Fennel and fennel seed have played a role in Mediterranean and Middle-Eastern cuisines for centuries. They have a licorice-like taste and bring life to soups, stews and salads, but there is much more to it than that as fennel seeds also have some amazing health properties.
We used organic fennel seed as part of our “digestive support” matrix in the bestselling DetoxOrganics superfood mix. Prior to including it we spent countless hours researching it and were very impressed with what we discovered—by the time you finish reading about the benefits of fennel seed yourself, we’re sure you will be just as impressed.
To read more about healthy roots, spices and herbs that can work wonders on your health and wellbeing, checkout these superfood guides:
There are a number of studies out there that have linked the oils in fennel to improved digestion, alleviating the symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, excessive flatulence and even constipation.
One of the most promising studies analyzed the effects of fennel essential oil when used in combination with turmeric, another powerful superfood, and found that they were able to drastically improve the symptoms of IBS.
There is a wealth of anecdotal evidence out there that also supports the use of fennel as a digestive aid. Thousands of people swear by it and it has been used in traditional medicines as a digestive aid for centuries. Now, it seems that modern medicine is finally catching up.
Not only are the unique essential oils in fennel (found in the plant and the seed) useful for treating digestive issues, but the vegetable itself is loaded with fiber and other nutrients, all of which can help to sooth digestive distress.
A diuretic is something that increases urination, flushing excess water out of the body. They can be particularly useful if you are detoxing from a sodium-rich diet, because sodium forces the body to retain water while diuretics help it to let go of that water.
The problem with diuretics is that they can be very strong, and caution is essential when they are used to excess or when the user has a preexisting health condition. With fennel, however, the diuretic action is much more gentle, helping to shed that excess water without risking dehydration.
As well as being useful during a detox, it may also help to cure edema, a condition that results in an uncomfortable, painful and occasionally immobilizing build-up of water in the extremities.
Fennel is rich in antioxidants, which help to eliminate cancer-causing cells known as “free radicals”. One 2011 study found that fennel seeds inhibited liver cancer cells, which means it could help to stop cancer cells in their tracks.
As with any substances labelled as “anti cancerous” a lot more research needs to be done before anyone can say for certain whether they can be used to directly treat or prevent the disease. But fennel certainly displays a lot of promise in this area and could be one of the many superfoods you need to equip your body against the Big C.
Anything that is rich in fiber and antioxidants is always going to help with weight loss because the fiber fills you up and improves digestion, while the antioxidants keep your body functioning at optimal levels, potentially converting more fat to energy.
But there seems to be more to fennel and fennel seeds than fiber and antioxidants. One Korean study found that fennel tea, a basic infusion made form hot water and fennel seeds, helped to suppress appetite in healthy individuals, potentially leading to decreased consumption of energy-dense foods and a reduced daily calorie intake.
This, combined with the fiber, the antioxidants and the diuretic effect (less water means more definition) makes fennel a great addition to any weight loss program.
Fennel seeds have been used as a natural oral hygiene product for centuries. They are chewed to release sharp, bitter compounds that have antibacterial properties and can reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth, eliminating bad breath, reducing the formatting of plaque and even helping to whiten the enamel.
These compounds also increase the production of saliva. This helps to flush out bad bacteria and may also help to reduce acid reflux as saliva can neutralize the acid when swallowed.
The seeds are quite pleasant to chew and are a great alternative to chemical-laden mouthwash and chewing gum. Just grab a couple, chow down and see if you can taste, feel and smell the benefits for yourself.
Bonus Benefit: Improves Menstrual Symptoms
There are so many health benefits to fennel seeds that we just couldn’t stop at 5. In fact, when you include the animal studies and anecdotal evidence there are over 20 apparent health benefits to consuming fennel. We had to narrow it down to just five, and even then we realized that we just had to squeeze one more in there:
This substance can also be used to improve menstrual symptoms, as studies have shown that it can improve hormonal symptoms in post-menopausal women, while some experts also believe that eating fennel can help to reduce hot flushes and cramps caused by menstruation.
Conclusion: Best Way to Take Fennel Seed
Fennel works well in salads, while fennel seeds can be added to many hot and spicy foods. But neither of these things will offset a bad diet or lifestyle, and they won’t be a quick fix to cure you of all that ails you.
You need to consume them as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, because if all you’re doing is adding fennel seeds to a diet rich in sodium, trans fats and sugar, then no amount of them will undo the damage that your diet does.
If you struggle to get your daily allowance of fruits and vegetables, take DetoxOrganics instead. We currently have an offer on 2 tubs, which are enough to give you a host of superfood fruits, vegetables and extracts (fennel seed included), for 60 days!