Fennel Health Benefits: excellent invigorator and cathartic

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Italian farmers have known about fennel health benefits for some time because they developed a variety of fennel with a tender, fleshy bulb that is perfect for use as a vegetable. Wild fennel grows all over the Mediterranean countries, and its seeds are rich in anethole, an essence with digestive properties.

Fennel Health Benefits
fennel health benefits

Fennel Health Benefits

Despite its high-water content (90.2 percent), fennel has significant amounts of carbohydrates (4.19 percent) and proteins (1.24 percent). It contains no fat (0.2 percent). It supplies few calories (31 kcal/100 grams), but its fiber content (3.1 percent) is considerable.

Its vitamin and mineral content are noteworthy, particularly potassium (414 mg/100 grams), folates (27 mg/100 grams), vitamin C (12 mg/100 grams), calcium (49 mg/100 grams), and iron (0.726 mg/100).

Fennel comprises an essential oil abundant in anethole, though in a lower quantity than the seeds. This adds to its digestive and carminative effects (stop intestinal gas production). Its fiber content makes it a mild cathartic or laxative. Fennel intake is recommended in these cases:

Dyspepsia (indigestion) because of its stimulating effect on digestive processes.

Constipation, due to intestinal atony (flaccidity or lack of tone).

Fennel Scientific Facts

  1. Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
  2. Other names: Finocchio, sweet anise, Roman fennel, sweet fennel.
  3. French: Fenouil.
  4. Spanish: Bulbo de hinojo, hinojo común.
  5. German: Fenchel.
  6. Description: Bulbs and stalks of various fennel of the botanical family Umbelliferae cultivated for food.
  7. Environment: Fennel is cultivated in Mediterranean countries, particularly Italy. It is also being grown in the United States and temperate regions in South America.

How to use and Prepare Fennel

  1. RAW: The tender bulbs may be eaten in salad seasoned with a bit of lemon and oil.
  2. COOKED: Steamed or boiled as with any other vegetable. It may be prepared with béchamel sauce or melted cheese. It goes very well with potatoes.


George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Foods and Their Healing Power. Trans. Annette Melgosa. Vol. 2. Chai Wan: Editorial Safeliz, 2005. 161. Print. [fennel health benefits]

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