Fennel: Health Benefits

Fennel is highly prized for its licorice-like flavor and its health benefits. It has been used in natural remedies since ancient times.

Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean, fennel is still used in many Greek and Italian dishes, but it is now used around the world, too.

Fennel has a pale bulb and long green stalks. It can be grown almost anywhere. All parts of the fennel plant, including the bulb, stalk, leaves, and seeds, are edible. They add flavor to other foods.

Nutritional breakdown of fennel

[fennel]
Fennel provides fiber and nutrients.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Nutrient Database one raw fennel bulb weighing 234 grams contains:

  • 73 calories
  • 0.47 grams of fat
  • 2.9 grams of protein
  • 17 grams of carbohydrate
  • 7.3 grams of dietary fiber
  • No  cholesterol

A cup of fennel also provides:

  • 360 micrograms (mg) of potassium
  • 45 milligrams of sodium
  • 838 international units (IU) of vitamin A
  • 43 milligrams of calcium
  • 10.4 milligrams of vitamin C
  • 0.64 milligrams of iron
  • 0.041 milligrams of vitamin B-6
  • 15 milligrams of magnesium

Fennel also contains phosphorous, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium, niacin, pantothenic acid, folate, choline, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, vitamin E, and vitamin K.

In addition to all these nutrients, it provides high levels of dietary nitrates and is a natural source of estrogen.

Possible health benefits of fennel

The nutrients in fennel are linked to a range of health benefits.

Bone health

The iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K content present in fennel all contribute to building and maintaining bone structure and strength.

 

  • Phosphate and calcium are both important in bone structure
  • Iron and zinc are crucial for the production and maturation of collagen
  • Bone matrix formation requires the mineral manganese
  • Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk of bone fracture.

 

Vitamin K is important for health, as it modifies of bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and may reduce the excretion of calcium in the urine.

Blood pressure

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for lowering blood pressure, but increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its role in vasodilation, the dilation, and contraction of blood vessels.

[man has blood pressure taken]
The minerals in fennel can help reduce blood pressure.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of American adults meet the daily 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium.

In addition, there is evidence that potassium, calcium, and magnesium decrease blood pressure naturally. All of these are present in fennel.

Dietary nitrates present in fennel and other foods have vasodilatory and vasoprotective properties. Because of this, they help to lower blood pressure and protect the heart.

One Swedish study found that blood pressure levels were lower after taking nitrate supplements that contained nitrate amounts equivalent to 150-250 grams of nitrate-rich vegetables, than after taking a placebo.

Heart health

Fennel’s fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.

Fennel contains significant amounts of fiber. As fiber helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood, it decreases the risk of heart disease.

Potassium appears to promote heart health. In one study, those who consumed 4,069 milligrams of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed around 1,793 milligrams per day.

Vitamin B-6 and folate prevent the build-up of a compound called homocysteine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine accumulate in the body, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

Cancer

Selenium is a mineral that occurs in fennel, but not in most fruits and vegetables. It contributes to liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Selenium can also prevent inflammation and decrease tumor growth rates.

[fennel seeds]
Fennel seeds provide flavor and nutrients.

Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like fennel are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene function as powerful antioxidants that help protect cells against damage from free radicals.

Fennel contains folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This may help prevent cancer cells from forming because of mutations in the DNA.

Immunity

The selenium found in fennel appears to stimulate the production of killer T-cells. This suggests that it can improve the immune response to infection.

Inflammation

Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in fennel that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.

Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.

Metabolism

Fennel is a source of vitamin B-6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily utilized for energy within the body.

Digestion and regularity

Because of its fiber content, fennel helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Weight management and satiety

Dietary fiber is an important factor in weight management and loss by working as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system. These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer and so lowering overall calorie intake.

Increasing iron absorption

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in developed countries and a leading cause of anemia. Pairing foods like fennel that are high in vitamin C with foods that are iron-rich maximize the body’s ability to absorb iron.

Estrogen

Estrogen occurs naturally in fennel. It is crucial in regulating the female reproductive cycle, and it can also affect fertility.

A mouse study conducted by The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that estrogen also plays an important role in controlling factors that contribute to body weight, such as appetite and energy expenditure.

Premenstrual syndrome

Some research has suggested that fennel extract may reduce the effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Skin

Raw fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to collagen, the skin’s support system. It works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke.

Vitamin C also promotes collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin texture.

