Aside from its many culinary uses, fennel and its seeds offer a wide array of health benefits and may provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial effects.Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant in your body, protecting against cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals ( 3 ).Both the bulb and seeds contain the mineral manganese, which is important for enzyme activation, metabolism, cellular protection, bone development, blood sugar regulation, and wound healing ( 4 ).Finally, the plant compound limonene helps combat free radicals and has been shown to protect rat cells from damage caused by certain chronic diseases ( 9 , 10 ).Summary All parts of the fennel plant are rich in powerful antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, limonene, and quercetin — all of which may benefit health.That said, another study in 47 women found that those who supplemented with 300 mg of fennel extract daily for 12 weeks gained a small amount of weight, compared to a placebo group.For example, including rich sources of potassium in your diet may help reduce high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease ( 15 ).May have cancer-fighting properties The wide array of powerful plant compounds in fennel may help protect against chronic diseases, including certain cancers.Negative side effects, such as poor weight gain and difficulty feeding, have also been reported in infants whose mothers drank lactation teas containing fennel ( 21 , 22 , 23 ).Studies show that fennel extract inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans ( 24 ).A review of 10 studies noted that fennel may improve sexual function and satisfaction in menopausal women, as well as relieve hot flashes, vaginal itching, dryness, pain during sex, and sleep disturbances ( 27 ).It’s important to note that many of these studies used concentrated doses of the plant, and it’s unlikely that eating small amounts of fennel or its seeds would offer the same benefits.A study that evaluated the teratogenicity of fennel essential oil showed that high doses may have toxic effects on fetal cells ( 28 ).Although eating fennel and its seeds is likely safe, pregnant women should avoid taking supplements or ingesting the essential oil of this plant.Summary Although eating fennel and its seeds is likely safe, consuming higher doses in supplement form may react with certain medications and is unsafe for pregnant women. .

What Are Fennel Seeds and How Do You Cook with Them

Whether you use them for pickling vegetables, seasoning sausage or making a crust for fish or beef fillets, you'll soon realize that aromatic fennel seeds can elevate the most basic recipes.They also offer vitamins, minerals and fiber, so you can feel good about working them into your weekly meal plan.(And just to make things a bit more complicated, the strong, distinctive-tasting star anise—a main ingredient in many Chinese dishes—is from a completely different plant family than both fennel and anise.).In terms of nutrition, fennel seeds are tiny but mighty: They contain minerals like calcium, iron and magnesium, which, among other things, help regulate blood pressure.While ground fennel is also an option, for maximum freshness and flavor it's best to buy whole seeds and grind them yourself at home. .

Fennel Seed Adds Mediterranean Warmth

Its mild licorice aroma lends a sunny warmth to foods that, alone or in concert with other spices, I find irresistible.Common fennel is a perennial native to Mediterranean Italy, as well as to China and India, but it’s now cultivated worldwide.Fennel seeds are larger, and their flavor is similar to anise but a bit less sweet, less aromatic, and less pungent.Its flavors begin to deteriorate after coming in contact with the air, but this doesn’t become noticeable for about six months.I put the seeds in my toaster oven until I can smell them, but you can also toss them in a hot, dry skillet.• Beat ground toasted fennel seed, lime juice, and snipped chives into salted butter.• Make a rub for pork or fish from crushed fennel and cumin seeds, salt, and pepper.• Tie a tablespoon of toasted fennel seed in cheesecloth and simmer it in minestrone or other vegetable and bean soups. .

Fennel Seeds: Health Benefits, Nutrients per Serving, Preparation

However, they can be used in all types of food, and in recent years, Western culture has opened its doors to creative uses of fennel seeds in recipes.Health Benefits In many parts of the world, fennel seeds are used medicinally to treat everything from menstrual cramps to bad gas.Anethole, a major compound found in fennel seeds, has properties that mimic estrogen and may help stimulate milk production.If you’re breastfeeding and have a low milk supply, you may consider asking your doctor if drinking tea made with fennel seeds could be helpful. .

