Fennel is a tall and light plant with blue foliage. The swelling at the base of the stem is what we eat. The seeds of fennel are also eaten: they can perfume the dishes and bread bringing an anise flavor and a crunchy taste.
Moreover, the fennel seed has a certain advantage, that the garlic could envy, it gives a good breath! Its aniseed flavor has not always seduced people, however, it is a shame, because fans of fennel are filled with its virtues and health benefits. In addition it is very low caloric so why deny it!
Origin and consumption patterns
Fennel is very widespread in the Mediterranean basin, it has long been found in southern Europe (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Turkey) and also in Germany and France.
The base of the plant is edible, cooked or raw in salad. The seeds are eaten or eaten as herbal tea. There is also an essential oil of fennel with relaxing virtues.
Fennel is very low in calories because it is 90% water, it has all the necessary nutrients to make it a healthy ally of choice!
Fennel is rich in:
- Minerals and trace elements: iron, phosphorus, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, zinc.
- Vitamins: C, E, B9 (folic acid), K.
The seeds contain phytoestrogens, flavonoids and phytonutrients, which helps to maintain a woman's proper hormonal balance.
Benefits of fennel
Fennel is very good for health thanks to the antioxidants, vitamins and minerals it contains. It is mainly in its seeds, generally consumed in the form of herbal tea, that one finds many benefits.
Here are many good reasons to eat fennel.
1. It improves digestion
Fennel contains a large amount of fiber, which is known for its benefits on intestinal transit. But that's not all: fennel also contains anethol, a substance that, although less known, has other benefits equally interesting digestive. Indeed, it helps to avoid the feeling of heaviness after meals.
Thanks to the action of these two components, fennel particularly helps fight against cramps and stomach pain, constipation and indigestion, bloating and flatulence.
It is especially the seeds of fennel which have a digestive power, thanks to their antispasmodic properties. It is generally recommended to drink them as an herbal tea after a meal. For this, pour a teaspoon of dried fennel seeds into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes.
2. It helps fight infantile colic
Fennel is also very good for the digestion of infants and young children. In case of colic, prepare an infusion in which you mix the fennel with verbena, chamomile, lemon balm and licorice.
3. It fights against inflammation of the airways
Fennel has expectorant and antimicrobial properties that work miracles for flu or colds. For this, consume it in the form of herbal tea. This will help decongest your airways and relieve their inflammation.
4. It prevents water retention
Its high potassium content makes fennel a natural diuretic. By preventing the retention of water, it helps fight against cellulite and swollen legs, but also against kidney stones.
5. It accompanies the diets
Fennel is a very interesting food for those who diet or want to keep their waistline under control. Indeed, it is composed of 90% water, which makes it very low in calories: there are about 25 calories per 100g. Some even say that in addition to that, it also helps to reduce the craving for sugar!
Thanks to its high fiber content, fennel also promotes the feeling of fullness, which helps us avoid snacking between meals. Finally, it also displays draining and diuretic properties, which prevent the swelling of certain parts of our body, such as the belly.
6. It helps women at every stage of their lives
No matter what stage of life women are in, they can make fennel a true ally. This is particularly due to its high phytoestrogen content, which is very similar to female hormones and can therefore help to overcome hormonal imbalances.
Thus, the fennel makes it possible to fight against the amenorrhea, which is none other than the name which one gives to the absence of menses. Thanks to its antioxidant and antispasmodic properties, it also helps regulate the menstrual cycle and fight against painful menstruation.
During pregnancy, fennel provides a good amount of folic acid (or vitamin B9) that contributes to the healthy development of the fetus. Once the baby is born, fennel can also be of great help during breastfeeding as it promotes lactation.
However, be careful not to use fennel essential oil during pregnancy and lactation. Indeed, unlike fennel in its natural form, the essential oil can be dangerous in these cases.
Later in life, women can also enjoy the benefits of fennel during menopause. Indeed, it helps to reduce the symptoms, including reducing hot flashes.
7. And so much more…
Fennel helps to heal:
- functional colopathy
- hypertension, when taken regularly in infusion (thanks to potassium)
- inflammation of respiratory disorders
- kidney stones
Fennel helps to improve:
- the hormonal balance
- vision (when it tends to decrease)
- appetite by stimulating it
- the muscular function of the colon
- bone health
Fennel is good for the hormonal health of women:
It acts in prevention:
- breast cancer (thanks to phytoestrogens)
- postmenopausal osteoporosis
People with allergic conditions may also develop an oral allergy to fennel. This can happen, for example, if you are allergic to pollen or vegetable protein.
If this happens to you, you will easily recognize it: you will have a stinging throat and burning mouth. Rest assured: in most cases, it is a temporary reaction that is not dangerous. However, this may give rise, in some rare cases, to anaphylactic shock that can be life-threatening. In any case, you should consult your doctor at the slightest sign of allergy.
In addition, it is usually strongly advised not to consume more than 7g of fennel a day, unless you follow a medical treatment controlled by your doctor.
- To have good breath: take a small packet of fennel seeds to chew during the day at appropriate times.
- To treat sinuses: inhale hot water vapors and fennel seeds (4-5 scoops for 1 liter).
- Against painful periods: drink fennel tea, start 3 days before menses.
- Against stomach upset: drink fennel tea or chew fennel seeds (1 teaspoon in a day).
How to cook fennel
Everything is eaten in fennel, from stems to leaves, flowers and seeds. Cooked or raw, fennel is easy to cook. In salad or as an accompaniment, the aniseed taste of its stems and leaves gives a delicate flavor.
It cooks well in salty or sweet dishes and will give a little more to your fruit salads.
Its flowers can be used to flavor dishes, which they will give a pleasant sweet taste. As for fennel seeds, they are generally used in herbal tea or as a condiment.