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Fennel your way to calm

by Cascade Ice on July 19, 2011

The Flavorful Life is featuring several “healthy living journey” stories from Cascade Ice fans around the country, where guest bloggers tell us their thoughts on how they face challenges and come up with new ideas to pursue better health and fitness lifestyles. The following is the latest update from Dawn Sievers of Knoxville, TN, and blogger for “The Healing Morning

Fennel?  Calming, you say?  Yes, I do!  Fennel is one of those overlooked vegetables, not all that common here in the southeastern region where I live.  I have to go to a specific grocery store to find it, but it is well worth the extra trip.  Once I began to research the health benefits of fennel, I found that it has been an ages old remedy for a wide range of ailments.

Fennel provides an excellent source of potassium, vitamin C and fiber.  It is also a very good source of folic acid and phosphorous.  In addition, fennel is a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and manganese.

So, how is it calming?  Consumption of fennel has been proven to release endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins are the feel-good chemical that helps calm fears and anxiety levels.  You may have heard of “runner’s high” that marathon runners feel after running long distances.  I don’t know about you, but I’d just as soon find a different method to access endorphins than tormenting my joints with marathon running!  And I can report from my own experiences in my kitchen that fennel does give a sense of calm, without the carbohydrate overloads that you would have with chips, pasta or potatoes.

Fennel also aids in digestion and is often eaten at the end of a meal, in raw form.  The taste is similar to licorice, and is stronger in raw form, milder after being cooked.  My favorite method is cutting the fronds (leafy, feathery greens at the top of the bulb) off, splitting the bulb in half and brushing with balsamic vinegar, then grilling.  You can also save the fronds and snip them into salads for a light, licorice flavor.   Being a Cascade Ice Water fanatic, the other day I had leftover fennel fronds in the refrigerator and I snipped them into a glass of Cascade Ice Strawberry Lemonade – it was delicious!

Has anyone out there made any special dishes with fennel? Please share below!