WHAT ARE FENNEL SEEDS? HEALTH BENEFITS
Fennel Foeniculum vulgare mature fruit, commonly known as seeds, an essential oil of fennel, is widely used as a flavouring agent in food products such as bread, cheese, and liqueurs and as an ingredient in cosmetics and pharmaceutical products. Traditionally, in Europe and Mediterranean areas, fennel is used as an antispasmodic, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, secretolytic, and antioxidant remedy. In Asian cultures, fennel was ingested to speed the elimination of poisons. The unique health benefits of fennel are due to its antioxidant content . Somehow, ageing like heart disease and cancer can be prevented by fennel seed oils, which are remarkably used for health promotion. Gastrointestinal disease, diabetes, and hypertension can be treated by fennel. Fennel essential oil or its natural components, such as anethole, show different activities like antifungal, insecticidal, and antibacterial activity. They also possess antioxidant properties, an anti-inflammatory effect, antiallergic activity and hepatoprotective activity. Other components of the essential oil are limonene, camphene, and alpha-pinene.
Fennel belongs to the carrot family, i.e., Apiaceae, and is grown for its edible shoots, leaves, and seeds. It is a perennial herb. Its cultivation is basically done in temperate regions throughout the world and is native to Europe and Asian countries. It is considered an invasive species in Australia and parts of the United States. Mostly, the parts of the fennel plant are rich in aroma and used to enhance the flavour of food, and the stem base of the fennel and the faded shoots are also edible. It can be eaten as a vegetable. It is used as folk medicine in several countries. Many phytochemical studies have been conducted to investigate the chemical composition of fennel essential oil, with varying results depending on harvest time, conservation, region, and cultivation area. Although essential oil composition is determined by both internal and external factors affecting the plant, such as genetic structures and environmental conditions.
PHYSIOLOGICAL AND MORPHOLOGICAL ASPECTS
This herbaceous plant is about 3 to 4 feet tall, with finely dissected leaves made up of linear segments, and is erect and cylindrical. It has schizocarp inflorescence and is oval-shaped with five ridges. Small yellow flowers are produced by the grayish-colored umbels. It bears small, dry fruits that are greenish-brown and elliptical ovals with five distinct longitudinal dorsal ridges. About 3–4% of essential oil is present in seeds, the majority of which is composed of anethole and fenchone.
The principal constituents of fennel fruit from volatile oil are 50–60% anethole and 15-20% fenchone. Anethole is responsible for sweet taste; Fenchone gives camphoraceous odor; has bicyclic terpenes; and is optical alpha-pinene. The other two constituents, anisole and estragole, are optically inactive. The GC-MS was used to analyse the 28 other chemical constituents of fennel. In addition to the major phenylpropanoid derivatives, alpha-phellandrene, limonene, and alpha-pinene are present.
ANTIBACTERIAL PROPERTIES OF FENNEL
Plants are high in antioxidants and contain hydroxyl groups in their structural formulae. A recent study shows that the antioxidant activity of fennel seeds was estimated using different seed extracts (ethanol, acetone, and water extracts) through radical scavenging activity (DPPH). The study found significant differences between extracts. Acetone extract has the highest DPPH radical-scavenging activity of any of these.
Fennel is low in calories but high in nutrients, which are linked to a variety of health benefits. The primary fennel bulb is a plant source of potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and calcium. It is also rich in magnesium and essential fatty acids. Fennel seeds, leaves, and flowers can be used in a variety of ways. According to research, fennel seeds may have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, and antiviral properties. A recent study discovered that digesting these seeds may also stimulate prolactin, allowing mothers to naturally produce breast milk. Fennel seeds can be consumed in dishes or as an extract. Fennel seeds, leaves, and flowers are all used in herbal tea. Fennel tea may help infants with digestion and other gastrointestinal issues like heartburn, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic. Fennel’s nutrient content helps in the formation and maintenance of bone health and strength in the following ways: calcium and phosphate are required for the development and maintenance of strong bones; iron and zinc play critical roles in the production and maturation of collagen; manganese is required for bone matrix formation; and studies show that a lack of vitamin K increases the risk of bone fracture.
