Fennel: Fun Facts & Benefits

January 13, 2015 1

Ingredient Spotlight: Fennel   Amongst the more popular representatives of the vegetable food group, the fennel is often a component that goes unrecognized in the realm of produce. It is a versatile plant with a rich and mysterious history, as members of ancient Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, Arab, Greek and Roman civilizations all made use of this herb, some utilizing it for the same reasons it is promoted today. The ancient Greek labeled the herb “Marathon,” from “Maraino,” which means to grow thin, hinting at it’s dietary effects that are still relevant now. The plant was used alternatively as a snake-bite remedy, an evil spirit deterrent hung above doors during medieval times, as well as a source of preoccupation during lengthy sermons, as attendees would often chew on fennel seeds to prevent stomach growling. I’m not sure about fennel being able to cure a venomous snake-bite or ward off a pesky evil spirit, however, after thorough research, I was able to gather an impressive collection of modern day fennel benefits:

1.) Fennel Strengthens Bones: Fennel is a great source of a variety of bone-strengthening vitamins, including iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K, all contributing to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

2.)Fennel Fosters Healthy Hearts: Equipped with a healthy dosage of fiber, fennel can help lower cholesterol totals in the bloodstream, effectively decreasing the risk of heart disease. In addition, it’s quantities of potassium, calcium, and magnesium all play a contributing role in lowering blood pressure.

3.) Fennel Fights Cancer: Fennel contains two important elements that aid in preventing cancer. Selenium, a considerably rare mineral, assists with the detoxification of cancer-causing compounds, decreases the growth rates of tumors, and boosts the production of killer-T cells that enhance the body’s immune system and response to infection. The second element, Folate, contributes to DNA synthesis and repair, which in turn hinders the formation cancer cell mutations within the DNA.

4.) Fennel Does Diets: Fennel can make a significant contribution to weight management efforts given the amount of dietary fibers it contains. These fibers effectively play the role of “bulking agents,” helping you feel fuller for extended periods of time, which assists in lowering the overall intake of calories. Also, due it’s fiber containment, fennel helps to bolster a healthy digestive track, in addition to preventing constipation.

5.) Fennel Supports Skin: Fennel is also an excellent source of Vitamin C, thus contributing to the creation of collagen, the skin’s natural support system that aids in the overall enhancement of skin texture.

Fennel is in season from mid-fall to early-spring (Right Now!), and can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of different ways. Need a place to start? Give these three recipes a look! Fennel is also featured in our juice: Looking Good is the Sweetest Revenge, so you can get your fennel fix on the go!

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