Fennel has become a common word in shows that air lifestyle news. It is a fresh vegetable that belongs to the Umbelliferae family. Physically it composes of three parts; a bulb that is white or pale green closely arranged stalks growing from the bulb and feathery green leaves. Its flowers sprout above the leaves where they produce the fennel seeds. All the parts of fennel are edible. The vegetable is slightly sweet and crunchy and mostly associated with Italian cooking. The season for this vegetable is from the autumn through to the early season of spring. Food rating systems have rated fennel as either a good or excellent source of nutrients. This article discusses the various nutritional benefits that one derives from eating fennel.
Prevent against inflammation and occurrence of cancer
Fennel is known to contain a unique combination of phytonutrients that act as antioxidants that protect the body against inflammation. Anethole is the most active phytonutrient component in fennel. It is the primary element in the oil produced by fennel. It is this Anethole that help in reducing inflammation and preventing occurrence of cancer. Anethole triggers the shutting down of an intercellular signaling system that in turn prevents activation of a potential gene-altering and inflammation triggering molecule. This destructive molecule is called NF-kappaB. In animals, Anethole helps in protecting the liver of experimental animals from the toxins in the sedation compound. By reducing inflammation, Anethole contributes in brightening of dull skin.
Support immunity and protect against antioxidants
The bulb of fennel is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is the main water-soluble antioxidant in the body. Vitamin C helps in neutralizing the free radicals found in the liquid environment of the body. The free radicals may cause damage to human cells that may result in pain and deterioration of joints. People can prevent conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis through increased uptake of fennel. In addition to the antioxidant activity, Vitamin C in the fennel bulb helps in fighting microbes in the body. Vitamin C is antimicrobial that fight micro- organisms in the human body, therefore, increasing the functioning of the immune system. By acting as an antioxidant, Vitamin C prevents skin damage by the sun and smoke. It also promotes smooth skin and improves the skin texture through enhancing production of collagen.
Enhances cardiovascular and Colon Health
Fennel bulb is a rich source of fiber that helps to reduce elevated cholesterol levels in the body. Fennel has the capacity of preventing colon cancer. The fiber contained in the fennel bulb helps in removing the potential carcinogenic toxins from the colon. The fennel bulb is also rich in folate that is a vitamin B component. Foliate help in changing homocysteine that is a dangerous molecule in the body into helpful molecules in the body. Homocysteine is known to increase the risk of a heart attack as it damages the blood vessel walls. The risk of heart attack increases proportionally with the increase in the levels of homocysteine in the body. Fennel also contains potassium, which helps to lower high blood pressure. It is important to note that high blood pressure is a risk factor for heart attack and stroke.
Enhances the health of the bones
Fennel provides the minerals required by the body for efficient functioning. The minerals present in fennel play a key role in building and maintaining the structure and strength of the bone. Iron and zinc help in the production and proper maturation of collagens in the bone. Manganese is important in the formation of the bone matrix. Phosphate and calcium present in fennel help in developing the structure of the bone. Fennel also contains vitamin K, which helps in preventing bone fractures. Vitamin K provides support to the minerals that form the bone matrix. It also improves the absorption of calcium and prevents calcium loss through urinary excretion.