Thursday 25 November 2021

Fennel Seeds/Sombu/Perunseeragam/Snauf - Health Benefits of Fennel/All about Fennel/Sombu or Snauf

Fennel Seeds/Sombu/Perunseeragam/Snauf

Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare

Common names: Fennel (English), Sombu (Tamil), Perunjeeragam (Tamil), Saunf (Hindi)

Fennel is a flowering plant species of the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is a native of the Mediterranean but with times to come, fennel is being cultivated all over the world. It especially grows on the dry soils near the sea-coast and on the river banks. The fennel plants are green and white, with feathery leaves and yellow flowers

Dried Fennel seeds are used as a spice in cooking in various cultures of India, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. It is an important spice in Gujarati and Kashmiri cuisine. It is an important ingredient of the Assamese/Bengali/Oriya spice mixture and in Chinese five spice powders. Apart from its culinary uses, fennel is proved to have antibacterial, anti- inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Let us see some interesting benefits that fennel has in store for us.

Here's how to make Fennel Seeds Powder/Sombu thool with step by step photos...

Helps in blood pressure regulation

Many studies have shown that apart from sodium levels, potassium levels and nitrite levels are equally responsible for regulation of blood pressure. Chewing on fennel seeds increases the nitrite content in the saliva thus providing a natural way to regulate blood pressure. Due to fennel’s high potassium content it helps in reducing blood pressure.

Helps in maintaining a healthy heart

This is a continuation of the previous point, since blood pressure plays a vital role in heart health. Presence of nutrients like potassium, folate (vitamin B9) Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and phytonutrients are beneficial in maintaining a healthy heart.

Fennel has a significant amount of fibre. Fibres decrease the risk of heart disease by reducing the total amount of cholesterol in the blood. Presence of fibres also help in cleansing the blood, thus enabling smooth absorption of nutrients.

Potassium is known to reduce the risk of death caused due to ischemic heart disease. Ischemic heart diseases are the group of diseases associated with narrow and thin arteries of the heart (examples include coronary heart disease).

Homocysteine is an amino acid present in our body, that mostly builds up from eating foods like meat, potatoes, bananas and so on. Accumulation of this compound is indicative of deficiency and can lead to heart diseases. The Vitamins B6 and folate present in fennel can break this homocysteine down converting it into a more useful compound- methionine, thus protecting our heart.

 Helps in digestion

The essential oils that is present in fennel seeds helps in combating common digestive tract disorders like constipation, bloating and indigestion. Certain oils that are present in fennel can help in the production of gastric enzymes, thus ensuring that digestion occurs smoothly.  Also the fibres that are present in the fennel seeds help in regulating bowel moments. Consuming fennel tea on a regular basis has proved to keep digestive disorders away.

Here's how to make Fennel Tea/Sombu Tea/Snauf Tea with step by step photos...

Good antioxidant and keeps toxins at bay

Fennel seeds have a diuretic nature, meaning they enable flushing of excess water from our system. Regular consumption of fennel seeds can also reduce urinary tract infections (UTI) as it flushes the unwanted toxins from our body.

Due to significant quantities of Vitamins A and C, fennel seeds are good antioxidants. They help in preventing cell damage from free radicals in our body.

Other interesting healthy and delicious tea varieties...

Coriander, Cumin, Fennel Tea/CCF Tea

Fennel Tea/Sombu Tea/Snauf Tea 

Helps in weight loss

For those trying to shed some kilos, including fennel seeds in your diet would be a good idea. Fennel seeds, being rich in fibers can make you feel full for longer durations, thus reducing your appetite. Fennel seeds are known for its ability to enhance nutrient and vitamin absorption, which can, in turn, reduce fat storage. Consumption of fennel in the form of fennel tea regularly can aid in weight loss.

Helps in bone health

Presence of nutrients like phosphate, calcium, iron, zinc, manganese and Vitamin K in fennel, inturn helps in maintaining strong and healthy bones. For instance, phosphate and calcium are essential for proper bone structure, iron and zinc are needed for collagen production, manganese helps in bone matrix formation and Vitamin K can help in preventing bone fractures, absorption of calcium as well as plays a role in clotting of blood

In short, including fennel in your regular diet can help in providing everything necessary for strong bones.

