It’s easy to fall in love with fennel at first bite. Its crisp, crunchy texture and aromatic taste has endeared it to my kitchen for a lifetime. Fennel has the distinct ability to leave you feeling fresh and has even been used for centuries as a digestive remedy. Many folks will say that it tastes like licorice crossed with celery, but, in fact, it’s sweeter and juicer than celery. And it doesn’t have an overwhelming licorice taste, but instead just a hint that mellows completely when cooked. At only 28 calories a cup and with good amounts of vitamins A, B and C, fennel may become your new best friend in the produce department.
Five Fab Facts About Fennel
1. Fennel relieves digestive upset and colic in babies. Fennel is known in herbal medicine as a carminative. A carminative is an herb that coats the esophagus and gastrointestinal lining to soothe heartburn, relieve indigestion and prevent flatulence. Try mixing some fennel in with the baby food to prevent discomfort from colic!
2. Try fennel to combat symptoms of PMS. Like many other herbs, fennel has very potent diuretic properties that while not depleting your body of potassium, is a much needed electrolyte that is instrumental in cardiac health. The diuretic properties of fennel can relieve PMS symptoms such as bloating, cramping and general edema without any side effects.
3. Eating fennel during pregnancy could guard against heart disease for the baby later in life! Fennel contains dietary isoflavones that are similar to the phytoestrogens found in the soybean. These isoflavones have been shown in animal studies to reduce a baby’s risk of heart disease later in life if consumed by the mother during pregnancy. Keep eating that fennel after the baby is born! Fennel acts as a galactogauge by increasing the production of breast milk from the mammary glands.
4. Fennel is a high potency antioxidant. Fennel is not usually on the top of the list when antioxidants come to mind, but this incredible herb is packed with alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E) that mops up all of those disease-causing free radicals. So stock up on fennel to boost your immunity for this cold and flu season!
5. Fennel can help combat the toxic effects of chemotherapy! When our body undergoes conventional cancer treatment, chemotherapy drugs can become toxic to the liver and kidneys. Fennel has been shown in studies to reduce the level of toxicity these drugs have on our organs and protect us from further damage.
The following recipe is one of 25 stress-busting recipes I created for the new Adrenal Stress Connection Book by Dr. Karen Jensen, ND and Dr. Marita Schauch, BSc, ND.
The avocado, hazelnuts, flax oil, and hemp seeds in this recipe provide all the vitamin E your adrenals could want in one meal. Your adrenals store the highest concentration of vitamin E of all your organs, which shows the importance of this antioxidant for maintaining stress resilience.
This delicious sauce delivers the medicinal properties of umeboshi plums, which have been used as digestive and adrenal tonics in Asian traditional medicine for centuries. Umeboshi plums, also known as Japanese apricots, help your body deal with stress by restoring levels of adrenal epinephrine and norepinephrine following a stressful experience. Be careful not to use too much of this paste, as it’s quite high in sea salt.
4 cups (1000 ml) sliced fennel
1/2 cup (125 ml) green onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup (125 ml) hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
1 large tangerine, peeled and sectioned
1 large pear, cubed
1 large apple, cubed
1 large ripe avocado, cubed
1/4 cup (60 mL) pickled ginger, chopped
4 tbsp (60 mL) natural mayonnaise
4 tbsp (60 mL) flax or hemp seed oil
2 tsp (10 mL) umeboshi plum paste or 1 tsp (5 mL) sea salt, or to taste
1. Combine salad ingredients in a large bowl.
2. In a cup, whisk together dressing ingredients. Pour over salad.
3. Toss gently and serve immediately.
Makes 8 servings
Nutritionist Julie Daniluk hosts the Healthy Gourmet, a reality cooking show that looks at the ongoing battle between taste and nutrition. Her soon to be published first book, Meals That Heal Inflammation, advises on allergy-free foods that both taste great and assist the body in the healing process.
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