If you have dined at an Indian restaurant, chances are your check would be accompanied by sweetened saunf (Fennel seeds). It sounds like tradition and it is a very healthy one. The pinch of after-meal saunf would take care of excess of fats and rich curry consumed during the meal. It is considered a mouth freshener but it is much more than a mouth freshener.
Uses of Fennel Seeds
This tradition has spawned from Indian homes where saunf is served to departing guests post meals. Tiny saunf has hosts of benefits ranging from Blood pressure control to Cancer cure.
In fact it is an aid to digestion at various levels. Fennel is a herb whose entire plant, stock, bulb, leaves and seeds are edible.
Health benefits of Fennel Seeds
Let us see why tiny fennel has such amazing qualities.
A cup of fennel contains the following nutrients. (Approximately)
- 50 mg of sodium
- 45 mg of calcium
- 400 mg of potassium
- 20 mg of magnesium
- .7 mg of iron
- .040 mg of vitamin B-6
- 840 IU of Vitamin A
- And 10.5 mg of Vitamin C
Reduce Water Retention
Drink a cup of fennel tea every day. It will flush out body toxins. It will also lead to healthier perspiration as it has diaphoretic properties
The tea works as a diuretic because it clears excess toxins from your system benefiting your urinary tract.
Improves Eye Health
Fennel contains Vitamin A, A vitamin necessary for clear cornea the outside covering of your eye. In the ayurvedic system, it was considered as a treatment of cataract and glaucoma. It is also helpful in the treatment of watery and inflamed eyes.
Fennel for Blood pressure
Fennel is a rich source of potassium which proves to be an antidote to an excess of sodium in the body. Excess of sodium increases the blood pressure in the body. Potassium tends to lower tension in your blood vessels, reducing the blood pressure.
Our Kidneys control blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid in the body.
Potassium sodium balance interplay at the cellular level helps the kidney decide the amount of water retained. If the balance is disturbed by the excess of sodium present in the body then the excess of water would be retained.
- Excess retained water means high blood pressure.
- Potassium is also an essential component of body fluids.
- Nitrite content in the saliva is considered a natural controller of heart rate and blood pressure.
- Fennel helps in the conversion of nitrates into nitrites in saliva.
Constipation, Indigestion, and Bloating
Fennel contains 2.5%-6.5% volatile oil; the major component of the oil is anethole. The herbal oils in the fennel aid in the digestive process. They also enhance the production of gastric enzymes.
- The seeds relieve flatulence from the system.
- There are multiple ways of adding fennel to your meals.
- The easiest is to take a pinch of sweetened fennel post meals.
- You can also add seeds to your fish soup.
- It can be added to various salads.
Try adding it to various curries. Pork dishes such as stews are not un-friendly to fennel flavor. If you are spreading soft cheese to the bread add a bit of fennel to it. Fennel seeds are inexpensive and are readily available online and depending upon your geographical area offline too.
Fennel seeds reduce all 3 Tri-dosha (Vata, Pitta, and Kapha):
The basic nature of fennel is its cooling effect on the body. A cup of cool fennel tea should be taken after coming back from the sun. It will soothe the entire system, drinking a cup of tea before venturing out in summers would reduce the chance of a heat stroke.
- It is used in Ayurveda to calm nerves and improve mental clarity.
- Fennel Seeds slows down the progress of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s
- It is also used to provide massage to the body.
- It is one of the nine wonder drugs of ancient times.
The fennel seed consists of a large number of essential oil and fibers. It increases the re-absorption of cholesterol. Its diuretic properties help expel toxins from the body. This results in toxin-free and purer blood.
Over 28 compounds have been identified in fennel seeds. Polyphenol antioxidants found in the seeds are a potent anti-inflammatory agent and very good ones too..
Reduce Asthma symptoms
Asthma is a disease of inflammation and histamine production. It is also a disease of electrolyte imbalance. Fennel seeds are a great source of various minerals vitamins and phytochemicals that make them more effective against inflammation.
It also helps remove phlegm from the respiratory tract. These properties make it a natural anti-spasmodic.
The excessive spasm in the bronchial passage causes an asthma attack. If these causes are lowered it will reduce asthma attacks in number and intensity.
Great for Acne
Fennel’s overall cooling effect also affects the skin. Fennel seeds are rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, and calcium. These minerals help balance hormones and various secretions.
Drinking a cup of fennel tea would give a healthy glow to the skin. It will prevent skin ailments like acme from breaking out.
Fennel for Cancer
Fennel has a large number of compounds that can help fight or prevent cancer. Although studies are inconclusive but anecdotal evidence suggests countries like India where a lot of spices are part of the food cancer rates are substantially lower than that of countries like the USA.
Anethole is one of the main constituents of fennel and shows anti-cancer properties. Anethole suppresses all growth in cancer cells and induces cell death in human breast cells. Studies suggest that plant extract may protect against various types of cancer.
Fennel has a host of compounds benefitting us at large. Apart from the mentioned benefits fennel may reduce the effect of aging on memory cells. It also may give relief to Menopausal symptoms in women.
The powerful antioxidants like Vitamin C and quercetin may help reduce inflammatory symptoms associated with various inflammatory diseases like arthritis and asthma. It may inhibit the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungi.
With so many benefits the humble seed is really a powerhouse of health and easy to imbibe in daily food. You don’t necessarily have to go to an Indian restaurant to avail of its benefits.