As a Hound Dog, you may think I am a strict carnivore. Sure, I enjoy a good steak (organic of course!) every now and again, but my regular readers know that I am also a major advocate of what your mom always said – “eat your fruits and veggies!”
I have also come to find that we “dogs” can learn a lesson or two from the birds! A lot of the seeds to healthy weight loss are found in — SEEDS! Well, not birdseed, but specifically fennel seeds.
Fennel seeds kind of taste and smell like licorice, or the spice anise, and they have been used in various cultures for centuries as a diet aid. Fennel seeds are known to act as a diuretic – that means they help you eliminate water, and can relieve bloating and help with digestion. But can they actually aid in getting rid of body fat and long term weight-loss? I decided to find out.
Research studies seem to back up the use of fennel seeds to treat bloating and gas, and as a general digestive aid, and to relieve stomach upsets. However, when it comes to weight loss, it is an essential oil made from fennel seeds, and not the seeds themselves, which is receiving a lot of attention.
So what exactly is an essential oil? The word “essential” should not be taken to mean that these compounds are “essential” for your health, although many of them are. In “essential” oil, the essential refers to the fact that the oils distilled from the plant, in this case fennel, retain all of the “essential” medicinal, or pharmacological aspects of that plant.
The claim is that fennel seed essential oil may influence weight loss in two ways, by boosting metabolism, and also as an appetite suppressant. Some claim that fennel may also stimulate the break down of stored fat in the bloodstream to be used as energy for cells. Few studies have been able to support the claims of increased metabolism, or “fat burning” by supplementation with fennel seed oil, however several studies indicate that it does suppress appetite, and lead to lower caloric intake. For example, a study conducted at the Thuringian State Institute of Agriculture in Germany, found that those who supplemented their diets with fennel seed oil, and/or drank fennel tea between meals had decreased food consumption.
Fennel oil is also known to contain melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that is related to healthy sleep patterns, and may also regulate fat metabolism.
Fennel seeds are tasty and aromatic. Nutritionally speaking, fennel is good for you, and a healthy snack, or great to add to salads and other recipes. It’s a good source of potassium, magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and C, so for its nutritional value alone, it’s a good idea to add this delightful little seed to your diet. The jury may still be out as to whether the seeds or the essential oil derived from fennel seeds actually help you to “burn fat.” However, since fennel has been shown to deliver a high degree of satiety, and therefore prevent overeating, it may just help you stick to your diet, and achieve your weight loss goals.
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