Scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, the edible herb called fennel belongs to the Apiaceae family, which also includes carrots and parsley. It is native to Europe and related to certain herbs that have fragrant flowers widely referred to as seeds, such as anise, cumin and dill. Although some people use fennel for its scent or claimed medicinal properties, the plant is a well-known ingredient in cooking and food products, too.
Edible fennel is available in bulb, leaf, seed and stalk form, and cooks use it as a flavoring agent, garnish, herb or vegetable in dishes. You can consume the different parts of the plant in various ways, explains the Herb Society of America, such as by cooking the stalk to use as a vegetable, eating the stalk uncooked, adding the raw leaves to salads or preparing tea from fennel leaves or seeds. The actual nutritional properties of fennel may vary based on such factors as added ingredients, cooking method and the variety used.
According to the World's Healthiest Foods website, a one-cup serving of raw fennel bulb provides approximately 27 calories. This amount equals about 1.5 percent of the daily calories in a diet that includes 2,000 calories total. The serving contains roughly one calorie derived from fat, three calories derived from protein and 23 calories derived from carbohydrates. A one-cup serving of raw fennel bulb is equivalent to 87 g.
One cup of raw fennel bulb contains almost no fat or cholesterol. The amount of each component present in a single serving is so low that they both provide 0 percent of the fat and cholesterol your body needs per day. As a result, a one-cup serving has no impact on your daily intake of saturated fat and trans fat, either.
Carbohydrates and Protein
One cup of raw fennel bulb provides 6 g of carbohydrates, which represents 2 percent of the carbohydrates you require each day if you consume 2,000 calories. This amount includes approximately 3 g of dietary fiber, or 11 percent of the daily value, and an insignificant 0.14 g of sugar. A one-cup serving of raw fennel bulb also contains 1 g of protein, which provides about 2 percent of the amount needed daily in a diet of 2,000 calories.
Minerals and Vitamins
Raw fennel is low in sodium at 45 mg per one-cup serving, which provides 2 percent of the daily value for the mineral. However, one cup of raw fennel contains substantial amounts of numerous other important nutrients, notes the World's Healthiest Foods website, including vitamin C, folate, molybendum, manganese, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and vitamin B3, or niacin. For example, a one-cup serving of raw fennel provides about 10 mg of vitamin C, or 17 percent of the daily value; 360 mg of potassium, or 10 percent of the daily value; and 43 mg of calcium, or 4 percent of the daily value. One cup of raw fennel bulb also contains less substantial amounts of the minerals selenium and zinc and vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 and B6.