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#SuperfoodAlert: The A, B, C Of Fennel Seeds And Their Health Benefits!

#SuperfoodAlert: The A, B, C Of Fennel Seeds And Their Health Benefits!

We’re a generation in search of a constant quick-fix and that’s why we tend to give in to the latest health fads. Superfoods, super seeds and fad-diets have taken over conventional methods of nutrition. While we are quick to embody the latest trends, we tend to forget our roots. All these superfoods and super seeds were consumed by our ancestors way before it became a trend. One such classic example of such superfood is fennel seeds. These seeds are quite common in Indian culture, often served to us after a scrumptious meal at a restaurant, also known as ‘saunf’ in Hindi. Most likely a staple in any Indian household, the seeds are considered to be an excellent after-food digestive. They have been consumed across the world for centuries to provide relief from various digestive issues and to prevent ailments.

Generally confused in appearance with jeera, fennel seeds actually belong to the parsley family. The scientific name for fennel is Foeniculum vulgare. Now that you’re acquainted with the basics of fennel seeds (saunf) let’s dive a little deeper.

What Are Fennel Seeds?

Fennel seeds (saunf) are a spice, a digestive, a condiment and an additive in many foods and beverages for flavouring. Packed with nutrients and minerals, these little seeds pack in quite a punch.


Nutritional Details

Fennel seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients. They contain some essential vitamins, minerals and flavonoid antioxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. Fennel seeds are a rich source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, zinc, phosphorus, iron and magnesium. They are also rich in vitamins like A, B, C and E.

Wondering how these are useful? Copper is a mineral that is essential for producing red blood cells in our body while Zinc helps regulate growth and development and aid our body’s natural digestion. Other minerals like Potassium are required to control and regulate your blood pressure and heart rate. Antioxidants are vital in eliminating the toxins and free radicals present in our body. Vitamins A, B, C and E are essential for our hair, skin, nails and for our overall well being.

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Medicinal And Culinary Benefits Of Fennel Seeds

Because of their rich nutritional profile, fennel seeds are widely used for their medicinal and culinary benefits.



Fennel seeds are used as a preventative cure for ailments like flatulence, digestive issues among many others. The rich vitamin and mineral profile they share is beneficial in preventing and curing a number of health concerns.


Fennel seeds are also commonly used condiments in cooking across the world because of the fragrance and flavour they add to food. In India, fennel seeds are also commonly used as a condiment, in cheese spreads, and as a savoury spice. You can even have fennel seeds in the form of tea.

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How Do You Use Fennel Seeds?


Fennel seeds can be used in the following ways:


Fennel seeds or saunf powder can be used for culinary purposes to provide flavor to dishes.


The most common way to consume fennel seeds is to eat them raw. They are generally eaten in their raw form after a meal to aid digestion and freshen up your breath.

Fennel Tea

Fennel seeds can also be used to make tea. Fennel tea has numerous health and metabolic benefits. It is said to be a great way to burn body fat and increase your metabolic rate, thereby promoting weight loss. Because of its high fibre content, fennel seeds boost your metabolism and improve your digestion. As a result, your body burns fat faster and more effectively which helps you lose weight. It also reduces the storage of fat in your body and increases the ability of your body to absorb more nutrients from food. In addition, it acts as a natural diuretic which means it increases the number of times you end up going to the washroom. This increased bowel movement helps your body eliminate toxins effectively. It’s important you practice this in moderation, consuming too much of the tea is not recommended. Two cups per day should suffice.


Recipe For Fennel Tea

Fennel tea is relatively easy to make. All you need to do is boil 2-3 spoons of fennel seeds in 1.5 litres of water. Customize the proportions depending on the amount of fennel tea you want to consume.

Boil water in a pan. Once the water boils, add fennel seeds and let it simmer for 10 more minutes on a low flame. Turn off the flame and let the mixture sit for about 10 minutes. Strain it and consume this tea through the day. You could add honey to sweeten the tea.

Mouth Freshener

Fennel seeds can also be used as a mouth freshener. They are anti-microbial and because of this, they promote a healthy environment in your mouth. They improve gum health, keep your mouth clean and freshen your breath effectively getting rid of any odour from the foods you have eaten.

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Health Benefits Of Fennel Seeds (Saunf)

Fennel seeds are a powerhouse of nutrients, but did you know they have several health benefits apart from just improving your metabolism and freshening your breath?

