Fennel stimulates breast milk and fights cancer cells

FENNEL PIXABAY

By Rpahael Obu Nyarkotey

A study by Bazzano et al.,2017, found that, fennel acts as a galactagogue agent for women who are breastfeeding. Galactagogues increase the production of breast milk. Although the research on whether or not fennel is effective for promoting the production of breast milk, studies have found that many women who do choose to use herbs as natural galactagogues tend to try fennel, milk thistle and goat’s rue most often.

In general, according to Ruggeri, (2018), one average-size fennel bulb contains 73 calories, 3 grams of protein, and 17 grams of carbohydrate. It contains only trace amounts of fat and no cholesterol. Fennel is also very high in fiber, with each bulb providing 7 grams of dietary fiber or 28 percent of daily needs. Additionally, one bulb also provides 969 milligrams of potassium, or 27 percent of the recommended daily amount. Potassium is essential to help lower blood pressure and as well as maintain fluid balance.

Fennel also contain high amount of vitamin C, providing 28 milligrams per bulb or almost half of the recommended daily amount for this critical vitamin. Fennel also contain vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin K and folate. It is also a good source of other minerals such as iron, calcium, copper, zinc and selenium.

Fennel stimulates breast milk and fight cancer cells

According to the fdc.nal.usda.gov,  one cup of raw fennel bulb has the following:

  • 27 calories
  • 6 carbohydrates
  • 3 grams fiber
  • 1 gram protein
  • 10 milligrams vitamin C (17 percent  daily value (DV)
  • 360 milligrams potassium (10 percent DV)
  • 0.2 milligrams manganese (8 percent DV)
  • 23 micrograms folate (6 percent DV)
  • 43 milligrams calcium (4 percent DV)
  • 0.6 milligrams iron (4 percent DV)
  • 15 milligrams magnesium (4 percent DV)
  • 44 milligrams phosphorus (4 percent DV)
  • 0.6 milligrams niacin (3 percent DV)
  • 0.1 milligram copper (3 percent DV)
  • 117 IUs vitamin A (2 percent DV)

Scientific Health Benefits

  1. Improves Bone Health

Fennel contains a high amount of calcium, hence good for bone strength and health. One cup of fennel contains about 43 milligrams of calcium, which can be helpful for those who don’t consume enough foods high in calcium and may have a calcium deficiency. One study by Tai et al.,2015, demonstrates that increasing calcium intake from dietary sources increases your bone mineral density. Fennel as well, contains magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K, which all play a role in maintaining bone strength.

  1. Dermatological Health

Vitamin C is found in Fennel in high quantity. Vitamin C is also necessary for the formation of collagen and a powerful tool in protecting skin’s appearance, making it a good choice to naturally slow aging.  One review by Michels et al.,2011, demonstrates that scurvy is a result of a deficiency in vitamin C which appears in the inability to properly form collagen, leading to bleeding gums and bleeding below the skin. Hence, one needs adequate amounts of vitamin C in order to decrease the presence of wrinkles and maintaining healthy skin.

  1. Decreases Blood Pressure

A study by Haddy et al., 2006, demonstrates that, a diet rich in high potassium can decrease systolic blood pressure by 5.5 points juxtaposed to a high sodium diet. However, it takes about four weeks of consuming a high potassium diet to see a drop in blood pressure. Fennel is loaded with potassium and works sodium to stabilize high blood pressure.

  1. Helps Digestion

The 7 grams’ fiber content in fennel supports the digestive system. Also, fiber acts like a small brush as it passes through the digestive system and clears the colon of toxins that could possibly trigger colon cancer. Fennel itself can act as a laxative, helping with the elimination of toxins as well. A study by Valussi et al.,2011, affirms that fennel has a considerable body of data to support its digestion-enhancing activities. The authors also recommend ginger, peppermint, citrus fruits, dandelion, and chamomile for digestion as well.

  1. Improves Satiety

Fiber contains no calories, but provides bulk, increasing satiety. Humans do not have the enzymes required to break down fiber, therefore it cannot be absorbed as calories. Fennel provides 7 grams of calorie-free, filling fiber. One study by Howarth et al.,2001, demonstrates that, diets high in fiber support weight loss.

