Have You Tried Fennel Yet?

If you haven’t tried fennel yet, you’re missing out on its powerful benefits to support healthy-aging!

Fennel is that unusual veggie that looks like a cross between a white onion and celery, with stalks forming a crown of green feathery fronds. Its mild anise, or licorice flavor has made it a favorite in both Italian and French cooking, where it is featured in the classic fisherman’s soup of France, bouillabaisse.

For us ladies, fennel has been shown to help reduce menstrual cramps, PMS and menopausal symptoms. That’s because fennel contains “phytoestrogens” or plant estrogens that fit into the receptors on our cells and block the dangerous xenoestrogens (chemicals like BPA) that can trigger cell changes like cancer.

Some of that fabulous flavor is due to the presence of volatile oils (like anethole) that have been demonstrated to block inflammation and protect the liver from toxic exposures. Given the toxicity present in our air, food, water and cosmetics, it’s time to bring on the fennel!

Fennel is a crisp veggie that is full of fiber. Naturally, that will help relieve constipation and build a healthy gut microbial community. But only half of us get the recommended 25 grams of fiber each day, the goal established by the Institute of Medicine.

The result of a low fiber diet is a rise in rate of heart disease, stroke, high cholesterol, diabetes and cancer.

Fennel has been used historically as a digestive aid to soothe colic and intestinal cramping and gas. Anyone on a low-FODMAP diet (low in fermentable fibers) for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) will be thrilled to know that fennel is a low FODMAP veggie!

To round out its nutritional benefits, fennel is rich in potassium, magnesium and vitamins C, B6 and folic acid.

So how do we get more fennel in our diet? Try raw, slivered fennel in a salad with orange slices, avocado and tarragon. Or slice it thinly and use it as chip for hummus or dips.

And definitely try my new Sheet-Pan Roasted Italian Chicken with Fennel, Tomatoes, Lemon and Thyme. Ready in less than an hour, it’s elegant enough for a party but easy to whip out after a long day’s work. And let’s face it, you deserve a delicious, fast and healthy meal after solving the problems of the world!