eating fennel is a tasty way to provide your body with healthful benefits. This aromatic, slightly sweet herb has long been common in Mediterranean cuisine. The pale green bulb, along with the long stalks, leaves and seeds, are edible and fennel's seeds, roots and leaves have been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Adding fennel to your meals not only enhances the flavor of your foods, but also gives your body a boost of nutrition.
Fennel contains vitamins A and C. These two powerful antioxidants protect your body from free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can damage cells. According to Stanford Medicine Cancer Institute, antioxidants may be linked to a reduced risk in developing cancer. A 1-cup serving of fennel contains 10.4 milligrams of vitamin C, which is 17 percent of the daily values set by the FDA, and 838 International Units of vitamin A, which is also 17 percent of the FDA's recommended DV.
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Fiber, a form of carbohydrate found in plant foods, is the part of the plant humans are not able to digest. According to Harvard School of Public Health, fiber has long been considered part of a healthy diet because this roughage appears to decrease the risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, diverticular disease and constipation. Each 1-cup serving of fresh fennel contains 2.7grams of fiber, which is more than 10 percent of DV set by the FDA.
Certain herbs, known as carminatives, help aid in the movement of body gas. Carminative herbs, such as fennel, are rich in essential oils that help relax the stomach and stimulate the movement of the digestive system, which aids in preventing gas formation. Fennel has traditionally been used not only to relieve flatulence, bloating and gas discomfort, but also to stimulate appetite and digestion.
Maintains Proper Body Functions
Potassium is essential to many functions in your body that support health. Potassium aids in the activation of important enzymes in carbohydrate and protein metabolism. It's essential in the conversion of glucose to glycogen. Potassium also plays an important role in maintaining your body's fluid balance and is necessary for proper muscle contraction, nerve cell firing and kidney function. A 1-cup serving of fresh fennel provides 360 milligrams of the mineral potassium, which is 10 percent of the DV set by the FDA.
Inflammation and Cancer Prevention
Substances in fennel have been linked to decreased inflammation and reduced cancer risk. A study published in "Oncogene" in June 2008 found that anethole, a major component responsible for fennel's aroma and distinctive flavor, has been shown to block both inflammation and carcinogenesis, which is the onset of cancer. While the inflammation process helps protect our body from damage and disease after injury, long-term inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, can be harmful and even deadly to your body.
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- Oncogene: Anethole Blocks Both Early and Late Cellular Responses Transduced By Tumor Necrosis Factor
- USDA National Nutrient Database: Fennel
- New York University Langone Medical Center: Dyspepsia
- Frostburg State University: Chemistry, Physics, Engineering, and Biology Department: Why is Potassium Necessary in the Diet?
- Stanford Medicine: Cancer Institute: Nutrition to Reduce Cancer Risk
- Harvard School of Public Health: Fiber: Start Roughing It!
- ND Health Facts: Carminative
- Stanford University Huntington's Outreach Project for Education: About Inflammation
Karen Curinga has been writing published articles since 2003 and is the author of multiple books. Her articles have appeared in "UTHeath," "Catalyst" and more. Curinga is a freelance writer and certified coach/consultant who has worked with hundreds of clients. She received a Bachelor of Science in psychology.