Bulbs of fennel are rich in a
variety of antioxidants, which
can reduce inflammation and
help to prevent cancer.
Fennel is grown for its thick, crunchy bulbous base. It is refreshing, slightly sweet, and contains a strong anise flavor. Fennel contains a potent combination of plant chemicals, which give it strong antioxidant activity. One of the most interesting compounds in fennel is anethole. In animal studies, the anethole in fennel has been shown to reduce inflammation and to help prevent the occurrence of cancer. It is also a very good source of fiber, folate, and potassium, and contains a wide range of other nutrients including vitamin C, selenium, niacin (vitamin B3), and iron. The very high potassium content means that fennel is a diuretic, helping to eliminate surplus fluid from the body.
- Diuretic, digestive aid, and antiflatulent.
- Very low in calories, making it an ideal food for dieters.
- Rich in antioxidant compounds for disease prevention.
Choose bulbs that are firm and solid with a slight gloss and healthy looking leaf tops. Store in the refrigerator—fennel bulbs lose their flavor after a few days. Fennel is delicious thinly sliced raw in salads and goes particularly well with fish. Try baking small whole fish in aluminum foil, on a bed of thinly sliced fennel. Fennel can also be quartered, browned in oil then braised with a little vegetable stock.
DID YOU KNOW?
Fennel is closely related to the fennel herb and the leafy tops of the bulb can be chopped and used in a similar way to the herb.