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Fennel dates back to the times of the Ancient Greeks and dates back to approximately 490 BC. The fennel plant is said to be one of 9 plants used in the “Nine Herbs Charm” performed by the Anglo-Saxons in the tenth century

Where is Fennel Grown and How to Grow It?

The fennel plant is considered a weed in the United States and Australia and can be found growing in abundance in fields and along the roadside in many areas of the world including Canada, the United States, northern Europe, and most of Asia.   

fennel.jpgFennel seeds can be purchased as garden centers or ordered from garden supplier catalogs.  The seeds should be planted with mostly full sun exposure in soil that is well drained.  It should be planted after the last threat of frost has passed and the soil should be very rich with nutrients to produce a good harvest of tender leaves.  Seeds are planted a foot apart in rows that are at least three feet from each other.  Watering should be at least twice a week if rain is not in abundance.  The plants will typically grow three foot tall and will need to be staked to ensure proper health of the plants.  Harvest when plants have reached their maximum height.  Protect the plants during the winter by covering them with mulch, leaves, or straw.

Nutrients Found in Fennel

Fennel is high in calcium which is essential for the healthy growth of bones and teeth.  It is also an excellent food rich in Niacin which helps to turn food into energy.  Fennel is high in Vitamin C which helps to promote a strong immune system and is an excellent source of dietary fiber which helps to keep the digestive tract running correctly.  Fennel is a good source of folate which is known to help defend against birth defects.  It is a good source of iron which helps ensure the body has a healthy metabolism.  It is low in cholesterol which makes it an excellent food choice to help maintain a healthy heart.  

Healthy Ways to Prepare Fennel

Fennel can be prepared and served raw or cooked but the highest nutritional value would be to prepare and consume fennel leaves raw in salads.  It can also be steamed with other greens or used in stir fry meals and served over rice.  Fennel is often dried and used as an herb or spice in many different fish recipes.

Health Benefits of Fennel

Adding fennel to the diet is an excellent way to help protect your body from certain cancers.  In a Harvard Medical School publication it states that Vitamin C, which is found in abundance in fennel, helps to lower the risk of some types of cancers.  It also helps to act as an antioxidant, fighting off harmful free radicals that damage healthy cells and is said to be linked to many different cancers.

Fennel is a heart healthy food as it is low in cholesterol and helps to promote a healthy and disease free cardiovascular system. 

Because fennel is high in Niacin, it helps to turn the food you eat into much needed energy and helps promote a healthy nervous system

Fennel is high in calcium which helps to maintain healthy bone and teeth growth

This is an excellent food for pregnant women to eat as fennel is high in folate which is known to help reduce the risk of birth defects. 

It is an excellent source for dietary fiber which helps to keep the digestive tract running regularly and helps to prevent constipation and the occurrence of hemorrhoids