India being one of the largest exporters of fennel seeds/saunf (as it is popularly known), uses it voraciously due to all the benefits it provides. People from diverse cultures prefer consuming fennel seeds owing to its various medicinal properties. For instance, Indian families often consume fennel seeds after having their meal for healthier and faster digestion.
Fennel seeds are often interlinked to ‘longevity’ and are known for offering a wide range of nutritional properties that aid in improving the well being of a human body. Moreover, fennel seeds offer a concentrated source of different minerals that are vital for the regulation of blood pressure as well as for the retention of water inside our body.
What are Fennel Seeds?
Fennel seeds have a crunchy texture on the outside with a mildly sweet flavor. It is also widely used as a mouth freshener. Fennel seeds closely resemble anise seeds in terms of appearance, and are extracted from fennel plants. They contain multiple nutrients like Vitamin K, Vitamin E, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus, and is a good source of Vitamin C. One serving of fennel seeds contains 1% of the RDI (Recommended Dietary Intake) for Vitamin C, which acts as a dynamic antioxidant for your body, protecting your skin from any damages caused by the sun, smoke, or pollution.
Nutritional Facts of Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are usually consumed in the quantity of one tablespoon per serving, and the nutrition value it provides can be found below:
|Nutrients||Nutritional Value (per tablespoon – 6g)|
Let’s take a further look at some other details about fennel seeds, and understand how the seeds can help us in maintaining our diet and meeting the goals we have set for ourselves.
Benefits of fennel seeds
Fennel seeds contain powerful antioxidants and phytonutrients that makes them a highly nutritious source with many health benefits, which are as follows:
1. Regulates blood pressure
The Journal of Food Science published a study which showed that chewing fennel seeds helps in increasing the level of nitrite in saliva. Nitrite is a natural element that keeps a check on the blood pressure levels. In addition to this, fennel seeds are also rich in potassium which helps in controlling the blood pressure and heart rate.
2. Great for skin problems
Regular consumption of fennel seeds provide minerals such as selenium, calcium, and zinc. These minerals are crucial for balancing hormones while maintaining the oxygen balance in your bloodstream. These minerals impart a cooling and soothing effect on the skin, providing it with a healthy glow. Fennel seeds also offer various ayurvedic properties that help in treating other skin ailments like rashes and dryness. Applying a paste of fennel seeds is highly beneficial for the skin as the aforementioned minerals are absorbed by the skin, and keeps it moist, clean, and healthy.
3. Purifies Blood
The vital fiber and essential oils in fennel seeds are considered highly useful for flushing out sludge and toxins from our bodies, thereby, helping in cleansing the blood which further helps in optimum absorption of nutrients in the body. The polyphenol antioxidants in fennel seeds also have anti-inflammatory properties that help in fighting various bacteria and viruses, keeping you safe from various diseases.
4. Helps in improving eyesight
Adding a couple tablespoons of fennel seeds to your diet regularly can help in enhancing your vision. They contain a high amount of vitamin A, an essential component for excellent vision. In ancient times, extracts from fennel seeds were used for treating people who were affected with glaucoma.
5. Reduces water retention and suppress appetite
Drinking fennel tea regularly helps in flushing out excess fluids from your body. Fennel tea works like a diuretic. Moreover, it also helps in reducing the chances of urinary tract diseases and removing toxins from the kidney. It also includes diaphoretic properties that help in stimulating perspiration.
One more advantage of drinking fennel tea is that it helps in suppressing appetite. Consuming one cup of fennel tea, releases essential oils which helps in suppressing hunger. Fennel tea is suggested by many dietitians before meals to suppress the calorie intake for weight loss.
6. Vital for Bloating, IBS, Indigestion, and Constipation
Fennel seeds can act as a vital source for curing constipation, bloating, and indigestion as they contain essential oils like anethole, fenchone, and estragole that contributes to the anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. These elements help significantly in breaking down the food in the body, and keeps your digestive system functioning smoothly. People who suffer from IBS would highly benefit from the fennel seed extracts. The oils help in kick-starting digestion by promoting the working as well as the production of gastric juices and enzymes, keeping your digestive tract healthy.
7. Reduces risk of cancer
The seeds contain powerful, free radical scavenging properties. Due to the presence of antioxidants, fennel seeds help in neutralizing free radicals that are responsible for developing cancer. Hence, it helps in beating the oxidative stress along with protecting the body from different cancers of the breasts, stomach, and skin. It offers a chemo modulatory effect on the patient.
Fennel seeds and weight loss
Fennel seeds are often considered as an essential food item to include in diets for losing weight. Consuming it regularly along with an active and healthy lifestyle helps in losing extra pounds. Weight loss is just one of the various advantages of adding fennel seeds to your everyday diet. These tiny seeds have a ton of powerful nutrients that keep a human body healthy. Here are some ways by which fennel helps in reducing the few extra pounds in your body.
Fennel seeds are very rich in dietary fibers, which slow down the digestion process. This means that after consuming one serving of fennel seeds, you won’t get hungry anytime soon, which can avoid overeating. Additionally, with the presence of antioxidants, fennel seeds help in improving the body’s absorption power for vitamins and minerals. Another advantage of the antioxidants is that they help in breaking down the fats and carbs in the body, helping you in avoid gaining extra pounds.
Fennel seeds also have diuretic properties which will help you in flushing out the toxins and other harmful liquids from your body. A much more preferred alternative to fennel seeds tea is a fennel seeds drink called the Variyali Sherbet. This tangy drink is a common drink in India, and is usually consumed in the summers to keep the body hydrated and cool. Not only does Variyali Sherbet help in weight loss, but it also helps in detoxifying the body, getting rid of acidity and reducing stress. This can be attributed to an endless list of antioxidants present in fennel seeds like zeaxanthin, lutein, beta-carotene, chlorine, manganese, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, and more that are known for protecting the body against oxidative stress and improving the metabolic rate of a human body.
Here’s the recipe to make one glass of Variyali Sherbet:
- 1 cup of fennel seeds
- 2 cups of water (500ml)
- 1.5 cups of rock sugar
- 5 soaked cardamom
- Black salt
- Ice cubes
- Grind fennel seeds and cardamom into a fine powder in a food processor or mixer grinder.
- Now soak the fennel and cardamom powder for nearly 8 hours in 2 cups of water.
- Next, the rock sugar needs to be grinded into a fine powder.
- Strain the soaked fennel and cardamom powder liquid into a container
- Add a pinch of black salt in the container
- Add the powdered sugar and stir for 30 seconds
- Serve in a glass with ice cubes
Nutritional value of a normal glass (240 ml) of Variyali Sherbet:
|Vitamin B-6||0.041 mg|
|Vitamin C||10.4 mg|
|Vitamin A||838 IU|
In India, fennel seeds are quite popular among people as the seeds can miraculously treat an endless list of digestive ailments that include colic in infants, intestinal gas, heartburn, and more. You can even use the seeds as a mouth freshener after you have a hearty meal. Hence, we can see that fennel seeds offer a wide range of benefits that makes it very popular among people.
So, the next time you’re thinking of incorporating a food item into your diet with multiple health benefits, you should consider fennel seeds as they would fit in perfectly with your long term or short term health goals.