Like many other spices, fennel contains its own unique combination of antioxidant phytonutrients — including the flavonoids rutin, quercetin. These and various other antioxidants provide many of the health benefits of fennel.
Fennel is also an excellent source of vitamin C, which works in partnership with these other nutrients. Vitamin C is the body's primary water-soluble antioxidant.
It's a little-known fact that herbs (and spices) such as fennel have far greater concentrations of antioxidants than any common fruit or vegetable. Herbs also contain a particularly wide variety of antioxidants as well, making them one of the top antioxidant foods around.
Antioxidants are nutrient compounds found in virtually all plant foods (and also manufactured in your body). The primary job of antioxidants is to protect your cells against the oxidative stress caused by free radicals, considered to be the primary cause of the aging process.
Protecting yourself against free radicals with antioxidants is the most effective way to reduce the risk of many health problems associated with aging. The benefits of antioxidants include powerful protection against all types of degenerative diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's disease, and many more.
work together, synergistically, and each one has its own specific
characteristics and benefits. One antioxidant may work in places in the
body where another one can't go, and neutralize free radicals that other
antioxidants miss. Therefore, getting the widest variety of antioxidants is just as important as how much of any one antioxidant you get. See my page on How Do Antioxidants Work? to learn more about this.
The health benefits of fennel include prevention and treatment of anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory problems, menstrual disorders, vision problems and more.
Improved Digestion. It's a common practice in India to chew fennel seeds after meals. to facilitate digestion and prevent bad breath. The essential oils in fennel stimulate the secretion of digestive juices, reduce inflammation of stomach and intestines and facilitate proper absorption of nutrients. Fennel also has anti-acidic properties and is frequently used in antacid preparations.
Fennel is most popularly used to cure flatulence and to expel gases from the stomach. Fennel aids digestion and proper functioning of digestive system, and helps cure diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel can also act as a laxative. It helps clear your bowels and its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of your intestines.
Respiratory Disorders. Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, cough etc. due to its expectorant properties.
Menstrual Disorders. Fennel also eases and regulates menstruation by regulating hormonal action properly in the body.
Anti-Inflammation Properties. Fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and helps protect your eyes from disorders related to aging, such as macular degeneration.
Antibacterial Benefits of Fennel. Some components of essential oils in fennel have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Fennel is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpastes and antacid remedies, as well as its use as a spice.
Other Benefits of Fennel. Fennel is effective as a diuretic, helping removal of toxic substances from the body and relieving rheumatism and swelling. It also increases the production of milk in lactating mothers and since the milk contains some of the benefits of fennel, it is antiflatulent for the baby, too.
The health benefits of fennel are so numerous, ideally you'd want to have some every day. However, as with any herb or spice, you may find it impractical to include fennel in your meal plans that often. There's an easy way to accomplish this — by making yourself a fresh smoothie every day and adding some fennel and other spices to your recipe.
Fresh smoothies make for some of the most nutritious, delicious and easy-to-make meals you could imagine. They're a great way to get more of those "good for you" antioxidant-rich foods (that you may not get enough of) into your diet.
I personally use herbs such as basil, cilantro and parsley in my green smoothie recipes to give them more of the benefits of dark green leafy vegetables. Because they're so concentrated with antioxidants, you can use a much smaller amount than you would with other greens like kale or spinach, and they won't overwhelm the flavor of your smoothie recipe.
I don't stop there, either. I like to use other spices such as cinnamon, cloves, ginger, turmeric and others in my smoothie recipes, mostly for their added antioxidant benefits. Once they're blended in with all the other ingredients, you can't really distinguish any one particular taste. You just need to experiment a little to get the flavor just right for you.
To learn more about the art of making smoothies, skip on over to my page on How to Make a Smoothie the Healthy Way and learn all my tricks for making delicious and nutritious smoothies!
So if you want to get all of the health benefits of fennel, you'll want to stay away from typical supermarket brands of bottled spices. Most of them are irradiated in order to destroy microorganisms, bacteria, and viruses that might be present. Irradiation, however, damages the integrity of the spice — destroying vitamins, minerals, proteins and other beneficial micronutrients. Irradiation also creates more free radicals, just the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish by eating spices.
Fortunately, I've got a wonderful source online for premium-quality, bulk organic fennel as well as other fennel products — Starwest Botanicals and iHerb.com.
Starwest Botanicals started as a small retail herb shop in 1975 in Sacramento, California. From the beginning, their focus has been on quality; they source their products directly from around the world and process them in-house with their own herb mill to have more control over the finished product.
The Starwest company actively supports sustainable organic farming; as much as possible, they select ingredients from natural renewable sources and use renewable sources of energy.
The health benefits of fennel are also available in capsules and liquid extracts. You can find a great selection of fennel products, as well as thousands of other nutritional supplements and natural health products, at iHerb.com. There's many reasons why iHerb is a great place to shop:
• Great Prices — 30% to 40% off most name-brand products
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• Selection — over 35,000 products and 1,200 brand-names
• FREE Same-Day Shipping — no charge for orders over $20
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• Live Customer-Care Service — on the phone or live chat
• Bonus Discounts — extra 6%-8% OFF for orders over $40
• Rewards Program — earn store credit for referring your friends!
In addition, iHerb has been named
ConsumerLab's #1 Online Supplement Store
6 years in a row!
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