How to use fennel in the diet

Fennel has a crunchy texture and mildly sweet flavor, making it a pleasant addition to any dish, whether eaten raw or cooked. All parts of the fennel plant can be eaten, and the seeds are used as a condiment in many recipes.

[fennel salad]
Raw fennel gives a fresh taste to a salad.

When purchasing fennel, look for bulbs that are firm and white or pale green and avoid spotted or bruised ones. Stalks should be green and leaves should be straight and bundled together. A plant with flowering buds is overripe.

Fresh fennel will keep in the refrigerator crisper for about 4 days. It is best to eat fennel right after purchase because it loses flavor over time.

Dried fennel seeds can last for about 6 months in an airtight container, in a cool, dry area, such as a spice cabinet.

To prepare fennel, cut the stalks off the bulb at the base where they sprout and then slice the bulb vertically. The fennel leaves, stalks, and bulb can be prepared in a variety of ways:

  • Use the stalks as a soup base or stock
  • Sauté the leaves and stalks with onions for a quick and easy side
  • Mix sliced fennel with a variety of your favorite fresh vegetables for a light, crisp salad
  • Serve roasted fennel bulbs as an entrée

Potential health risks of fennel

Some spices, including coriander, fennel, and caraway, may cause severe allergic reactions in some individuals. Those who are allergic to these spices should avoid consuming them.

Beta-blockers, a type of medication most commonly prescribed for heart disease, can cause potassium levels to increase in the blood. High potassium foods such as fennel should be consumed in moderation when taking beta-blockers.

High levels of potassium in the body can pose a serious risk to those with kidney damage or kidneys that are not fully functional. Damaged kidneys may be unable to filter excess potassium from the blood, and this could be fatal.

It is important to remember that a single food cannot prevent disease and improve overall health, but an overall healthy diet can. A variety of fresh foods is the key to good health.

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Health Benefits Of Rose Hips

The health benefits of rose hips include their ability to reduce the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, relieve various respiratory conditions, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, manage diabetes, increase urination, regulate your digestive system, boost the immune system, increase circulation, and help to build strong bones.

Rose hips are actually the fruit of the rose plant and usually forms in late summer and autumn after the rose plant has been pollinated. Once the rosebud falls off, many people forget about roses, but the fruit of the plant is yet to come! The color is typically red, but it can also be orange, purple, or black. They are some of the most nutritionally packed fruits of any plant, which is why they have become such a desirable and sought after product in markets around the world. Historically, rose hips have been used for hundreds, if not thousands, of years by cultures such as the early populations of the Americas, as well as various parts of Europe.

They were cultivated for a number of reasons, even as decoration due to their shape and color, but it wasn’t until recent decades that the complete medicinal value was actually discovered. They were even used as pet food for certain types of animals because it was noticed that animals were particularly attracted to the scent and taste of these small fruit pods. When people began eating the components of rose hips, a great deal of attention shifted towards the potential that it had for our health.

The variety of ways that rose hips can be prepared is impressive. Some of the most common forms of rose hips include jams, jellies, soups, tisanes, bread, wine, pies, and even marmalade. It is an extremely versatile ingredient that is enjoyed by people all around the globe, whether due to its delicious flavor or for its nutritional benefits!

Nutritional Value Of Rose Hips

The reason that rose hips are so popular is because they are extremely effective in treating a wide variety of health conditions. But why? The vitamins, minerals, organic compounds and other essential nutrients in rose hips give it such a powerful punch! Some of these beneficial components include vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin E, and B-complex, as well as calcium, iron, selenium, manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sulfur, silicon, and zinc. Furthermore, the organic compounds, such as lycopene, pectin, lutein, beta-carotene, are also very powerful and essential to the body. The antioxidant components, which include flavonoids, phytochemicals, and carotenoids also contribute to the health benefits, which are explained below.

Health Benefits Of Rose Hips

Prevents Cancer and Chronic Diseases: The carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols that can be found in rose hips are very powerful antioxidants, which eliminate or neutralize free radicals that are found within the body. They are the byproducts of cellular metabolism and can damage healthy cells by causing them to mutate into cancerous cells, or simply killing them off. Free radicals or a lack of antioxidants is connected to a number of serious conditions, including cancer, heart disease, and premature aging. The wealth of antioxidants in rose hips is particularly adept at keeping the body healthy from all angles.

