The fresh, aniseed taste of fennel is a delicious way to add flavour to your cooking. Fennel also has a reputation for health-giving properties that include everything from easing flatulence to helping to produce milk for women who are breastfeeding.

Some of the therapeutic uses of fennel include:

  • Relieving gastric upsets, including flatulence, wind, belching and hiccups.
  • May ease colic and intestinal pain.
  • Mimics the female hormone oestrogen, so it may encourage the production of breast milk for lactating mothers and may also stimulate menstruation. It is also thought to help improve menopausal symptoms.
  • Can help to clear coughs.

Important note: it is advised to avoid eating fennel seeds during pregnancy as they may stimulate contractions in the uterus.

Choosing fennel

The variety, Florence fennel, is the most common variety available at the greengrocers. Look for plump stems and healthy, green fronds. You can also buy seeds and tea from health food stores.

Storing fennel

Store seeds and tea in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. Fresh stems should be lightly wrapped in plastic wrap or a plastic bag and stored in the fridge. Use within a few days for freshness.

Using fennel

Shane Dodd, from Fresh Finesse, has these tips for using fennel: “The crisp white bulb at the base of the familiar feathery leaves has a distinct aniseed taste and is frequently used in Mediterranean cooking. Slice into salads to add a lovely fresh accent or gently braise with good olive oil, garlic and black pepper. Don’t forget to use the feathery tops, especially with seafood.”

Nutritional information

Per 100 g of raw fennel

Calories18 cals
Kilojoules78 kj
Total fats0 g
Carbohydrates3.5 g
Cholesterol0 mg
Protein1 g
Fibre3 g
Potassium280 mg
Calcium20 mg


Calorie King
CalorieKing's mission is to provide the best information, tools and education to Australians to help them conquer their weight.

CalorieKing is the brainchild of Allan Borushek, registered dietitian, co-found here at food.com.au and author of "Allan Borushek's Pocket Calorie & Fat Counter", Australia's best-selling calorie counter for over 30 years.

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