe, they are used in baking, particularly in breads. In Italy, fennel seeds are often added to sausages and meat dishes. In India, fennel seeds are one of the ingredients of panch poran, a spice blend which is used to flavour curries.
Note: Pregnant women are advised to avoid consuming fennel seeds in larger quantities.
Due to the calcium content, fennel can help maintain bone strength and health. Fennel contains about 115mg of calcium or approximately 10% of the RDA which can help increase calcium in your diet, especially for those who do not consume enough from other sources. But, calcium isn’t the only bone-strengthening nutrient found in the bulb, fennel also contains magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamin K, which all play a role in maintaining bone strength.
Fennel can help lower blood pressure and inflammation due to its high potassium content and low sodium content. Potassium works against sodium, helping to fight high blood pressure in the body. A diet high in potassium can reduce systolic blood pressure by 5.5 points when compared to a high sodium diet. But, don’t expect lower blood pressure overnight, it takes about four weeks of consuming a high potassium diet to see a drop in blood pressure.
Increases Satiety - Fiber contains no calories, but provides bulk, increasing satiety. Humans do not have the enzymes required to break down fiber, therefore it cannot be absorbed as calories. Fennel provides 7g of calorie-free, filling fiber. Studies show that diets high in fiber can help people to effectively lose weight. A 2001 study, found that participants who added 14 grams per day of fiber to their diets, without changing anything else, ate approximately 10% fewer calories per day and lost about 4 pounds over a period of 4 months.
Increasing fiber intake, by adding fennel and other high fiber foods to the diet may be a simple way to effortlessly feel more satisfied and to experience weight loss.
Fennel has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to help treat inflammatory conditions such as insect bites or sore throat. Fennel’s ability to decrease inflammation led researchers to investigate if fennel’s properties could be applied to other inflammatory diseases such as various forms of cancers. Fennel contains oil called anethole that has been shown in some clinical studies to be act as a natural cancer remedy, helping to reducing the growth of breast cancer cells. It is believed that anethole reduces inflammation that may lead to the development of cancer, although further research is needed to determine how it can be used exactly.
Other anti-inflammatory nutrients are also found in fennel, specifically selenium, a trace mineral that may help decrease cancer mortality rates. A large study of over 8,000 participants found that selenium did reduce mortality and decrease future incidences of cancer.
Macular degeneration is the leading cause of age-related vision loss. Although the exact cause is unknown, antioxidants that help reduce inflammation such as certain flavonoids, vitamin C, and zinc may help improve vision or slow the progress of the disease.
Fennel contains many of these vision-saving nutrients. Due to its high flavonoid, vitamin C, and mineral content it can help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, and may help prevent macular degeneration.