The study further shows that respondents who added 14 grams per day of fiber to their diets, without changing anything else, ate about 10 percent fewer calories per day and lost about four pounds over a period of four months. Increasing fiber intake, by adding fennel and other high fiber foods to the diet may be a simple way to naturally feel more satisfied and to experience weight loss.

  1. Increases Colic

Researchers are of the view that fennel seed oil has been shown to reduce pain and increase motility in the small intestine, making it can excellent natural remedy for colic. Fennel also helps to calm the infant and reduce abdominal distension.

For instance, a study by Alexandrovich et al., (2003) compared fennel seed oil with a placebo in 125 infants. The group treated with fennel seed oil was reported to have 65 percent less colic, measured by crying episodes, than those in the control group, with no side effects. This study was further cemented by another work by Savino et al.,2014.  According to research, the safest way to use it to treat infant colic is for a breastfeeding mother to drink fennel tea as there is no an established safe dose for infants at this time.

  1. Averts Cancer

One study by Chen and deGraffenried,. et al.,2012, explained that, Fennel contains an oil called anethole that has been shown in some clinical studies to act as a natural cancer remedy, helping to reducing the growth of breast cancer cells. It is believed that anethole reduces inflammation that may lead to the development of cancer, although further research is needed to determine how it can be used exactly.

A previous study by Clark et al., 1996, also revealed that other anti-inflammatory nutrients are also found in fennel, such as selenium, a trace mineral that may help decrease cancer mortality rates.  The study which includes over 8,000 participants found that selenium did reduce mortality and decrease future incidences of cancer.

  1. Drops Risk of Heart Disease

A recent study by Afiat et al.,2018, demonstrates that when postmenopausal women used fennel to improve their cholesterol, it resulted in a slight positive change in LDL and HDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels.

  1. Supports good Eye Health

According to www.nei.nih.gov, due to fennel high flavonoid, vitamin C and mineral content, it can help reduce oxidative damage and inflammation, and may help prevent macular degeneration.

  1. Supports Menopausal Symptoms

A 2017 study in Menopause advocates that the use of fennel, a phytoestrogen, may support menopausal symptoms. The authors analyzed 90 women, ages 45 to 60, who had been postmenopausal for at least one year (no more than five years) and had at least moderate menopausal symptoms. respondents either received fennel or placebo capsules daily for eight weeks.

Fennel recipients saw significant improvements in symptoms, whereas placebo recipients did not. Researchers conclude that fennel may help ease menopausal symptoms in women with low estrogen levels as well as those who have experienced early menopause or have had a hysterectomy or oophorectomy. A larger trial, however, is needed to confirm these findings.

A recent study by Khadivzadeh et al.,2018, demonstrates that when fennel is used to relieve menopausal symptoms, it helps to reduce vaginal itching, dryness, sleeping issues, and vasomotor symptoms like night sweats, flushes and hot flashes. Fennel also helped to improve sexual function and sexual satisfaction.

  1. Stimulates Breastmilk Production

A study by Bazzano et al.,2017, found that, fennel acts as a galactagogue agent for women who are breastfeeding. Galactagogues increase the production of breast milk. Although the research on whether or not fennel is effective for promoting the production of breast milk, studies have found that many women who do choose to use herbs as natural galactagogues tend to try fennel, milk thistle and goat’s rue most often.

Comparing Fennel vs. Anise vs. Licorice

Ruggeri, (2018) explains:

Fennel

  • Fennel is a plant in the carrot and celery family. It tastes similar to anise and is also highly aromatic.
  • Fennel, star anise and anise seed all contain anethole, an aromatic compound that’s believed to fight off cancer, inflammation and diabetes.
  • Fennel has been used as medicine for thousands of years. It has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Like anise and licorice, fennel is also used to fight bacterial, fungal and viral infections.

Anise

  • Anise is used as a spice to add flavor to a variety of dishes. Star anise and anise seed are two different spices that come from different plant families. However, they have similar flavor profiles because they both contain anethole.
  • Like fennel and licorice, anise seed and star anise have a strong aroma, and their taste is often described as sweet and licorice-like.
  • Anise seed is known for its ability to fight bacterial and fungal infections, regulate blood sugar levels, boost heart health, relieve symptoms of depression and ease menopause symptoms.

