Fennel is grown for its thick and crunchy base. It is refreshing and slightly sweet and has a strong flavor that is similar to the taste of anise. Fennel comes from the same family as celery and parsley, the Umbelliferae family. It is made up of a white or light green bulb with loose stalks that are topped with green leaves. At the top of these leaves, flowers can grow and produce seeds. Every part of the plant is edible and nutritious.
Fennel has a combination of different plant nutrients, including many antioxidants. There is a particular compound in fennel, called anethole, which studies show reduce inflammation and help prevent cancer from developing.An interesting and unique benefit of fennel is actually a benefit to babies. Colic can be a big problem with infants, and there is only one medicine, dicyclomine hydrochloride, that has shown to be effective for treating colic. But, the problem with this medicine is a small percentage of babies treated with it develop some serious side effects, up to and including death. The good news is that research and tests are finding that fennel seed oil used on babies with colic is helping to greatly improve or eliminate the colic in about 65% of the babies tested, and without any side effects! Therefore, fennel is a great alternative to the drug that has the potential for dangerous side effects. Fennel extract has also demonstrated in scientific studies to help stop the growth of cancerous tumors. Fennel oil has also been shown to help stop smooth muscle spasms in the gut, aid digestion, and relieve cramps and gas. Fennel is commonly served at Indian restaurants following the meal not only for its digestion benefits, but also because it helps to sweeten and freshen the breath. Fennel is also a great source of fiber, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium, niacin, iron, and vitamin C. In fact, fennel is such a great source of potassium that is has been used as a diuretic, helping to get rid of excess fluid from the body.*Fennel and fennel seeds are considered safe in the amounts used in food and tea. Very large doses have been linked to hallucinations and seizures. It is inadvisable to consume fennel if you have epilepsy or any other seizure disorder.Grilled Fennel with Lemon Oil
- Fennel (~1 lb)
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon olive oil (or 1/2 Meyer lemon juice and zest)
- Sea salt
- Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
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