7 Health Benefits of Fennel

Laurentine ten Bosch LAURENTINE TEN BOSCH

Fennel is an acquired taste. Its bulbous body always provides a talking point at any market shop, but it can be such a tricky vegetable to get right. The taste is like leek, but liquorice-y; that’s the best way I can describe it. Over the years, with the help of a few cooking guides, I’ve come to adore this vegetable and I love to include it wherever I can - and every part of it too, from the bulb to the tops. 

It may seem a little crazy to be this passionate about fennel, but when it comes to the health benefits on offer, the flavors are an added bonus. In fact, the benefits are so powerful and incredible, it even became a staple ingredient in the Food Matters Juice Detox.

So what’s so great about fennel? Here are seven incredible health benefits.

1. Rich Source of Plant Compounds

As well as being abundant in so many vitamins and minerals that are essential for overall health, like vitamin C, potassium, and manganese, fennel is a rich source of plant compounds. Our friend Dave Asprey shared just how powerful plant compounds can be in Transcendence 2, and you can see that firsthand in fennel. Essential oil of the plant has been shown to contain more than 87 volatile compounds, including the polyphenol antioxidants rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and apigenin. These polyphenol compounds are incredible antioxidants, with research indicating that people who follow diets rich in these antioxidants have a lower risk of chronic conditions like heart disease, obesity, cancer, neurological diseases, and type 2 diabetes.

2. Fennel Seeds Can Suppress Appetite & Cravings

Both the fennel bulb and fennel seeds are often utilized when undergoing a cleansing or detoxing program. That is in part because of the antioxidant effects, but more directly so because of the fennel seeds’ capabilities to suppress appetite and cravings - something that many detoxers struggle with over their cleansing period. This is thought to be because of anethole, a major component of fennel essential oil, maybe behind the appetite-suppressing qualities of the plant. A study in 9 healthy women demonstrated that those who drank 8.5 ounces (250 ml) of tea made with 2 grams of fennel seeds before eating lunch felt significantly less hungry and consumed fewer calories during the meal than those who drank a placebo tea.

3. Promotes A Healthy Heart

Fennel is packed with the often-forgotten nutrient, fiber. It would be closer to say that fiber is an anti-nutrient, but regardless of status, it is essential to good digestive (and ultimately overall) health. Fiber has been proven to reduce certain heart disease risk factors like high cholesterol, supported by a review of 22 studies that associated a greater dietary fiber intake with a lower risk of heart disease. Fennel seeds also contain nutrients that are essential for a healthy heart, such as magnesium, potassium, and calcium. 

4. Has Strong Antibacterial Properties

Fennel’s use can also be explicitly medicinal, as studies have indicated that the vegetable has strong antibacterial properties which are used to support overall health as well as fighting pathogens and disease. Studies have shown that fennel extract prevents the growth of harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans. More research is needed in the field to explore if fennel extract could be used topically.

5. Reduces Inflammation In The Body

As the late Charlotte Gerson famously said, chronic disease stems from chronic inflammation, and although inflammation can be a helpful tool to support the body when healing from an acute injury, chronic inflammation can be life-threatening if left unaddressed. Research has suggested that the powerful antioxidants in fennel, such as vitamin C and quercetin, can help reduce inflammation and levels of inflammatory markers, which may pave the way for further studies into fennel extract in the treatment protocol.

6. Know To Benefit Mental Health & Cognitive Decline

Just as important as your physical health, is supporting your mental health - both emotionally and preventing cognitive decline. There have been small-scale animal studies that suggest the compounds derived from fennel may be used in preventing age-related cognitive decline, which indicates there is potential to research this further and begin to apply it to humans.

7. Can Relieve Menopausal Symptoms

Menopausal symptoms can be hard to deal with. Hot flushes and sweats, ever-changing moods, new shifts in your body… It’s a lot, and that’s where fennel tea comes in. A review of 10 studies noted that fennel may improve sexual function and satisfaction in menopausal women, as well as relieve hot flashes, vaginal itching, dryness, pain during sex, and sleep disturbances, allowing you to do what you love again.

When I talk about detoxing being a supercharged nutrient hit, it’s not just because you’re getting rid of the toxins taking up space in your body. You’re actually taking the time and fueling your body with the nutrients you need to give your health the ultimate kickstart again (and that’s what makes our Food Matters Juice Detoxes so special).