7 Crazy Good Health Benefits of
Fennel

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May 12, 2016

By Ariadne Weinberg, Featured Columnist









If you've ever been to an Indian restaurant, you've likely
eaten fennel seeds without even realizing it. Fennels seeds
have a bit of a licorice-like flavor, potent yet sweet. You can
also find fennel sprinkled on foods in its veggie form, a
spidery, light green addition.



Fennel, also known as Foenicum Vulgare, is a cousin of the
carrot, which comes as no surprise, since its feathery fronds
bear a striking resemblance to carrot tops. Its tops, roots,
and seeds all have beneficial properties, and it can be
consumed easily in essential oils and as an infusion, as well.



Fennel has long been used as a natural healing medicine. In
Roman times, warriors were said to have consumed fennel to
make them strong and ready for battle. This makes sense, as
fennel is so nutrient-rich, containing high levels of
potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. In Ancient Chinese medicine,
fennel was used for a myriad of health conditions, ranging
from congestion to conjunctivitis.  And in the 13th century,
the royal court of British King Edward I consumed 8 pounds
of fennel seeds each month, dutifully recorded it his
household's "Wardrobe Accounts".




Fennel is equally as versatile today, boasting a multitude of
health benefits. From 5-7 grams of fennel seeds or 0.1 to 0.6
milliliters of fennel oil gives the body a boost. Fennel in
moderation leads to satiation.

Top 7 Health Benefits of Fennel
































1.
Fennel Lowers Blood Pressure


If you've got a
hypertension problem, try munching some
fennel seeds after dinner. It has the active ingredient nitrate,
which lowers blood pressure. A study by Filip Larsen and
researchers at the Swedish School of Sport and Health
Sciences confirmed its effectiveness.

In 2006, the Swedish researchers tested 17 healthy
individuals (15 men, 2 women), all non-smokers. The
participants were given 3-day dietary supplements, one
composed of sodium nitrate and one a placebo.

After taking the sodium nitrate supplement, their diastolic
blood pressure averaged 3.7 mmHg lower compared to the
placebo, and the mean arterial pressure was 3.2 mmHg
lower. The nitrate dose administered was approximately 150-
250 grams.

Combine fennel and other nitrate-rich vegetables to bring
down hypertension.




2.
Fennel Protects You From Cancer


Fennel is an active-ingredient superhero. One of those
ingredients is "anethole", a compound which blocks the
signaling pathways that lead to
cancer.

The modern scourge of cancer is now believed by many
scientists as more of an environmental problem; around 90-
95% of cancer is caused by outside factors, while only 5-
10% is caused by genetics.

This means that we have to change what we are consuming,
and what exists around us. Fennel can play an important
part in cell health.

According to a 2012 report by Bokyung Sung at The
University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, “The fennel-
derived nutraceutical anethole blocks both early and late
cellular responses transduced by tumor necrosis factor
through suppression of NF-κB activation. Thus, its analogues
eugenol and isoeugenol also inhibit TNF-induced NF-κB
activation.”

Just a tiny amount of fennel per day leads to big advantages
in protecting your system.



3.
Fennel Is a Menstrual Painkiller


If you're the average lady, you deal with a mild to severe
amount of
menstrual pain each month.

It turns out that you can add a little fennel to the mix before
or during your menstrual cycle in order to prevent suffering.
Dr. Shabnam Omidvar from the Babol University of Medical
Sciences and Health Sciences in Iran discovered its potential
as a painkiller.

In 2012, he and other researchers tested the analgesic
effects of fennel. A total of 50 girls, who on average started
their period at 13 and started experiencing menstrual pain at
14, were divided into two groups.

The first group took 30 mg of fennel extract four times a day
for three days, and the second group took a wheat capsule
placebo in the same quantity. Later, pain intensity was
measured on a 10-point scale. The pain relief was
significantly more effective in the fennel group.

So, next time those PMS symptoms come around or you're
already suffering from painful cramps, sprinkle some fennel
on your food, or munch some seeds after meals.




4.
Fennel Promotes Bone Health and Prevents Osteoporosis


Fennel has a lot of nutrients that the body absolutely loves:
iron, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc.

And recent studies show that fennel is especially effective for
osteoporosis.

In a 2012 study by T.H. Kim at the Kyunpook National
University Hospital at the Republic of Korea, researchers
looked at which natural compounds inhibited osteoporosis,
by screening herbal extracts on bone marrow cultures.

It turns out that an aqueous extract of fennel seed inhibited
osteoclast differentiation.

Another investigation performed, where patients took 30 to
100 mg a day of the extract for six weeks, revealed that
fennel prevented loss of femoral bone mineral density and
bone mineral content.

It's great to load up on fennel before your bones break
down, but these studies conclusively show something
perhaps more important: Even if you already have
osteoporosis,  fennel  has potential to prevent further bone
loss.




5.
Fennel Improves Your Heart Health


All of the potent ingredients in fennel, including potassium,
vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and fiber help with heart
health.

The fiber reduces cholesterol in the blood, which lowers the
risk of
heart disease.

Vitamin B6 and folate prevent the buildup of homosysteine, a
chemical that can damage blood vessels.

And studies have shown that consuming more potassium per
day can significantly reduce many health problems, including
cardiovascular ones.

According to a 2012 article by Dr. Linda Antinoro at Brigham
and Women's Hospital, consuming 4,069 milligrams of
potassium a day
lowers your risk of death from ischemic
heart disease by 49%
, in comparison with those who take
1,793 milligrams a day.

Getting at least that much potassium also leads to a 37% less
chance of cardiovascular disease and a 20% lower risk for
death in general. Not too shabby. You can't be going around
eating bananas all the time to prevent death, so why not mix
it up with some fennel?



6.
Fennel  -- It's Anti-aging


Fennel keeps your skin looking nice, and retains its moisture.
With all those antioxidants, it's no surprise.

In a 2012 study from The Islamia University of Bahawalpor,
A. Rasul and researchers tested a topical cream with
emulsion containing 4% fennel extract, versus only its base.
Both the base and active formula were stored under
different conditions to predict stability.

After moisture and transepidermal water loss were tested,
the fennel formula showed significant results for both under
the testing parameters. Based on these studies, they
concluded that fennel had anti-aging effects.




7.
Fennel Helps Ease Gastrointestinal Discomfort


Fennel is known for its powers to
cure an upset tummy.
That's why people snack on the seeds after dinner.

Recent studies have also revealed that it can be helpful for
more serious cases.

In 2016, T. Asano from Keio University in Tokyo tested its
effects on functional dyspepsia. This gastrointestinal
disorder is characterized by postprandial upper abdominal
discomfort and epigastric pain, as well as delayed gastric
emptying and impaired gastric accommodation.

An experiment was conducted where they gave fennel seed
oil, with anethole (the same superhero ingredient that
prevents cancer) to rats. It turned out that the oral
administration of this ingredient restored gastric emptying
and gastric accommodation.

So, whether your stomach issue is minor or serious, trying a
fennel product could be the key.




Final Note: Take Fennel in Moderation




Fennel is great for you, in the doses recommended at the
beginning of the article. But if you're pregnant, consult your
doctor to see if you should take it. Even if you're not
considering kids, overdosing on fennel has the potential to
cause irregular and/or fast heartbeat, breathing issues, and
some neural problems.










































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