At first glance, fennel can be a little confusing. For one thing, though it looks a lot like celery, it's actually more closely related to carrots. It's also often mistaken for its close cousin anise; in fact, fennel is even sometimes called "sweet anise!"[If you just want the recipes, click here!]

The seeds of fennel plants and anise plants have similar health properties and both have a licorice-like flavor. However, while only anise seeds are edible, fennel's bulbs are edible as well!

Fennel's flavor is also much milder, meaning that even sensitive tasters who've found themselves put off by anise's strong taste may enjoy a dish that incorporates fennel!

Fennel can also sometimes be confused for dill, coriander, caraway, and even poisonous hemlock, so don't go trying to pick any yourself!

A one cup serving of fennel bulbs contains only 27 calories, practically no fat, and only 6 grams of carbohydrates. About half come from healthy fiber, and you'll even get a gram of protein!

On the micro-nutrient front, a serving of fennel will provide seventeen percent of your recommended vitamin C and ten percent of your potassium, along with small amounts of other vitamins and minerals, including folate, selenium, iron, magnesium, riboflavin, and niacin.

Fennel has also been shown to have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, and has been shown in rat studies to have an anti-inflammatory effects.

These aspects could be responsible for fennel's hypothesized role in fighting Alzheimer's disease. Multiple studies have also shown that fennel can help reduce the risk of cancer, especially breast and liver cancer.

Similar benefits, of course, can be obtained from many of the other amazing spices allowed as part of the 123Diet. However, where fennel gets unique is a compound called anethole, which has documented estrogenic properties.

This means that it acts similarly to estrogen in the body. Thus, it can help increase the milk secretion of nursing mothers, promote menstraution in women struggling with their fertility, and even increase female libido!

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Fennel extract has also been shown to help ease the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome more effectively than over the counter pain relievers. On the other hand, women in a later stage of life may find that fennel helps relieve symptoms of menopause, which include poor sleep and decreased sexual function.

The fact that fennel contains nutrients like phosphate, iron, and Vitamin K that can enhance bone health may also be valuable to women, since they face an increased risk of osteoporosis as they age. Plus, since fennel also contains vitamin C, which can help your body absorb more iron, pairing your fennel with an iron-rich food like beef is a pretty good idea!

Fennel grows all year round, but you'll likely find it at its best and sweetest during the fall and springtime. Look for firm and fresh bulbs, and since every part of the fennel plant is edible, there's no need to throw out the seeds! In fact, if you do, you may be missing out on a powerful appetite suppressant!

Fennel is a perfect fit for dishes like soups, stews, and salads, while more adventurous chefs have used fennel in pastas and puddings. These three recipes for fennel soup, fennel with herbs, and a cold fennel salad are a marvelous place to start!

Fennel Soup

fennel soup

Keep warm and cozy with this tasty fennel soup! Estimated nutritional value of 154 calories, 3.2 g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 19.9g carbohydrate, 7.5g fiber, 12.7g protein, and 1.8g sugar.

Prep Time
15 minutes
Cook time
20 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 vegetable)

Ingredients

  • Fennel bulbs chopped
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or substitute 1 cup water for 1 cup broth)
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced onion
  • ¼ teaspoon allspice seasoning blend
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
Add chopped fennel bulbs, spices, and minced onion to vegetable broth. Heat in small saucepan and simmer for 20 minutes. Add lemon with rind to the broth if desired. Serve warm with chopped sprigs of fennel for garnish.

Phase 3 Modifications
Add half and half or cream.

Recipe provided by

Fennel with Herbs

fennel with herbs

Stay healthy with Estimated nutritional value (w/o dressing) of 99 calories, 1.4g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 18.2g carbohydrates, 7.4g fiber, 5.6g protein, and 1g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
10 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 or more servings (1 vegetable)

Ingredients

  • Fennel bulbs
  • ½ cup vegetable broth or water
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Your choice of 123Diet-friendly marinade or dressing

Directions
Thoroughly wash and trim fresh fennel. Cook the fennel for several minutes in a little water or vegetable broth adding pepper, lemon, salt and fresh or dried herbs. Try Italian style or toss with a Spicy Cajun or Dill Dressing. Cook until the bulb portion is tender and delicious. Fennel may also be grilled on the barbeque.

Phase 3 Modifications
Drizzle with melted butter or olive oil. Fennel has a slight licorice taste and goes well with fish.

Recipe provided by


Cold Fennel Salad

Cold fennel salad!

Stay cool and stay slim with this light cold fennel salad! Estimated nutritional value of 89 calories, .8g fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 19.3g carbohydrates, 8.3g fiber, 3.6 protein, and .8g sugar.

Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook time
15 minutes
Yield
Makes 1 serving (1 serving vegetable)

Ingredients

Directions
Steam fennel until bulb is tender, marinate fennel in vinegar and spices or any marinade and chill until ready to serve. Serve with appropriate fruit or lemon juice. Add salt and pepper to taste. Works well with chopped apple or slices of orange.

Recipe provided by

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