Do you have a container of fennel seeds in your spice cabinet? Even though these crunchy, licorice-flavored goodies are widely used in culinary creations, you may not be aware of all the body-friendly fennel seeds benefits. Whether you prefer to drink cups of fennel tea or snack on a handful of seeds, check out the history, science, and benefits of fennel.
History of Fennel Use
Fennel isn't a new ingredient in natural healthy eating. Foeniculum vulgare, the scientific name for fennel, has a long history of use. According to a research review published in BioMed Research International, the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Indians, and Chinese all had uses of fennel seeds for their medicinal, aromatic, and culinary benefits.
This herb is native to the Mediterranean area but is now also grown and cultivated in India, Europe, Asia, North America, and Australia, according to the Northwest School for Botanical Studies. While some of the ancient uses are now discredited, fennel seeds are still cultivated for a variety of purposes and may have some serious scientifically based benefits.
The Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Fennel plants have worked their way into remedies and recipes throughout time and around the globe, but what does science have to say about these seeds? Here are some proven fennel seeds benefits.
- Antibacterial properties: According to a study published in the journal Food Chemistry, fennel seed extracts have shown to be effective at inhibiting three different types of bacteria.
- Respiratory benefits: The textbook Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention explains that fennel seeds can help to loosen and expel phlegm trapped in the respiratory tract.
- Digestive benefits: It's also noted in Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention that consuming fennel seeds is thought to help aid digestion of fatty foods.
- Cardiovascular benefits: A study published in the Journal of Food Science found that chewing fennel seeds may enhance the nitrite concentration of saliva. Increased nitrites may promote angiogenesis, or the process of new blood cell formation, along with other heart-healthy effects, such as vasorelaxation. Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention notes that fennel seeds may also help to reduce hypertension.
Remember to always consult your medical provider before you try to treat any type of physical symptoms at home. If you want to explore the uses of fennel, talk to your provider about safe and effective options for your individual situation.
How to Consume Fennel
There are a variety of ways to incorporate fennel in your diet. According to the Northwest School for Botanical Studies, fennel may be consumed in several different forms:
- Infused in tea
- In honeys or syrups
- As commercially-prepared capsules
- Via essential oils
- As individual seeds eaten alone or on top of other foods
What are your go-to snacks? Check out some healthy recipes on the Smart Snacking board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!
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Why It's Good
Fennel seeds have been used in cuisines across the globe and throughout time, and they boast some desirable health benefits. Plus, there are many different ways you can incorporate this ingredient into your diet to reap its benefits.