Helps in maintaining a healthy skin

Fennel seeds contain beta-carotene (also present in carrots) which can further get converted to vitamin A. They also contain Vitamin C which is important for collagen production and tissue repair. Vitamin C acts as an excellent antioxidant too. They help in maintaining a healthy skin and also help in maintaining mucous membranes of our body (they protect our internal organs). Production of collagen can keep wrinkles away, thus rendering our skin smooth.

Role in Cancer prevention

Fennel is unique due to the presence of a mineral namely selenium. Selenium is not commonly found in many fruits and vegetables. Selenium is known to help in liver enzyme function, which, in turn can help in detoxifying cancer causing compounds that could possibly end up in our body. Studies have shown that Selenium can prevent inflammation and decrease the growth rate of tumours.

Fennel also has a significant amount of fibre which is instrumental in lowering the risk of colorectal cancer. Presence of Beta-carotene and Vitamin C in fennel can help in preventing oxidative damage of body cells, thus acting as a powerful antioxidant.

Presence of folate in fennel can help in DNA synthesis and repair; a process which requires a high degree of accuracy and precision. Fennel could, thus, indirectly contribute to preventing cancers possibly caused due to mutations in the DNA.

Plays a role in immunity

Fennel has Selenium which is believed to simulate the production of killer T- cells, which are essential in inducing immune response against pathogens. Presence of Vitamin C in fennel helps in building our immunity. Vitamin C can curb free radical damage thus reducing the occurrence of disease.

Role in Inflammation

Fennel has anti-inflammatory properties due to the presence of Vitamin C, Choline and plant flavonoids like quercetin. Studies have shown that increased consumption of fennel can lower the risk of many chronic diseases.

Choline present in fennel is essential to our bodies as it helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. It is known to help maintaining the structure of cell membranes, in transmission of neural impulses and even in reabsorption of fats. Choline can help in reduction in chronic inflammation.

Increases absorption of iron

Folate is essential for the formation of healthy red blood cells. Presence of Vitamin C can help in the ability of iron absorption in the body. Since fennel is rich in both Vitamin C and folate, it overall helps in the synthesis of healthy red blood cells and consequently, brings anaemia down.

Other interesting healthy and delicious tea varieties...

Coriander, Cumin, Fennel Tea/CCF Tea

Fennel Tea/Sombu Tea/Snauf Tea 

Female reproductive health and fertility

Oestrogen is an important hormone which regulates activity concerning the female reproductive system. It plays an essential role in the menstrual cycle in females and is essential for fertility. Studies have shown that fennel is a natural source of oestrogen. Thus, it plays a vital role in regulation of the female reproductive system.

Due to its cooling properties and its positive effects on both our digestive system and reproductive systems, it would generally be a good idea for menstruating women to consume fennel tea, so as to counteract bloating and other hormonal imbalances women could experience at that time.

Help in controlling acne

Fennel has minerals like zinc calcium and selenium, which when consumed, helps in balancing our hormones and help in oxygen balance in the body. It is also a coolant, thus helping to keep skin issues like acne at bay.

Use in Ayurveda

Ayurveda is based on the balance of the tridoshas in our body namely Vata, Pita and Kapha. Fennel seeds are known to reduce all the 3 doshas. The seeds have a cooling effect on our body and thus, it is advised to consume fennel seeds in summer, so as to reduce body heat. Fennel seeds are carminative in nature, meaning they reduce flatulence. Fennel seeds have been used in massage blends in Ayurveda to calm nerves and improve mental clarity.

Role in eyesight

Fennel has beta-carotene which is a precursor of Vitamin A. Our body has the ability to convert the beta-carotene taken in to form Vitamin A. This Vitamin A is inturn required for good eyesight. In ancient India, fennel seeds were used as a treatment in glaucoma (increased pressure in eyes which can, in serious cases, even lead to blindnesss) 

Source: Wikipedia, WebMD, bbcgoodfood, medicalnewstoday, ndtvfood

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Written by

Harshini Anandakumar

[My Daughter]


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