Fennel Seeds or Saunf: An Overview
The usefulness of Fennel seeds or Saunf is known for many centuries. Fennel or Saunf belonging to the Parsley (Umbelliferae) family and Foeniculum genus is a perennial herb. Apart from adding taste and flavor to many cooked foods, fennel seeds have many medical benefits also. Fennel herb is cultivated abundantly in all parts of USA, Canada, Europe, India, China and Middle-East. In other parts of Europe also, the herb is now cultivated for national consumption and reducing dependence on other countries for this highly demanded spice.
Nutritional Value of Fennel Seeds or Saunf:
Here Are The Multifarious Nutritional Values of 100 g of Fennel Seeds or Saunf:
- Carbohydrates, Protein and Fat- Each 100 g of fennel seed contain almost 59.30 g of carbohydrate, 15.80 g of protein and 14.86 g of fat.
- Fiber- In 100 g of fennel seed, dietary fiber is found to be 39.80 g.
- Vitamins- Fennel seeds orsaunfcontaingood amount of different vitamins:
- Vitamin A- 135 IU
- Vitamin C- 21 mg
- Niacin- 6.050 mg
- Pyridoxine- 0.470 mg
- Thiamin- 0.408 mg
- Riboflavin- 0.353 mg
- Electrolytes- 100 g of fennel seeds contain 1694 mg of potassium and 88 mg of sodium.
- Minerals- There is almost 2097.84 mg of different minerals present in 100 g of fennel seeds. Minerals include calcium, zinc, manganese, copper, magnesium and iron etc. Fennel seeds or saunf does not contain any cholesterol or unhealthy fatty acids. Thus, the seeds are good for health.
Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds or Saunf
Fennel seeds or saunf is immensely popular for its various health benefits. Let’s have a look at some of those benefits that have made this wonderful herb and its seeds so popular-
Anti-oxidants in Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds contain plentiful of flavonoids, anti-oxidants like catechin, kaempferol and quercetin. These anti-oxidants remove hazardous free radicals from human body thus protect it from cancers, various infections, and neurological diseases. These antioxidants present in fennel seeds or saunf also help in delaying ageing of human body.
For Constipation: As mentioned above 100 g of fennel seeds contain 39.80 g of dietary fiber. Mixed with other food materials these useful fibers can absorb good quantity of water, thus easing constipation and many other digestive problems.
Anti-Bacterial Effect: Oil produced from fennel seeds contain essential oil compounds like chavicol, cineole, asanethole, pinene, limonene, anisic aldehyde, myrcene, fenchone etc. In several studies it’s found that the antibacterial activity of these essential oil compounds against different food borne pathogens are quite impressive and in most of the occasions the bacteria like Bacillus subtilis, Staphylococcus albus, and Salmonella typhimurium etc. abolish completely.
Health Benefits Of Minerals Present In Fennel Seeds: Presence of various minerals in Fennel seeds or Saunf at sufficient levels have multiple health benefits which are mentioned below-
- Potassium: Controls blood sugar, regulates blood pressure, prevents heart disease and maintains fluidity level in cells.
- Iron: This is a key mineral that has positive effect on body metabolism, hemoglobin formation, anemia, muscular movement, brain functions, immunity, insomnia, and the regulation of body temperature.
- Zinc: It is good at managing skin problems, healing of wounds, cold, pregnancy, reproduction, hair care, appetite loss, weight loss, eye problems, prostate disorders and night blindness. It is also an essential component amongst the 10 most important enzymes in human body.
- Manganese: It has an important role in controlling body metabolism, fatigue, osteoporosis, sprains, inflammation, brain functions, and epilepsy etc.
- Copper: Helps in proper functioning of circulatory system, corrects hemoglobin level in blood, and improves brain function.
- Magnesium: Body requires it for the management of blood pressure, heart attack, cramps, diabetes, menopause and many psychological disorders as well.
Health Benefits of Vitamins Present in Fennel Seeds: Fennel seeds or Saunf are enriched with various vitamins also. Here is how some of them help to maintain various body functions and combat against diseases-
Vitamin A: This vitamin treats eye disorders, skin disorders, acne, and infections. It also enhances healing process of all types of external injuries.
Vitamin C: It works to treat eye disorders, scurvy, cancerous tumors, piles, the common cold, diabetes, stress, blood cholesterol, heart diseases, high blood pressure, kidney problems, internal bleeding, corneal ulcers, inflammations, and lead poisoning etc. It also helps to boost body’s natural immune system. In recent researches, it has also been found to prevent cognitive decline and cerebrovascular disease.
Vitamin B-complex: Different vitamins in the B-complex group like thiamine, niacin, riboflavin etc. have innumerable health benefits like the following-
- Prevention of heart diseases, lungs problems, and regulation of blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
- Body’s natural treatment capacity against beriberi, indigestion, poor enzyme secretion, morning sickness, stress, diarrhea etc. enhances.
- Different skin disorders are removed naturally in presence of B-complex vitamins.
Medicinal Uses of Fennel Seeds or Saunf
Fennel seeds also have a lot of medicinal values. It’s a good appetizer, very effective anti-spasmodic agent, and also a good purgative. Let’s look at other medical benefits of fennel seeds:
- For centuries, saunf or fennel seeds are used to cure indigestion and flatulence.
- It increases perspiration thereby reduces high fever.
- Saunf water helps to cure heat stroke if taken with a pinch of common salt.
Antioxidants along with fibers present in fennel helps to decrease serum LDL cholesterol level in colon and in its mucus membrane, thus reducing the formation of cancer cells in colon.
When consumed as spice added in cooked food, fennel seeds increase breast milk secretion of breastfeeding mothers.
Precautions To Be Taken While Taking Fennel Seeds or Saunf
Fennel seeds, its water solution or powdered seeds of fennel should not be over-dosed or over-consumed. Various compounds in fennel seeds may become neuro-toxic leading to hallucination, seizure and restlessness. At the same time, it may intensify certain cancers like ovarian, endometrial, breast and other estrogen linked cancers due to the presence of high concentration of estrogenic compounds in it.
Getting The Right Quality Saunf or Fennel Seed:
Fennel seeds are available in whole and powdered forms in the market throughout the year. One must check the quality of the product before buying fennel seeds – whole or powdered. Storing it in a dry and air-tight container is a must to keep its quality intact.
Fennel or Saunf: The Whereabouts of The Seeds
Fennels are harvested at early hours of the day for avoiding loss of seeds in fields. The maximum height that this herbaceous plant reaches is up to 6 feet with bright green feathery leaves. After 3 to 4 weeks of cultivation, it bears golden-yellow flowers in clusters or umbels. Normally, fennel seeds are harvested when the seed heads turn almost light-brown. The seeds at this stage look almost like anise seeds, featuring oblong or curved shape and about 3 to 4 mm long having vertical stripes all over their surface. Fennel bulb, known scientifically as Foeniculum vulgare, is used as a vegetable in many countries. It is very closely related to seeding fennel and is also grown for its delicate anise flavored and sweet taste leaf-like part for consumption in many parts of the world.
Eating certain quantity of Saunf daily has a huge health benefit for everybody. It’s better to consult with a physician or an expert, who has knowledge on health benefits as also side effects of over-dose of fennel seeds, before inserting it in daily routine. Perfect dose of fennel seeds everyday or as advised by the expert has an immense health benefit in the long run as well as it helps in preventing various diseases and disorders.