Fennel has been revered for its medicinal health benefits throughout the ages; prescribed by Hippocrates to treat infant colic, prized as a digestive aid by Ayurvedic physicians, and recommended by Dioscorides to boost milk supply in nursing mothers1.
The Romans valued fennel for its ability to relieve digestive ailments. It can ease stomach cramps as well as reduce bloating from water retention2.
Fennel can provide a boost to the immune system due to its vitamin C content3. Traditionally, a syrup made from fennel juice was used to thin mucous2. Also, being a diuretic, fennel can help eliminate toxins in the body4.
Due to its phytoestrogen properties, fennel is thought to support healthy hormonal balance in menopausal women5. That being said, high consumption of phytoestrogens in young women may cause hormonal disruptions in later life, as well as decreasing fertility5. Although I don’t consume a large amount of fennel regularly, I enjoy the taste so use it in recipes from time to time.
How I Use it
- Seeds – I tend to use the seeds more frequently than the whole bulb. I blitz them in spice blends, add them to teas, or simply sprinkle a few over my meal.
- Fresh bulb – With about 4g net carbs per 100g, fennel is slightly higher in carbs than other vegetables so be mindful if on a strict ketogenic diet. Whole fennel is delicious in soups, especially with other immune system-boosting ingredients such as ginger and garlic. Or, find the recipe for Lamb with Sage Butter, Spinach, and Roasted Fennel on the blog on Saturday!