Lowers Cholesterol: Some of the organic compounds and antioxidant components in rose hips also reduce the cholesterol content in your body, thereby reducing strain on your cardiovascular system and also seriously lowering your chances of suffering a stroke or a heart attack.

Immune System: Rose hips have an impressive amount of vitamin C, which is one of the best methods to boost the immune system. Vitamin C stimulates white blood cells and is also essential in the prevention of asthma and the general health of the respiratory system. This also can be seen in the reduction of respiratory conditions such as colds and flu through the intake of rose hips and its high levels of vitamin C.

Diabetes Management: Rose hips have been shown to strictly regulate the blood sugar levels of the body, which is very important for people suffering from diabetes. By keeping the balance of insulin and glucose in the body, rose hips can prevent the unfortunate plunges and spikes in blood sugar that can be so deadly.

Diuretic Effects and Digestion: The various acids within rose hips, as well as pectin, are known to induce urination and excretion. As a diuretic rose hips can help eliminate toxins from the body, as well as excess salts, liquids, and even fat. By stimulating bowel movement, rose hips can help a person to avoid any number of unfortunate health conditions and discomforts. Generally, rose hips are detoxifiers through and through!

Skin Care: People all over the world want their skin to look more beautiful, blemish-free, and youthful. There are hundreds of products and potential treatments for tightening and toning the skin, but rose hips are one of the best options. The astringent quality of rose hips keeps the skin elastic, so it doesn’t develop wrinkles, flaws are easily eliminated, burns and scars quickly heal, and your skin generally looks younger and more vibrant.

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Circulation: Rose hips have a significant amount of iron, which is an essential component in the creation of red blood cells. Therefore, having an adequate amount of rose hips in your diet can prevent anemia and also keep your essential organs well-oxygenated, increasing metabolic activity and optimizing the functionality of your various systems.

Bone Health: One of the most important roles of vitamin C, although it is one that is often overlooked, is its essential role in producing collagen. Collagen, along with the other important minerals found in rose hips, can help prevent osteoporosis by maintaining bone mineral density well into your old age, keeping you strong, flexible, and able to live an active life.

A Few Words of Caution: There are no known issues with using rose hip whenever you want, although there are scattered reports of nausea, vomiting, headaches, heartburn, and an inability to sleep. Much of this could be due to slight food allergies. As always, pay attention to your body and act accordingly.

Why Is Vitamin C So Important?

Many people are aware that vitamin C can help them recover from a cold or flu, but there’s much more to understand about how vitamin C supports our health. Vitamin C is essential to good health year-round, not just when we are ill. In fact, it’s critical for our overall health and survival. Unfortunately, vitamin C deficiencies are rife today and lacking enough of this important vitamin can contribute to almost any disease.

Vitamin C is anti-inflammatory, helps increase our blood’s white count by strengthening our neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, and macrophages; and generally boosts the immune system against viruses, bacteria, yeast, mold, and other unwanted fungi. This makes getting an adequate amount of vitamin C essential if you are battling a chronic illness or symptom.

The right kind of vitamin C also helps to cleanse the liver, blood, and lymph, strengthen the adrenal glands, and repair damaged neurotransmitters. It also helps the body to detox effectively, which is a challenge many chronically ill people face until they get the right detox-supporting nutrients.

The Best Sources Of Vitamin C

Different forms of vitamin C support our health in varying ways, so it’s important to know which high-quality sources of vitamin C to turn toward. Some of the best food sources of vitamin C are rosehips, kiwi, oranges, and tangerines.

Another great source of one essential form of vitamin C (there are many) is from freshly juiced fennel. Drinking 16oz of straight fennel juice on an empty stomach daily can offer many wonderful health benefits over time. All fruits and vegetables contain some vitamin C, so focusing your diet largely on fresh produce will naturally help to boost your vitamin C intake.

Your Nutrient-Enhancing Friend

One way you or a loved one can amplify the vitamin C you absorb is to get direct sunlight on your skin when possible. The sun strengthens and enhances the absorption and function of every single nutrient, vitamin C included. Think of the sunshine as a vehicle for getting a multivitamin and multimineral support to all your body systems! You don’t need to spend long in the sunshine, and sunburn should always be carefully avoided. Even five minutes in the sun early or late in the day when the sun is not full force can be very helpful.

As you can see, vitamin C is a critical mineral for our health and it deserves consideration as part of a health protocol.