Fennel seeds are the dried fruits of the fennel plant, an aromatic herb that is related to parsley and dill.
Used both as a spice and a medicine, fennel has a long history of culinary and medicinal use.
Fennel seeds have a sweet, anise-like flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes, from savory stews to sweet desserts.
In addition to their culinary uses, fennel seeds have also been used for centuries in traditional medicine.
So what are the health benefits of fennel seeds?
Let’s take a look.
1. Highly nutritious
Fennel seeds are a good source of several nutrients, including fiber, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and iron.
For example, 1 cup of dried fennel seeds contains:
- Calories: 20
- Fiber: 2 grams
- Vitamin C: 1% of the RDI
- Potassium: 2% of the RDI
- Iron: 6% of the RDI
- Calcium: 5% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 5% of the RDI
- Manganese: 17% of the RDI
As you can see, fennel seeds are a nutritional powerhouse. (1)
2. May improve digestion
Fennel seeds have been used for centuries as a digestive aid.
Modern science has confirmed that fennel seeds can indeed help to relieve indigestion, heartburn, and other gastrointestinal issues.
The active compound in fennel seeds is anethole, which has powerful antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Anethole relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract, helping to relieve gas and bloating.
It also inhibits the production of stomach acid, making it an effective treatment for heartburn.
In addition, fennel seeds can help to increase the movement of food through the digestive system, preventing constipation.
3. Fights bad breath
Another health benefit of fennel seeds is that they can help to freshen your breath.
The essential oils in fennel seeds have both antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which can help to kill the bacteria that cause bad breath.
In other words, chewing on fennel seeds can help to kill oral bacteria and freshen your breath.
Moreover, the seeds are a good source of fiber, which can help to remove plaque and food debris from teeth.
For best results, chew on a few fennel seeds after eating.
You can also make a mouthwash by boiling fennel seeds in water and then straining the mixture. gargle with mouthwash several times a day.
Although there is little scientific evidence to support these claims, many people find that fennel seeds are an effective way to freshen breath and fight bad breath. (3)
4. Promotes weight loss
Fennel seeds are popularly claimed to promote weight loss.
Fennel seeds are thought to help with weight loss by stimulating digestion, reducing bloating, and increasing metabolism.
Additionally, fennel seeds are a great source of fiber, which can help you feel full and reduce your overall calorie intake.
While there is some preliminary evidence to support the use of fennel seeds for weight loss, more research is needed before any definitive claims can be made. (4)
5. Improve heart health
One main health benefit of fennel seeds is their effect on heart health.
Fennel seeds are a good source of fiber, magnesium, potassium, and calcium.
All of these nutrients are important for heart health. (5)
- Fiber helps to reduce cholesterol levels.
- Magnesium helps to prevent hypertension.
- Potassium helps to lower blood pressure.
- Calcium helps to keep arteries clear.
Fennel seeds, on the other hand, promote nitrite production in saliva.
This substance also serves as a natural treatment to keep blood pressure at healthy levels.
In addition, fennel seeds are a good source of antioxidants, which can help to protect the heart from damage.
Thus, including fennel seeds in your diet is a good way to improve heart health.
6. Promote lactation
Fennel seeds have long been used as a natural remedy to promote lactation.
The seeds contain a compound called anethole, which is thought to have galactagogue properties.
A galactagogue is a substance that increases milk production.
Some studies suggest that fennel may increase levels of prolactin, the main hormone responsible for stimulating milk production. (6)
While more research is needed, fennel seeds and tea may be promising natural options for nursing mothers.
Today, fennel seeds are still prized for their health benefits, which include relieving indigestion, promoting weight loss, and improving heart health.
Fennel seeds are also thought to promote lactation and freshen breath.
So whether you’re adding them to your next meal or using them to treat an ailment, fennel seeds are a versatile and potent addition to your natural medicine cabinet.