Nitrates are extremely helpful for those who suffer from illnesses that affect circulation. In healthy individuals, they can also improve blood flow, which provides an advantage in athletic performance. Beet juice, in particular, has received a lot of press in the last few years for its athletic benefits and spinach provides much of the same.
The trick for athletes is that beets and spinach are not particularly convenient or portable. However, fennel seeds are and have the same effect on the human body. Their portability makes them an ideal snack for mountain climbers to carry as they’re small and provide a boost of blood flow through the body (especially important at altitude). If you’re a performance athlete, the effect can provide extra cardiovascular abilities. If you’re a runner, swimmer, biker or all of the above (triathlete!), you may want to consider fennel seeds for training and race day.
Fennel seeds have a number of additional health benefits. Most famously, they are a natural breath freshener. They can also aid digestion and related gastric ailments including IBS, bloating, and heartburn. Because they improve blood flow, fennel seeds can also help prevent heart disease and strokes.
There are some downsides to keep in mind. It’s yet to be established if fennel seeds as a supplement are safe for pregnant women. It can also increase estrogen, so care should be used if you have a medical issue such as breast or ovarian cancer. Fennel seeds can also trigger a similar allergic reaction in those affected by celery and carrots.