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Fennel seed nutrition facts

Sweet, anise-flavored fennel seed together with thyme, nettle, mugwort, etc., has been revered as one
of the nine Anglo-Saxon sacred herbs for its exceptional health benefits. The spice is one of the most
sought-after ingredients in many popular cuisines all over the Mediterranean regions.

Fennel is a perennial herb belonging to the parsley (Umbelliferae) family; a large family of herbs and
spices which also includes some of other common members such as caraway, dill, anise, cuminetc.
Scientific name of fennel is Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce.

Fennel seeds foeniculum-vulgare

Close up view of fennel (F. vulgare) seeds. Note for light green color fennel, resembling anise seeds.
Fennel plant with golden-yellow flowers in umbels.

Photo courtesy: fcw

Fennel is native to Southern Europe and grown extensively all over Europe, Middle-East, China, India,
and Turkey. This herbaceous plant reaches up to 2 meters (about 6 feet) in height with deep green
feathery (lacy) leaves and bears golden-yellow flowers in umbels. In general, fennel seeds harvested
when their seed heads turn light-brown. The seeds, which closely resemble that of anise seeds in
appearance, feature oblong or curved (comma) shape, about 3-4 mm long, light brown with fine vertical
stripes over their surface.

In general, fennels are harvested during early hours of the day to avoid loss of seeds in the field. As in
caraway, its stems stacked until they were dry and then threshed, processed before dispatching to the
markets.

Fennel bulb (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum), used as a vegetable, is closely related to seeding fennel.
It has grown for its anise-flavored sweet taste fronds in many parts of Mediterranean region.

Health benefits of fennel seeds


Fennel symbolizes longevity, courage, and strength. In addition to its use as medicinal values, fennel has
many health benefiting nutrients, essential compounds, antioxidants, dietary fiber, minerals, and
vitamins.

Fennel seeds indeed contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These
compounds function as powerful antioxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus
offer protection from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases.

Like in caraway, fennel seeds also are a rich source of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 39.8 g of fiber.
Much of this roughage is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase the bulk of the food by
absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation problems.

Further, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in
the colon. It thus helps lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber
composition of fennel helps protect the colon mucosa from cancers.

Fennel seeds compose of health-benefiting volatile essential oil compounds such as anethole, limonene,
anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone, chavicol, and cineole. These active principles in the fennel
are known to have antioxidant, digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.

Fennel seeds concentrated source of minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese,
selenium, zinc, and magnesium. Copper is essential for the production of red blood cells. Iron is required
for red blood cell formation. Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development,
sperm generation, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and
body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure. The human body uses manganese as a
cofactor for the important antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Furthermore, fennel seeds indeed are the storehouse for many vital vitamins. Vitamin-A, vitamin-E,
vitamin-C as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin particularly
are concentrated in these seeds.