Most Americans aren’t very familiar with fennel. But the fun, flavorful veggie is a staple in many traditional Greek and Italian dishes. And once you find out how versatile it is fennel will likely become one in yours too.
Fennel’s bright licorice flavor can take some folks by surprise at first. But give it a chance and you’ll soon be making the celery-like veggie a part of your own meals.
Try stirring some into soups and stir fries. Chop it up and roast it in the oven with a chicken or pot roast. Or slice it up and toss it into a salad for some extra crunch.
No matter how you use it, fennel will elevate your cooking to the next level.
But fennel doesn’t just add an extra zip of flavor to your food. This delicious veggie also delivers a powerful punch of nutrition at the same time.
5 surprising fennel benefits revealed
Following are five unexpected fennel benefits you can begin taking advantage of starting today.
1. Lowers blood pressure:
When your blood vessels are too narrow, your heart has to work harder to push the blood through. As a result, your blood pressure goes up. But fennel may be able to help.
Fennel is brimming with potassium and nitrates. Both nutrients work together to help keep your blood pressure in check.
Potassium has many important jobs in your body such as supporting your muscles and helping keep your heartbeat regular. But one of the essential mineral’s most important tasks is to help keep your blood vessels dilated so blood can flow freely.
Plus your body converts nitrates into nitric oxide, which is a natural vasodilator as well.
2. Protects bone health:
Fennel is a good source of bone-supporting calcium. In fact, a single bulb delivers about 10 percent of your daily calcium needs.
But the fennel benefits don’t end there. Your bones need so much more than just calcium to grow strong and stay strong, especially as you age. Fennel contains phosphate and manganese to create bone structure, and vitamin K to help prevent fractures.
3. Fights cancer:
Among the many fennel benefits cancer fighting is the one that converts the most fence sitters into fans. And it turns out fennel could help us battle cancer in several different ways.
First, fennel is an excellent source of fiber. Experts say fiber may be able to lower our risk for some forms of cancer. Folks who live in countries that eat a high-fiber diet have a significantly lower risk of colon cancer, for example. And some researchers believe fiber can help reduce the risk for breast cancer too.
Fennel is also a good source of selenium. We require a small amount of this mineral in our daily diet, but many of us fall short. Selenium is a natural antioxidant, which experts say fights cancer-linked oxidation and supports a healthy immune system.
Selenium plays a key role in the body’s natural detoxifications system. It works with your liver to help purge compounds linked to higher rates of cancer. And the mineral slows tumor growth and reduces chronic inflammation.
Plus fennel contains a healthy amount of folate, which plays an important role in DNA synthesis and repair. That means fennel could help prevent cancer cells from forming in the first place.
4. Boosts brain health:
Fennel’s potassium content isn’t just good for your bones. The fennel benefits extend to your brain, too.
First potassium is a natural electrolyte. That means it supports healthy electrical activity throughout your entire body. This includes in your brain, the hub of your electrical system.
Plus potassium’s blood-vessel dilating action can boost your brain function too. The mineral increases blood flow to your oxygen hungry brain. And a well-oxygenated brain simply performs better.
Better blood flow will also reduce your risk of a blood clot heading to your brain and causing a devastating stroke.5
5. Eases digestive issues:
One of the most surprising fennel benefits is the vegetable’s ability to help all ease all kinds of digestive complaints. From indigestion and upset stomach, to diarrhea or constipation, fennel helps soothe it all.
Fennel contains plenty of fiber to help you go when things back up and you can’t move your bowels. Plus the veggie contains amino acids that can help balance your system to help you stop the go when you can’t stay out of the bathroom.
And the oils in fennel help us digest food faster and more efficiently. Which means fennel is the perfect choice to slash gas, bloating and indigestion.
Pick up a bulb on your next trip to the grocery store and put these fennel benefits to work for you.