Leaves are a good source of beta
carotene and vitamin C.
The oil in fennel seeds can
Filling, yet low in calories,
fennel is an ideal food for people trying to lose weight. Although it has a
distinctly different flavor, its stalks can be mistaken for celery. Both
vegetables are members of the parsley plant family, and like celery, fennel
contains fiber and is low in calories – a 1-cup serving has only 25
calories. Fennel is much more nutritious than celery, however; a 1-cup
serving is a good source of potassium and fiber and contains some vitamin C,
iron, calcium, and folate; the leaves contain beta carotene and vitamin C.
The sweet, licoricelike flavor of fennel is similar to that of anise. The
licorice flavor goes especially well with fish; try baking fish on a bed of
fennel stalks. All parts of the plants are edible, and it can be prepared in
many ways: raw in salads or braised or sauteed as a side dish. Stuffed bulbs
are a flavorful vegetarian entree; the chopped leaves make a colorful and
nutritious garnish for other vegetable dishes.
Physicians through the ages have prescribed fennel for a variety of
ailments: to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers; aid digestion and
prevent bad breath; treat kidney stones, gout, liver and lung disorders.
Ancient healers prescribed the seeds to prevent obesity; modern herbalists
advocate fennel tea as a diet aid. Aromatic fennel seeds are indeed one of
our oldest spices; they also are used to make a refreshing tea that is said
to alleviate bloating, flatulence, and other intestinal problems.