Fennel and Fennel Seed Substitutes to Spice up Your Dishes

Fennel comes from the Mediterranean region but it has become popular worldwide due to its flavor profile and its versatility.Then, maybe you’ll explore other condiments and herbs and let us know what alternatives you’ve discovered yourself.Fennel is a Mediterranean herb but it has become more and more popular in Italian, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Chinese cuisine.It has a deep, quite earthy tone, with a sweet taste and a warm flavor; while it is not as intense and pungent as anise, it is sweeter.The similarity of these three herbs lies in the composition: they all contain anethole, a chemical that gives the deep, complex aroma.Its flavor profile and complexity make fennel a good choice for many recipes:.Fennel seeds can be sprinkled on top of your salad, in cream soup, sauces, dressings, on top of pasta, in refreshing dips, and can even added to meaty stews and meat products, such as sausages.They can add flavor to pickles and many vegetables, ranging from asparagus to cucumbers or tomatoes.The finnochio, aka the bulb, has a mild, sweet aroma and a pleasant texture and can be eaten as a side to meats, curries, and fish.Fennel leaves can be eaten raw, used to garnish salads, in dips and dressings, or added to sauce-based foods or marinades.All the parts of the plant go perfectly with legumes and veggies such as cabbage, beets, and potatoes, and with lentils.Running out is probably never an issue in the markets of Italy and the South of France, since there are massive quantities of fennel for sale.And when it comes to health benefits, it’s filled with minerals, vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants, so it’s no wonder it’s been used as a medicinal plant.And they have similar textures as well: crispy and crunchy when raw and soft when cooked.When it comes to aromas, they are rich, unctuous, and deeply earthy with lemony freshness.Use them braised, grilled, boiled, steamed, as a garnish, or added to salads.While the taste is not exactly similar, bok choy does have a slightly bitter-sweet aroma, with mustard and horseradish undertones, and the texture is very much the same.Bok choy is rather earthy, while fennel is a little floral and fragrant, but they are both crispy when raw and soft and creamy when cooked.If you’re looking for a sweet, bulby vegetable with a creamy, rich, soft texture and yet a certain bite to it, mild onion is a great choice for replacing fennel.It works better in recipes that require cooked fennel, but be mindful not to overcook it since it will lose its flavor.Tarragon is a good replacement for fennel in meat and fish dishes.Use them in pickles, dips, stews, sauces, soups, dressings, fish, veggies, salads, and meat dishes.It has a salty, mildly bitter, floral, herby, and earthy taste.And it can replace fennel leaves in garnishes, marinades, sauces, soups, stews, dressings, and salads.While it won’t give the same anise-like flavor as fennel, it works great with fish, chicken, turkey, and white meats in general, but also with veggies.Fresh, toasted Mexican avocado leaves have a mild flavor that reminds you of fennel.Another Mexican Staple instead of Fresh Fennel: Hoja Santa Leaves.While Thai basil may not be the first thing that comes to mind as a replacement for fennel, it is a good choice.Thai basil is highly aromatic and fragrant, with a sharp and peppery, clear, and intense aroma of anise.There’s nothing quite like a freshly baked batch of biscuits or bread with fennel seeds.And to boost digestion and relieve inflammation, there’s nothing quite like a flavored cup of fennel seed tea.Anise seeds lend a great flavor to meat and sweet dishes.Cumin is the best alternative for anything sauce-based and any type of curry, but also in stews, chili, meats, marinades, fish, and veggies.Licorice is rather strong in flavor and has a sweet taste so the trick is to use a smaller quantity.Remember that dill seeds have a spicy kick before you double the quantity to get the same flavor as fennel.They also pack a citrusy aroma, making them a refreshing choice for many dishes.Still, caraway seeds have a stronger licorice flavor than fennel and a more intense bitterness to them.But they are also great in potatoes, soups, sauces (especially tomato-based), fruit, and salads with mayo, veggies, especially sauerkraut and cabbage, roasted meats, and briskets.Mahlab seeds have a sweet and sour taste, reminding you of the tartness of cherries.They have an almond aftertaste but they can replace fennel seeds, especially in cookies, bread, baked goods, and sweet dairy puddings.While mustard seeds do not have the pungency of anise, they have a horseradish flavor, with a peppery earthiness.Use them in spice rubs and pickles when whole and, if ground, in any recipe that calls for fennel seeds.Whether boiled, steamed, cooked, raw, grilled, baked, or pickled, fennel has a certain je ne sais quoi.The leaves and seeds have a fragrant, complex aroma that can be tricky to match. .