Let’s Look At Some Of The Benefits Of Fennel Seeds:

  1. Purifies the blood
    Because of the essential oils, vitamins, minerals and fibre content fennel seeds help detoxify your body. They help flush out toxins from your body and purify the blood. They assist your body is storing less fat and increase the absorption of essential nutrients from food.
  2. Helps clear sinus and congested nasal passages
    Fennel seeds contain phytonutrients that are known to help clear out your clogged nasal passages. When served in the form of tea, fennel also has expectorant properties which make the tea very beneficial for people suffering from bronchitis, cough and asthma.
  3. Reduces the symptoms of bloating
    Fennel is a natural diuretic which makes it an excellent way to flush out toxins from your body. Because of its diuretic properties, it increases the number of times you go to the washroom. This, in turn, reduces bloating and any water retention in the body
  4. Reduces urinary tract problems
    Because fennel seeds have natural diuretic properties, they are effective in flushing out all the toxins present in the urinary tract.
  5. Improves digestion
    Fennel seeds contain the oils of estragole, fenchone and anethole which help improve digestion, increase the metabolism and reduce symptoms of bloating and constipation.
  6. Reduces flatulence and eases stomach cramps
    Fennel seeds help your gastrointestinal muscles relax and reduce gas, constipation, bloating and eases stomach cramps.
  7. Regulates blood sugar
    While this has no scientific backing, it is believed in Ayurveda and alternative medicine that fennel tea helps to regulate blood sugar levels.
  8. Stimulates milk production in breastfeeding women
    Fennel seeds are known to stimulate the production of milk in breastfeeding women.
  9. Regulates blood pressure
    Because fennel seeds are a rich source of potassium – an essential component of your body; they are said to regulate blood pressure and control your heart rate.
  10. Helps improve your eyesight
    Because of the Vitamin A present in Fennel seeds, they are said to be useful in improving eyesight. In earlier times, fennel seeds were used to improve and treat the symptoms causing glaucomas.
  11. Helps stabilize hormones and improves skin
    Fennel seeds are rich in zinc, calcium and selenium, these minerals help to maintain the balance in your body and regulate your hormones. Fennel seeds have a cooling effect on your body and help your skin fight problems like acne and other infections.
  12. Reduce stress
    Fennel seeds boost your digestion thereby reducing stress on your body. They help food move quickly through your digestive system making you feel lighter. The nutrients in fennel seeds reduce oxidative stress on the body too.
  13. Regulates appetite
    The boost in your metabolic rate provided by regular consumption of fennel seeds helps regulate your appetite. If an erratic eating schedule or lack of hunger was something that troubled you, the boost in digestion and metabolism leads to a clear digestive tract. This means you will feel hungry more often and your body will be able to effectively absorb all the nutrients from the food you consume.
  14. Helps with weight loss
    Consuming 1-2 cups of fennel tea on a daily basis is said to boost your digestion, improving your metabolism and flushing out toxins. It also acts as a diuretic and increases the number of times you go to the washroom. This makes it the perfect remedy for constipation and bloating. Regular consumption of the tea is known to keep your metabolic rate high, and promoting weight loss.
  15. Brings out flavours
    The powder of fennel seeds is used as a flavouring in foods and vegetables. It helps bring out the taste of food and with the plethora of benefits that fennel seeds have, adding some of it to foods only makes them healthier. Saunf powder is also used to enhance the taste of certain foods.
  16. Freshens breath
    Fennel seeds are full of oils that counteract bad breath. Chewing on fennel seeds increases the production of saliva in your mouth beating bad breath and boosting digestion. Fennel tea can also be used as a natural and homemade mouthwash solution.
  17. Cools the body in summers
    Fennel seeds have a cooling effect on your body. This helps improve acne and it also helps relieve heat from the body. So if your problems are caused by excessive body heat, it might definitely help you to consume fennel raw or in the form of a tea to keep your body cool and digestion quick.
  18. Protects the body from diseases like cancer
    Fennel seeds are rich in many nutrients and this makes them very effective in getting rid of free radicals and toxins from the body. It is said to keep away diseases like cancer and other neurological diseases

Side Effects of Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are not typically known to have any side effects. But they may cause allergies in people who are allergic to mugwort, carrot and celery. Regular consumption of fennel can make your skin sensitive to the sun so wearing sunscreen daily is advisable to keep yourself protected from sunburn. While there is no conclusive evidence to prove that fennel seeds are harmful during pregnancy, pregnant or nursing women are generally advised to steer clear of them.

Other Benefits of Saunf (Fennel Seeds)

Fennel Seeds For PCOS


Fennel seeds are beneficial for people suffering from PCOS (polycystic ovaries syndrome). Fennel seeds have an anti-hirsutism property therefore when fennel seed water is consumed daily in the morning on an empty stomach; it is said to be helpful in reducing the male hormone levels present in our bodies. People with PCOS usually have a higher level of testosterone present in their bodies and fennel seeds are said to promote balance.

Fennel Seeds For Breast Enlargement

If you are looking for a natural remedy to enlarge your breasts, fennel seeds might be worth a shot. Fennel tea and a breast massage using fennel seed oil are both said to be beneficial for breast enlargement. A mixture of fennel seed oil with other carrier oils like jojoba or coconut will keep your breasts soft and the oil massage will promote breast enlargement.

Images: Shutterstock


This story was updated in January 2019.

11 Jun 2019

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