Many herbs and spices have multiple uses in our lives, from enhancing culinary dishes to improving our health. While fennel seeds are popular in the culinary world, many people are unaware of the versatility of the seed regarding its health benefits. In this article, we’ll share everything you could possibly hope to learn about fennel seeds.
Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds
If you ever purchased a spice rack full of herbs and spices or received one as a gift, there are probably a few spices you haven’t used. If fennel seeds are one of those unused or rarely touched spices, it’s time to start incorporating fennel in your daily life.
Not only is the fennel spice used frequently in a variety of food dishes, but it also has numerous health benefits. Even if your spice cabinet is missing fennel seed, it’s worth picking up a bottle or two to make life healthier.
Utilizing the herbs and spices from your kitchen cabinet is often a convenient and easy way to treat some of the most simple and common health ailments. Fennel seeds are also a cheaper alternative to many OTC products. The fennel seed benefits are diverse in treating everything from lowering cholesterol to increasing breast milk production.
Although fennel seeds are safe to consume, it’s always a good idea to talk with your doctor before incorporating something new into your diet or when self-treating an ailment.
While fennel seeds are popular in medicinal uses, its use is equally as popular in the culinary world. If you’ve ever noticed black licorice or anise-like notes in your foods, you are likely tasting the seeds from the fennel herb plant. The whole plant can be used in a variety of dishes, but the seeds are popular as a savory spice and as a flavoring base.
While the seeds are commonly used in fish, cheese spreads and vegetable dishes, it plays a large role in the flavoring of bread, cakes, and other pastries. To best experience the aromatic flavor of the seed, many lightly toast the seeds before incorporating into a recipe.
What is the Fennel Seed
You may be wondering, “what is fennel seed?” The fennel plant is native to the Mediterranean region but is grown in various parts across the globe. Depending on where you live, you can grow fennel in your own garden, too.
The fennel plant can reach about five feet in height, has green feathery leaves, and golden-yellow flowers in umbels (or clusters). Many people unfamiliar with fennel, mistaken it for a dill plant. The seeds, which look like anise seeds (and bears a similar flavor), are harvested when they turn a light brown. Fennel seeds are just one of the many parts of the fennel plant that is used.
Where does it come from?
The seeds are harvested from the fennel plant and can be purchased in the spice section of any grocery store or online. You can also purchase fennel seeds to grow the plant in your garden. One of the benefits of growing fennel is harvesting the seeds on your own for personal use and to plant the following year.
9 things to know about Fennel Seeds importance in a Healthy Life
It’s easy to overlook spices we know little about or rarely use. Since it has so many medicinal purposes and can enhance a variety of culinary delights, it’s beneficial to learn more about the fennel seed and how it can improve our lives.
Whether you are trying the spice for the first time or want to learn how to get the most from the seeds, read on:
We hear a lot of talk about antioxidants, but do you know what they are and their purpose? Antioxidants protect our bodies from the damage caused by “free radicals”. We become exposed to free radicals when the body breaks down certain medicines, through pollutants, and during the normal processes that take place in your body.
Antioxidants are believed to reduce our risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, and Arthritis. We get our antioxidants from vitamins and through our foods. Fennel has its own combination of antioxidants, including flavonoids, rutin, quercetin, and Vitamin C. Due to its antioxidant properties, the health benefits of fennel seeds are great.
Source of Dietary Fiber
If you struggle to get enough fiber in your diet, fennel seeds are a great source. The recommended daily amount (RDA) of fiber is 38 grams for men under the age of 50 and 30 grams for men over 50. Women under the age of 50 should get at least 25 grams while women over 50 should get at least 21 grams.
100g of seeds provide 39.8 grams of fiber, which is well above the RDA. Incorporating fennel seeds into your diet can result in fiber benefits like lowering LDL cholesterol levels, reducing colon cancer, and helping to regulate and maintain healthy bowels.
Essential Oil Compounds
Essential oils have many aromatherapy benefits. Look in your medicine cabinet, and you may have a few bottles of oil blends that you use for everything from cleaning to relaxation. The benefits of fennel seeds can be found in fennel essential oil which has important compounds, anethole, fenchone, and estragole.
Among the many fennel remedies, fennel essential oil has antiseptic properties that can prevent wounds and incisions from becoming infected. Fennel oil is antispasmodic, which means that it has a relaxing effect on nerves, muscles, intestines, and the respiratory system, preventing painful and potentially fatal spasms.
Relieves Water Tension
Our bodies are made up of over 50% of water, but sometimes we have too much. As a result, it’s common to feel or look bloated, feel uncomfortable, and suffer from edema (swelling) in our face, legs, tummy, ankles, and feet. Many people, hoping to get rid of excess water weight, invest in diuretics.
Unlike OTC diuretics, fennel seed tea is natural and helps to flush toxins out of your body. While many people love the quick results of fennel seed tea, it’s important to make sure you stay adequately hydrated.
Relieves Menstrual Problems
Fennel seed benefits women who struggle with an irregular menstrual cycle. The emmenagogue properties in the seeds help to promote and regulate menstrual flow. It is also known to offer relief from pain dysmenorrhea (severe cramping) and mood swings.
Source of Many Vitamins
We already know that fennel seeds are a great source of dietary fiber, but they are also a source of many vitamins. The seeds include potassium, which is essential to heart health, and Vitamin C, which can reduce the risk of certain cancers and boost your immune system.
Other vitamins in fennel include Manganese, which is good for bone health and structure, magnesium reduces body aches, and calcium helps to keep your bones strong. Additional vitamin and minerals include molybdenum, copper, phosphorus, folate, iron, and niacin.
Great for Acne
Acne isn’t just a skin problem for teens. Regardless of your age, eating fennel seeds on a regular basis can keep your skin looking healthy and glowing. Selenium, zinc, and calcium help to balance hormones, which in turn help the oxygen balance (aiding in clearer skin).
Treats Respiratory Problems & Asthma Symptoms
Respiratory problems affect people of all ages, year-round. Whether you are suffering from a cold, a sinus infection, chronic respiratory issues, or even asthma, fennel seeds act as an expectorant. Expectorants make it easier to cough and clear away mucus.
How to Use Fennel Seeds
Now that you know a little more about fennel seeds and their many health benefits, you may be wondering how to use fennel seeds. When using fennel seeds in cooking or baking, you can lightly toast the seeds, leave whole, or lightly grind them. Sprinkle them on salads or mix them into a bread dough. Remember, you don’t need that many seeds to meet your daily fiber intake.
Many people choose to eat fennel seeds for a good source of fiber and helps in creating a feeling of fullness. If you prefer to reap the benefits of fennel seeds through tea, crush up to one to two tablespoons of the seeds. Put the crushed seeds in a mug of hot water, cover, and let steep for 8 to 10 minutes. Strain out the seeds and sweeten the tea with honey if you prefer.
Tea can be consumed two to three times a day until your symptoms improve (depending on the ailment you are treating). If you don’t want to strain out seeds, you may make your own tea bag or purchase fennel tea. The tea bags are also a quick and easy remedy for puffy eyes. You may also use a concentrated tea to gargle or swish around in your mouth.
If you prefer to use fennel essential oil, follow the directions on the product container and be sure to dilute appropriately.