Licorice

  • Licorice root is an adaptogen herb that’s used in Chinese medicine for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Licorice is a member of the legume family and like fennel, it contains powerful flavonoids that are rich in antioxidants.
  • Like fennel and anise, licorice helps to ease digestive issues and relieve female reproductive issues, including PMS and menopause. Licorice is also helpful for people struggling with respiratory conditions, leaky gut and adrenal fatigue.

Take home

In conclusion, Fennel has many health benefits supported by enviable research including breast milk production, improving constipation, boost cardiovascular health, improve your skin, aid digestion, increase satiety, relieve colic in infants, prevent cancer, improve eye health and ease menopausal symptoms. For organic fennel, you can contact Ohenewaa on 0241171062.

The writer is on a mission to provide you and your family with the highest quality nutrition tips, scientific herbs and healthy recipes in the world.

DISCLAIMER This post is for enlightenment purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for professional diagnosis and treatments. Remember to always consult your healthcare provider before making any health-related decisions or for counselling, guidance and treatment about a specific medical condition.

The writer is an honorary Professor of Naturopathy Holistic Medicine, a chartered Management Consultant (ChMC), Chartered Institute of Management Consultant, Canada,  President, Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine and currently, LLB level 300 law student. Contact: 0241083423/0541234556

References

  1. Tai, V., Leung, W., Grey, A., Reid, I. R., & Bolland, M. J. (2015). Calcium intake and bone mineral density: systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ (Clinical research ed.)351, h4183. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.h4183
  2. Alexander J. Michels,2011. Vitamin C and Skin Health. https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/vitamin-C
  1. Savino, F., Ceratto, S., De Marco, A., & Cordero di Montezemolo, L. (2014). Looking for new treatments of Infantile Colic. Italian journal of pediatrics40, 53. https://doi.org/10.1186/1824-7288-40-53
  2. Valussi M. Functional foods with digestion-enhancing properties. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2012 Mar;63 Suppl 1:82-9. doi: 10.3109/09637486.2011.627841. Epub 2011 Oct 19. PMID: 22010973.
  3. Alexandrovich I, Rakovitskaya O, Kolmo E, Sidorova T, Shushunov S. The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):58-61. PMID: 12868253.
  • Christine Ruggeri, 2018. Fennel Benefits, Nutrition & Fantastic Recipes. https://draxe.com/nutrition/fennel-benefits/
  • Ching HuiChen and Linda A.deGraffenried, 2012. Anethole suppressed cell survival and induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor status. PhytomedicineVolume 19, Issues 8–9, 15 June 2012, Pages 763-767
  1. Afiat, M., Amini, E., Ghazanfarpour, M., Nouri, B., Mousavi, M. S., Babakhanian, M., & Rakhshandeh, H. (2018). The Effect of Short-term Treatment with Fennel on Lipid Profile in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of menopausal medicine24(1), 29–33. https://doi.org/10.6118/jmm.2018.24.1.29
  2. Khadivzadeh, T., Najafi, M. N., Kargarfard, L., Ghazanfarpour, M., Dizavandi, F. R., & Khorsand, I. (2018). Effect of Fennel on the Health Status of Menopausal Women: A Systematic and Meta-analysis. Journal of menopausal medicine24(1), 67–74. https://doi.org/10.6118/jmm.2018.24.1.67
  3. Clark LC, Combs GF, Turnbull BW, et al. Effects of Selenium Supplementation for Cancer Prevention in Patients With Carcinoma of the Skin: A Randomized Controlled Trial. 1996;276(24):1957–1963. doi:10.1001/jama.1996.03540240035027
  • Bazzano, A. N., Cenac, L., Brandt, A. J., Barnett, J., Thibeau, S., & Theall, K. P. (2017). Maternal experiences with and sources of information on galactagogues to support lactation: a cross-sectional study. International journal of women’s health9, 105–113. https://doi.org/10.2147/IJWH.S128517
galactagogue agent for women who are breastfeeding-Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey
Photo: Dr. Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, RND, PhD
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