Indians are food lovers and for post-food refreshment, their love for fennel seeds (Saunf) is not unknown. They often consume fennel seeds after every meal for faster digestion and refreshment. However, these tiny seeds are not just for refreshment purposes but also essential for their indispensable medicinal and culinary practices. That’s why India is one of the largest exporters of fennel seeds.
These aromatic seeds come from Foeniculum vulgare – a herb. It is mainly grown in India and the Mediterranean areas. They are known to offer a wide range of nutritional properties that improve health.
The nutritional profile of fennel seeds
Dried fennel seeds are a storehouse of various nutrients, with low calories and high in different micro and macronutrients. Fennel seeds are mainly rich in –
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
- Vitamin K
- Minerals – Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium, and Iron
- Antioxidants such as polyphenol
- Organic compounds like anethole
Health benefits of fennel seeds
1: Combats bad breath
Fennel seeds contain a specific aromatic essential oil that possesses antibacterial properties that help to freshen your breath. The sweet fennel seeds increase the secretion of saliva, which helps to kill the harmful bacteria. It is a simple and effective home remedy to combat bad breath. Munching on 5 to 10 fennel seeds could freshen your breath.
2: Improves digestive health
The goodness of fennel seed essential oils stimulates the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes that improves your digestion. Fennel seeds contain anethole, fenchone and estragole that act as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory. They work wonderfully for constipation, indigestion and bloating. For better results, consume fennel tea to keep your digestive tract healthy and happy. Fennel seeds also contain fibre and while they may be small in size their fibre content is high. This can further improve your digestive health. By improving the fibre levels in your diet, fennel seeds contribute to better heart health as numerous studies have linked higher fibre diets with a lower risk of cardiac diseases.
3: Helps to regulate blood pressure
Fennel seeds are rich in potassium that regulates the fluid amount in the bloodstream. It helps to control your heart rate and blood pressure. As per the published study, fennel seeds increase the level of nitrite in the saliva. Nitrite is a natural element that keeps a check on blood pressure levels.
4: Reduces asthma and other respiratory ailments
The high amount of phytonutrients present in fennel seeds helps to clear sinuses. These tiny seeds offer bronchial relaxation that helps to reduce symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and congestion.
5: Promotes lactation
Anethole present in fennel seeds stimulates the galactagogues (substances that promote lactation) to increase milk secretion. Many studies suggest that anethole mimics the action of the estrogen hormone and promotes lactation.
6: Improves skin appearance
Fennel extract works miraculously for the skin by protecting it from free radical damage and improving skin cell longevity. They are abundant in minerals such as potassium, selenium and zinc. These minerals are crucial for balancing hormones while maintaining the oxygen balance in your bloodstream. They are widely used to treat different skin ailments like acne, rashes and dryness.
7: Purifies blood
The essential oils and fibres in fennel seeds help to purify your blood and flush out the toxic compounds out of your body.
8: Keeps cancer at bay
Many studies suggest that fennel seeds have anti-cancerous properties. They have powerful antioxidant properties that neutralize free radicals and beat oxidative stress. It may be the reason that prevents the development of cancer.
9: Helps to improve eyesight
A handful of fennel seeds can do wonders for your eyes. It contains vitamin A that is an essential vitamin for the eyes. Earlier, fennel seed extract was useful to treat glaucoma.
10: Promotes weight loss
Fennel seeds are rich in fibre and may aid in weight loss and keep hunger pangs at bay. They work as diuretics and improve metabolism. Consuming fennel seeds daily with a balanced diet and workout helps you to shed extra pounds quickly. You can have roasted fennel seed powder with warm water on an empty stomach to get better results. By helping your stay full for longer (due to high fibre), fennel seeds are also considered appetite suppressants. This may also improve your weight loss goals and make it easier to avoid overeating.
11: Reduces Gas
Due to its excellent digestive properties, as well as the fact that it is antimicrobial, fennel seeds are thought to aid in reducing gas. By improving digestive movement, this seed allows easy passage of bowels without excessive gas build-up. And with its antimicrobial effect (mainly from the anethole, an organic compound in the seed) it prevents bacteria from growing and releasing gases in the first place.
How to Add Fennel Seeds to your diet?
Now that you know everything about fennels seeds you may want to start including them in your regular diet. We’ve assembled a few easy recipes to help you do just that and get started on your health journey with fennel seeds!