- Blood Pressure – A low potassium intake increases the risk of developing high blood pressure. Naturally, blood pressure is lowered by potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which are the best nutrients present in fennel. Fennel and other foods contain dietary nitrates. which have vasoprotective properties, they also help in maintaining the blood pressure
- Cardiovascular Activities – Fennel contains a significant amount of fiber, which lowers the risk of heart disorders by decreasing both total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood. High cholesterol is also called hypercholesterolemia. It occurs if a person consumes a high-fat diet. This causes a sudden change in lifestyle, medications, and other health issues
- Methionine – It is a compound that is formed, and it works with Vitamin B-6 and folate to prevent the levels of homocysteine. This is an amino acid produced naturally by the body. But in high amounts, it can increase blood clotting. and damage the lining of arteries
- Anti-Cancer – Fennel contains selenium. Which is not easily found in other veggies and organic herbs. It helps in detoxification as well and increases liver enzyme function. Selenium can also reduce inflammation and tumour growth rates. The oncogenes are prevented by vitamins C, A, and beta-carotene, which are strong antioxidants.
- Anti-Obesity – It is for weight reduction, as everyone is worried about their obese body. The nutritive diet can control them, and they act as an excipient in the digestive tract. These compounds increase fullness and suppress appetite, and one must avoid chits and bits during the day and low calorie intake. Fennel tea is used as a daily remedy; people who drink it before meals may feel full. However, fennel may be suppressed.
- Metabolism – Vitamin B-6 is essential for energy metabolism because it converts carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These products help in the building of energy in the body.
- Skin – You must chew raw fennel as it is high in vitamin C. Collagen synthesis can also be done by vitamin C, which supports the skin’s system. The best antioxidant is one that prevents damage caused by pollution , UV rays, and other environmental factors.
- Fennel Used in Healthy Food Recipes – Fennel seeds can be consumed as the main ingredient or as a seasoning. Fennel tea is one of the best drinks, as previously stated. Pour one tablespoon of fennel seeds into the boiling water. To enhance the flavour, add additional spices. Alternatively, consuming overnight-soaked fennel water in the morning can boost immunity and aid digestion.
- Roasted Fennel With Parmesan – It is a delicious dish that transforms the crunchy fennel bulbs into a creamy, cheesy, caramelised delight. The other side dish recipe calls for olive oil, grated Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper.
- Pasta With Fennel And Lemon – This vegetarian pasta dish features sautéed onions, fennel, kale, garlic, and fresh lemon juice. Salads, desserts, candies, pickles, and other dishes may be served.
FENNEL-RISK FACTORS INCLUDE
Spices like coriander, fennel, and cumin are not suitable for everyone because they can cause allergic reactions. If these herbal spices do not suit you, avoid them. Every senior citizen is a heart patient today, so doctors advise them not to consume spices because they can cause an increase in potassium levels in the bloodstream. According to one study, people who use beta-antagonists have a 13% higher risk of developing hyperkalemia, or high blood potassium levels, and should consult with their doctor. However, dietary changes are typically not required. High potassium levels in the body are also a serious issue for people who have kidney damage or whose kidneys are functioning irregularly. Such kidneys are unable to perform the filtration and purification of salts like potassium from the blood streams, which seems to be fatal.
According to the current study, the essential oil from fennel seeds, which is high in trans-anethole, has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and antioxidant properties. Drinking fennel tea may help with appetite control by reducing the food intake of overweight people. Fennel is a nutritious vegetable that can be included in a well-balanced diet. Fennel has numerous health benefits. Fennel flowers, seeds, leaves, and bulbs can be used in a variety of ways, including cooking and making tea. As previously stated, F. vulgare is a medicinal and aromatic plant with a diverse pharmacological spectrum and significant importance, particularly in the food industry. Aromatic active compounds such as anethole (and its polymers, dianethole and photoanethole), estragole, and fenchone have been identified as biologically active molecules. A 2020 review found that digesting raw fennel seed may stimulate prolactin, allowing mothers to naturally produce breast milk. According to one study, fennel seeds raise the level of nitrite in saliva. Nitrite is a naturally occurring element that regulates blood pressure
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