The 'Healthy Gourmet' Hosts On Fennel's Health Benefits

by Debbie Wolfe
Chances are, you've probably never tasted fresh fennel and if not, you're missing out. It’s not a vegetable that’s common in your corner neighborhood grocery. In fact, the closest you’ve probably come to fennel is via fennel seed found in spice mixes and in your breakfast sausage. But If you happen upon fresh fennel while shopping for produce anytime soon, grab a bulb or two—it’s crazy delicious and great for your health, say Healthy Gourmet hosts chef Ezra Title and nutritionist Julie Daniluk. Find out where to watch the show.

Healthy Gourmet chef Ezra Title Recommends Pairing Fennel With Fish

Fennel is a flowering plant in the carrot family. The bulb, or body, of the plant is mostly used in cooking and in herbal medicine. It has a distinctive “anise” flavor and a crisp, crunchy texture, even when cooked. According to chef Title, fennel and fish together are a flavor match made in culinary heaven, like in this screen grab from the show (right). In the show, Title slices fresh fennel and sautes it with onions, garlic, roma tomatoes, fresh basil, and white wine. Fresh grilled trout are atop the fennel saute and topped with chopped basil. The dish is simple and light — perfect for any day of the week.

More tips: Fresh fennel is wonderful in salads for an added, sweet crunch. Save the stalks of the vegetable to use in stocks and soup bases. Fennel will keep in a crisper for up to four days, but it’s better to eat it soon after purchase for best flavor.

Also on Z Living: Julie Daniluk, Host Of 'Healthy Gourmet,' Talks Wellness​

Healthy Gourmet nutritionist Julie Daniluk Points Out Fennel's Medicinal Roots

It gets even better. Not only is fennel delicious, it’s extremely healthy. It was used by Puritan settlers as a digestive remedy and by Spanish settlers as a medicinal herb. “Science has shown us it is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, carminative, diuretic and an antispasmodic agent, “ Healthy Gourmet co-host Julie Daniluk writes on her website.

Also on Z Living: 8 Smart Food Tips From 'Healthy Gourmet' Host Julie Daniluk

Here’s a breakdown of the benefits of fennel:

It's good for your bones
Fennel is rich in iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc and vitamin K. These minerals help maintain and build bone strength.
It's anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic
Fennel contains nutrients that are anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic that can help relax the muscles in the body. It’s also a source for a volatile oil compound known as anethole (which gives fennel it’s anise flavor”. In studies, anethole was effective in reducing inflammation.
It assists digestion and prevents constipation
Due its high fiber content (one cup has three grams of fiber) fennel can help to relieve and prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.It also helps reduce flatulence.
It helps with weight management
Fennel is low in calories (one cup has 27 calories) and high in fiber. Low calorie and high fiber foods increase satiety and reduce appetite, thus helping you feel fuller, longer.
It keeps blood pressure stable
Fennel is rich in potassium Potassium is crucial in keeping blood pressure levels stable and regulating the heartbeat. It is important for proper muscle function, it maintains normal fluid balance in the body, and regulates sodium levels in the blood. Potassium also improves cognitive function.
It helps regulate menstral flow
Fennel help regulate menstrual flow and control pain. In addition, fennel  contains phytoestrogens that help reduce symptoms of PMS and menopause, and increase milk flow in breastfeeding mothers.

WATCH on Z Living: Healthy Gourmet, where nutritionist Julie Daniluk and chef Ezra Title join forces and battle between taste and nutrition, helping home cooks create nutritious and tasty meals that can feed a crowd. See a sneak preview here.

Tell us in the comments: How do you use fennel?

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