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Fennel

This article is part of a larger article titled "100+ Healthiest Foods On Planet Earth."  Read it here.

Fennel Nutritional Information (per 100g)

Water: 90.2 g
Calories: 31 kcal
Protein: 1.2 g
Carbohydrate: 7.3 g
Dietary fiber: 3.1 g
Sugars: 3.9 g
Fat: 0.2 g
Saturated fat: 0.1 g
Monounsaturated fat: 0.1 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0.2 g
Vitamin C: 12 mg
Vitamin B3: 0.6 mg
Vitamin B9: 27 μg
Vitamin A: 48 μg
Vitamin E: 0.6 mg
Vitamin K: 62.8 μg
Calcium: 49 mg
Iron: 0.7 mg
Magnesium: 17 mg
Phosphorus: 50 mg
Potassium: 414 mg
Sodium: 52 mg
Zinc: 0.2 mg

Delicious raw or slow cooked, in salads or in pasta dishes, fennel is a plant with a strange and unique taste (that changes substantially when cooked), and a raft of health benefits to go with it.

Although it is no slouch nutritionally, with decent levels of vitamin C and potassium, it is fennel’s dizzying (and slightly bizarre) list of health benefits that is really where the interest is.

100g of fennel (a bulb is around two and a half times that) contains 20% of your daily value (DV) of vitamin C, 12% DV of dietary fibre and 11% DV of potassium. This nutritional boost comes for the price of just 31 calories.

There is some evidence that fennel may help with the treatment of glaucoma, a condition that causes gradual loss of sight. Also, one study showed that fennel oil had remarkable effects on the treatment of colic in babies (severe abdominal pain often caused by trapped wind).

Additionally, it seems that it may have some beneficial effect when it comes to lowering blood pressure, which, with cardiovascular disease killing so many in the developed world, is a major plus.

Fennel has both antioxidant and anti-microbial properties, which may go some way to explaining the tentative links with its and reduced cancer risk. Fennel intake has also been linked to protection from liver damage.

Specific compounds in fennel may have some benefits when it comes to reducing inflammation. One study on anethole, a compound found in fennel, found an anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effect.

Another study on dilliapole, a compound found in it as well (and more often dill), found an anti-inflammatory effect. This is important because the inflammatory response, while important, can do serious damage to our tissues if it goes on for too long.