Fennel juice is one of my favorite things to add to juice recipes as it helps me out with two conditions I’ve struggled with: digestion and anemia. And yet it remains one of the most underrated juicing ingredients, with most juicing machines never even getting the opportunity to meet this crunchy vegetable with its shocking green of delicious greens!
And that’s just too much of a shame to bear. Especially when fennel comes packed with tons of unique health benefits that everyone can use more of!
Before we get to why you should juice fennel, let’s meet this funny veggie first. So what is fennel?
Fennel is mainly composed of a fleshy bulb and a stalk that is topped with feathery leaves, all of which are edible – yes, you can juice all of it. Belonging to the Umbellifereae vegetable family, fennel is a cousin to the coriander, dill, carrot and parsley. It is believed to have come from the regions of the Mediterranean, but some accounts point to Southern Europe as the first source of this sweet and delicate-tasting plant.
And fennel doesn’t just have unique health perks – it also has a very unique, distinctive taste and scent that’s very similar to anise and licorice. If the mention of licorice turns you off – don’t worry, fennel plays very nicely with a huge variety of popular juicing ingredients like apples and carrots so even non-licorice lovers end up enjoying the subtle hint of fennel.
Oh, and you’re probably already familiar with its taste even if you’ve never juiced the stuff. Fennel is commonly found in French, Italian and Mediterranean cooking as well as used in a variety of non-culinary applications like the manufacture of antacids and toothpastes. It is even used as a key ingredient in some commercial mouth washes and breath fresheners.
9 Fabulous Fennel Juice Benefits
So why do you want it in your juice recipes? Here’s 6 reasons why!
Boosts your digestive powers
Fresh fennel juice made from the bulb and leaves of the plant (and even tea made from the seeds) is super soothing on the tummy, which may be because the entire plant contains antioxidants – quercitin and rutin – which encourage more digestive juices in the stomach, making it easier for your body to break down and absorb as much nutrients as possible from digested food.
The leaves and bulb of the fennel plant also contain high amounts of fiber and folate, which not only help improve colon function, but also help combat cancer-causing free radicals and toxins in the gastrointestinal tract.
Keeps anemia away
Fennel is one of best natural sources of histidine, an amino acid that boosts the production of hemoglobin in the body. It also forms a bond with the essential mineral, iron, to keep blood flow optimal and prevent hypotension, an abnormal lag in blood pressure levels.
Protects your joints
But that’s not all – fennel is not as rich in vitamins and minerals as some other herbs, but it does contain some very unique health benefits. For example, the phytochemicals found in fennel have been shown to help maintain joint health and even prevent diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
Even cooler? These phytochemicals are also found to help speed up the healing of damaged muscles and tissues, especially those that line the arms and legs.
Keeps bacteria at bay
The essential oils – fenchyl acetate, estragole and anethole – that give fennel its distinct licorice-like taste have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties, which is why fennel is still used in places like India – where there’s still a large inclination toward natural medicines – to treat fungal conditions like thrush and athlete’s foot.
Fights off sore throat
There are phytochemicals in fennel that naturally inhibit the overproduction of the streptococcus bacteria in the throat, which can cause a number of maladies like strep throat if left unchecked. Interestingly, some of these phytochemicals are extracted to make antibiotics that fight off impetigo, a type of skin infection, meningitis and pneumonia.
Helps your immune system
Akin to citrus fruits, fennel contains very high amounts of vitamin C. Apart from helping prevent communicable diseases like colds and cough, the vitamin C (a famous antioxidant) in this vegetable also helps fight free radicals and toxins that can potentially develop into serious health problems like cancer, stroke and heart attack in the future.
Promotes healthy eyes
Anethole, one of the essential oils in fennel, has also been found to help speed up the rejuvenation of tired eye cells that can eventually lead to vision issues. Ancient Chinese medicinal texts even recommend chewing on the stalks and leaves of the fennel plant during the onset of sore eyes or conjunctivitis to accelerate healing.
