Fennel is a slightly sweet, crunchy winter vegetable that is best from autumn through early spring. Used widely in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine, it is gaining new popularity as people look for health alternative to add interest to their diets. It's distinctive flavor and myriad health benefits make it a great choice!
A single cup of raw fennel offers 14% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, 11% of fiber, 10% of potassium, 9% of manganese, 7% of copper, 6% of both folate and phosphorus, along with good amounts of magnesium, calcium, iron, vitamin B3 and pantothenic acid. All for 27 calories!
This tasty little package of goodness comes with some great protection for your health!
Blood pressure. The potassium in fennel offers important vasodilation effects, while the potassium, calcium and magnesium help maintain lower blood pressure.
Heart health. Fennel is rich in fiber which lowers the amount of cholesterol in the blood, while Vitamin B-6 and folate protect the blood vessels from damage by blocking the buildup of homocysteine, doing double-duty in the fight against heart disease.
Cancer Protection. Selenium, not ususally found in fruits and vegetables, is also found in fennel. Selenium detoxifies some cancer-causing compounds and supports function of liver enzymes while helping prevent inflammation and decreasing some tumor growth. The fiber in fennel and other fruits and vegetables contribute to a lowered risk of colorectal cancer while the vitamin C protects against free radical damage. In addition to all that, fennel is a good source of folate, lauded for its role in DNA repair.
Metabolism Support. Fennel is a good source of vitamin B-6, which helps convert carbohydrates and proteins into the energy blocks of glucose and amino acids.
Weight Control. Low calories and high fiber content helps you feel fuller longer with fewer calories! That fiber also contributes to a healthy digestive track!
Iron Absorption. Vitamin C joins with fennel's high iron content to maximize your ability to absorb the iron and protect you against iron deficiency.
Healthy Skin. The vitamin C in fennel is vital to the production of collagen, it also acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage from sun and pollution while supporting collagens natural ability to smooth wrinkles.
- A tea made of fennel seeds is also known to aid digestion and help sooth colic!
Fennel's sweet, licorice-like flavor make it a great choice for a raw snack; it's also great in soups, sauteed in olive oil or steamed as part of a vegetable medley. Add fennel to your roasted vegetable dish or toss with with orange sections and arugula for a beautiful Thanksgiving salad.
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