(Health Secrets) When most people hear the word “vegetable,” they think of some of the more common options such as lettuce, spinach, celery, and carrots. However, there is another vegetable that is a little less mainstream (okay, a lot less), yet it offers a number of different health-related benefits. That vegetable is fennel
Typically used in a lot of Italian dishes, fennel is actually in the same family as carrots, parsley, and dill. Visually it looks a lot like an onion bulb with celery-like sticks growing out of it and feathery greens sprouting off of them. Crunchy in texture and sweeter in flavor, fennel contains a lot of nutrients your body needs for maximum health.
Fennel contains a high amount of vitamin C, which makes it extremely helpful to your immune system. The stronger your immunity, the better you are able to fight off illness and disease. Ultimately, this generally means that you’re likely to live longer and your quality of life will probably be better too, because you’ll be in better physical health.
Better digestive health
Fennel is extremely good for the digestive tract for a number of reasons. For starters, it contains fiber. That means that you’ll have an easier time going to the bathroom, a necessary function for eliminating potentially harmful toxins from the body. Fennel also provides benefit to a number of different digestive issues ranging from flatulence to diarrhea to heartburn, thanks largely to its oils and acids. Therefore, eating it regularly can help ease the pain and discomfort sometimes felt within the abdominal region.
Reduced risk of stroke
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one person loses his or her life to a stroke every four minutes in the U.S. To lower risk of becoming one of these statistics (by as much as 20 percent), eat more potassium, a nutrient found in fennel.
Fewer respiratory problems
Fennel offers benefits to your respiratory system as well, which is why health gurus like Jillian Michaels suggest that people drink fennel tea. Whether you are struggling with a one-time respiratory tract infection or battle daily with control of asthma, adding fennel to your diet may provide some relief.
Fennel seeds contain a volatile oil that mimics some of the actions of estrogen while also being anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer. If you’re lactating, it can even increase the amount of milk your breasts produce, making sure the baby gets enough nutrients to grow up healthy and fit. These seeds also help prevent bloating, which explains why they are chewed after meals in India and surrounding countries.
How to get more fennel in your diet
If you’re ready to add this multi-benefit vegetable to your diet, you may be wondering how to do it. Fortunately, Food Network offers a number of different fennel recipes for tasty dishes like roasted fennel with parmesan, potato-fennel gratin, fennel slaw, and orange and fennel salad.
Another option is to add fennel to juices or smoothies. This is a great way to get the benefits it provides, as juicing has been used by many people for obtaining positive health effects. For instance, Jil Larsen combined juicing with integrative nutrition to reverse melasma, a skin condition characterized by brown patchy spots.
Getting the nutrients in this fine vegetable along with other veggies and fruits can be very good for you in a number of ways!