Natural way to stimulate breast milk for nursing mothers
Mothers who find it tricky to produce breast milk for their babies should load up on as much fennel as they can. The bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds of this plant contain the flavonoid, kaempferol glycoside, which not only helps boost the amount of breast milk produced in a woman’s body, but also increases the amount of nutrients that it contains.
Fights bad breath
Oh, and lastly – ‘though most herbs are great for bad breath – fennel is in a class of its own. It doesn’t overpower (I’m lookin’ at you, ginger) and has a pleasant, almost addicting taste that helps freshen breath.
Important note: One thing you should know about fennel is that it contains phytoestrogens (plant-based estrogens), which is the reason why it’s usually found on the ingredients list of most breast enhancement pills. These phytoestrogens may be a perk to juicing fennel for menopausal women, but if you’re estrogen-dominant or suffer from PCOS – you might want to skip fennel and check out the other herbs on this list 🙂
6 Fenne-tastic Fennel Juice Recipes
Want some yummy fennel juice recipes you can try today? Here you go 🙂
Simply Fenne-tastic Juice
Sometimes you need the fresh juice but you just don’t have the time. Which is where simple, two ingredient juice recipes come in. This one is just perfection – it’ll take you all of 2 minutes to make and packs a huge dose of antioxidants and digestion-boosting prowess.
This is all you need:
- 1/2 fennel bulb, leaves and all
- 1 apple, green preferred
It’s ridiculously refreshing as well 😉
This is one lovely juice recipe to wake up to – guaranteed to kick your system into gear, freshen your breath from within, and start your day off on the brightest note. It’s got anti-oxidant-packed orange and apples to lend the overall recipe a welcome sweetness, betanin-laden beets to help your system gently detox, and iron-rich fennel to boost your digestive powers.
Upset Tummy Juice Remedy
When your having tummy troubles, the last thing you want to do is fuss with a complicated juice recipe. Which is why simple, 2 or 3 ingredient juice recipes are best for times of digestive upset.
Like this one, courtesy of In Sonnet’s Kitchen:
- 2 cucumbers
- 1 small fennel bulb
- 1-inch piece of fresh ginger
We love how quick and easy it is – plus, it’s so refreshing and low in sugar so you can sip on it, guilt-free, all day until your tummy perks back up.
This is an interesting juice recipe – one that might take you by surprise at first (it does taste slightly unusual, as far as juice recipes go) but in time, you’ll probably find yourself liking it 🙂
Fennel lends this recipe a licorice-y flavor, as well as its iron-rich, digestion-boosting benefits. Carrots and red bell peppers give the juice a tremendous boost of eye-and-skin-health-promoting vitamin A. Kale – the Queen of Greens – contributes around 45 different antioxidants and ginger gives the whole recipe a spicy kick that gets your circulation and metabolism going.
Spicy Cranberry Detox Juice
Here’s one of my all-time favorite cranberry juice recipes. It’s unique, it’s delicious, it’s so, so cleansing.
- 1 cup cranberries
- 1/2 apple
- 1/2 bulb fennel
- 1 inch turmeric
Juice it up and sip!
Minty Morning: A Breakfast Green Juice
If you’re a little bored of the usual green juice recipes, you’ll have to try one that features fennel. The one bulb of fennel adds plenty of its unique licorice-y flavor to this otherwise fairly typical green juice and it all goes surprisingly well with the pH-balancing lemon!
Fun Fennel Facts
Okay, so there’s some amusing facts surrounding fennel that just deserve to be shared 🙂
- The ancient Greeks revered fennel and many of their traditions and myths featured this crunchy plant in one way or another. It is said that the runner, Pheiddipides, was rewarded a hefty amount of fennel for revealing the invasion of Sparta by the Persians.
- Ancient Greeks also believed that the gods sent messages to humans using fennel stalks stuffed with lumps of coal. The Greek god of wine and food, Dionysus, is the patron of fennel. Who knew, huh?