fennelWith its bulb and stalks, fennel is a member of the Umbelliferae family along with carrots and celery. Fennel has a distinct taste often compared to licorice, that many either love or hate. With a deep history in the Mediterranean region, fennel was closely associated with the Greek god Dionysus. Fennel was thought to help cure digestive ailments, leading it to become popular throughout Europe.

Nutritional Highlights:
• Fennel is a good source of vitamin C, potassium, dietary fiber, phosphorous, and folic acid.
• It also contains the minerals magnesium, manganese, iron, calcium, and molybdenum.
• A 3½-ounce serving contains only 31 calories.

Health Benefits:
• Many herbalists use fennel as an intestinal antispasmodic, to relieve gas or to soothe stomach pain.
• Studies are showing fennel to be effective in the treatment of idiopathic hirsutism, male-pattern hair growth in women with normal ovulatory cycle and normal levels of serum androgens.
• Fennel contains high amounts of anticancer compounds called anethole, which helps to reduce inflammation, preventing cancer development.
Fennel is wonderful paired with seafood, or on top of baked potatoes. Try slicing fennel and mixing it with avocadoes, oranges and navy beans for a bright and healthy salad. Also, add sliced fennel to any sandwich instead of, or in addition to lettuce and tomato. Do you enjoy the flavor fennel adds to a dish? For more serving ideas, turn to “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods”.

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