How to forage for wild fennel seeds

In Italian cuisine, the feathery fronds of finocchietto (as opposed to the bulbs of finocchio) appear in pasta sauces, soups and fritters, and its seeds are used as a robust flavoring.Extreme foragers may want to try their hand at harvesting wild fennel pollen, a delicate golden powder with a licorice tang that can be used in all sorts of gourmet preparations.Bill Corbett, the pastry chef at Absinthe, has created a pound cake dusted with wild fennel pollen (go to the Eat the Invaders website,, for the recipe). .

Fennel: health benefits, recipes, forms, nutrition and more

A 2020 systematic review found that digesting these seeds may also stimulate prolactin to help mothers naturally produce breast milk.Fennel tea may aid digestion and other gastrointestinal issues such as heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants.The vitamin and mineral content in fennel contributes to building and maintaining bone structure and strength in the following ways:.Insufficient potassium intake can increase a person’s risk of developing high blood pressure.When excessive amounts of homocysteine build up, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like fennel is associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.The selenium found in fennel appears to stimulate the production of killer T-cells and modulates the immune system in other ways.Studies have shown dietary intake of selenium can improve immune response, especially to viral agents.Fennel is a source of vitamin B-6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids.The fiber content in fennel helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.Dietary fiber is an important factor in weight management and works as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system.These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer and lowering overall calorie intake.A 2020 study found that consumption of fennel seed powder reduced menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women over 8 weeks . .

Substitute for Fennel Seed

Fennel is a fragrant sweet seed with a taste similar to anise.Fennel seed alternatives range from Anise to celery and parsley.Onion artichoke and bok choy are also suitable substitutes in a pinch.With such a distinct flavor, you’d think it would be hard to find a decent substitute, however there are actually many spices that will give your dish the same unique taste without the fennel.Fennel is used widely in Indian cooking especially in curries and even when making pickles.These two flavors together will bring a similar aroma and sweetness to your curry dish.Caraway has a similar impact in lasagna but doesn’t have as sweet of a flavor as fennel.Dill seeds give lasagna a similar texture, but without the strong licorice or anise flavor.Onion - as well as leeks - in soups or stews is a great substitute for fennel. .

8 health benefits of fennel seeds and how to use them

In fact, the majority of Indian families have a common practice of chewing a few fennel seeds after a meal but do you know that it has other health benefits too?In addition, fennel seeds are characterised by powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties that enable them to treat various health conditions.The strong anti-spasmodic and carminative effects of fennel seeds help in treating flatulence, heartburn, bloating and conditions like IBS and GERD.Secondly, due to being a rich source of fibre, fennel seeds provide satiety and reduce hunger which helps avoid overeating.Chewing fennel seeds stimulates the release of nitrite which also acts as a natural remedy to maintain blood pressure.Fennel, being rich in phytoestrogens which mimic the female hormone oestrogen, helps in stimulating and regulating the menstrual cycle.The anethole compound found in fennel seeds is known to improve the protein content of the lens, slowing down the progression of cataract.The anethole present in fennel seeds has natural galactagogue properties that mimic the function of the oestrogen hormone which increases breast milk production in nursing mothers.To reap the amazing benefits of this flavourful herb, incorporate 2 to 3 grams of fennel seeds in your daily diet.Word of Caution: Since fennel is rich in phytoestrogens, pregnant women should avoid consuming it as it might interfere with the normal foetal development. .

Add flavor to dishes from all types of cuisines with fennel seed

Fennel seed is a common ingredient in some Indian regional dishes and is a component of chai spice blend.In natural medicine, fennel seed has been used for centuries to aid digestion, help infants with colic and freshen breath.Begin your fennel adventure by crushing some seeds and stirring into olive oil, maybe adding a little salt and garlic and even another dried Italian herb, such as marjoram or basil.White beans and broccoli are a wonderful combination — with the sausage and rosemary, and being so easy to make, this dish is a winner.Add another tablespoon of olive oil and the onion to the same frying pan and cook over moderate heat for 8 to 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, rosemary and beans and stir over the heat so that the flavors meld and the mix begins to smell fragrant, about 2 to 3 minutes.Divide the mix between bowls, topping each with some shavings of Parmesan or pecorino, a drizzle of olive oil and the toasted breadcrumbs.— From “The Art of the Pantry: Save Time and Money with 150 Delicious Meals Using Everyday Ingredients” by Claire Thomson (Quadrille, $29.99). .

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