What are fenugreek seeds?
Fenugreek seeds (also known as methi seeds in Hindi) are an integral part of any Indian's kitchen.
Aside from its unique flavour and aromas, the fenugreek seed is ripe with antioxidants and nutrients.
It could make a powerful addition to your kitchen cabinet - if you don't already have some.
Fenugreek is cultivated across the entire world, but mostly in Europe and China, and parts of Africa. It's a sturdy, two to three-foot tall herb with green leaves and small white flowers.
Each seed pod contains anywhere from 1 to 20 small, yellow-brown, almost triangular seeds. They have a strong smell and a bitter taste.
All parts of the plant can be used - the leaves are used as spices (usually first baked and ground – the bitter taste is off-putting when the seeds are used raw), the sprouts can be eaten as vegetables.
Most of the world only sees the dried seeds in their kitchen – the fresh leaves and roots are used locally in areas where it's produced.
The seeds are easier to dry after being extracted from the plant and sent to grocery stores and supermarkets.
People with allergies to peanuts or chickpeas should beware – they may be allergic to fenugreek seeds as well.
Cool facts about fenugreek seeds:
- Fenugreek seeds can be used to imitate vanilla, butterscotch and rum flavorings. It's the main ingredient in imitation maple syrup!
- Fenugreek – much like turmeric, another Indian spice – used to be used as a yellow dye.
- Fenugreek isn't just used in food. It's medicinal uses extend to topical anti-bacterial.
- Fenugreek can be used as an insect repellent in grain storage.
- Fenugreek can improve digestion and cardiovascular issues. It can relieve constipation, and prevent inflammation in the stomach. It can also aid those who are experiencing arterial hardening.
11 Ways to Use Fenugreek Seeds For good health
There are tons of different ways to add fenugreek to your diet to improve health.
To better understand what sort of health benefits this amazing plant has, we've compiled 11 different ways you can use fenugreek to help improve your health.
1. Fenugreek seeds help control blood glucose
In a study group that used fenugreek seeds which were soaked in hot water or served with yogurt for 8 weeks. The findings show that VLDL, fasting blood glucose, triglycerides were reduced significantly in the group who took fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water.(2)
The effects would surely be similar if you ground the fenugreek and consumed its raw powder.
Fenugreek seeds need to be ground or boiled and soaked before eating them. They are difficult to digest, and the nutrients won't be absorbed properly if it's not prepared.
2. Fenugreek seeds reduce total cholesterol, LDL and increase good cholesterol (HDL)
Fenugreek seeds have been studied for their effects on reducing total cholesterol levels.
And it is found that they not only reduce the total amount of cholesterol, but they increase the high density (HDL) cholesterol as well as reduce LDL cholesterol levels which can be beneficial for our body.(3)(4)
These studies are yet to be sure what particular active components of fenugreek are responsible for this effect as well as how effective they are for human.
However, they suggest that including fenugreek as part of your daily routine is a good idea.
It is easy to get fenugreek seeds in your diet. They can be cooked into food and used in diet easily. But make sure to consume a certain amount.
Eating fenugreek seeds two or three times a day would help your body keeping control on your cholesterol levels.
3. Fenugreek seeds are good if you’re iron deficient
Fenugreek seeds have been known for years for its ability to help those deficient in iron.
It has a very high iron content, and the regular consumption of it will maintain the required amount of iron in your blood. You can get 20% of your daily dose of iron requirement with just a tbsp of fenugreek seeds.(5)
Fenugreek also helps your body produce red blood cells.
Even fenugreek cooked into food has enough iron to help out the iron deficient, so adding fenugreek to your daily diet will be of great benefit.
Anemia, a condition that can be caused by severe iron deficiency, has been remedied with controlled usages of fenugreek seeds.(6)
4. Fenugreek seeds are rich in fiber
Fenugreek is impressively high in fiber content.
An ounce of fenugreek seeds has 7 grams of dietary fiber. This amount is nearly 28% of daily required fiber content for a 2000 calories diet.
Fenugreek's fiber content helps maintain blood pressure and insulin response.(7)
5. Fenugreek seeds improve cardiovascular health
This allows the body to better fight off free radicals which could eventually cause hardened arteries and a weaker heart.
Cardiovascular health is extremely important. It regulates the blood flow in the body, prevents against stroke and heart disease, and improves your body's ability to transport oxygen and nutrients.
6. Fenugreek seeds heal, moisturize and nourish skin
Light wounds and rashes can be soothed by topical application of fenugreek powder (which you can make by simply baking the seeds and crushing them, then mixing with honey).
It also helps ease the pain of muscle aches and can soothe fevers.
For anyone looking to maintain a pleasant, glowing skin, they should look into adding fenugreek seeds into their diet.
7. Fenugreek seeds help maintain a healthy weight
Fenugreek can be used as a potent appetite suppressant, helping people who habitually overeat stop themselves from doing so. Galactomannan, once again, is responsible for another positive benefit in fenugreek's profile.
Galactomannan swells up in the stomach. This causes a person to feel full sooner than they normally would. They'll stop eating sooner than they would have before, and begin to lose weight.
Fenugreek also improves the body's metabolism.
You might not want to use fenugreek if your weight problem is caused by something other than overeating.
Suppressing a normal appetite will only lead to malnutrition and other problems. If you have a hereditary weight problem, seek other alternatives.
8. Fenugreek seeds may strengthen your bones
This has not been tested thoroughly, but this study determined that fenugreek did have benefits in the muscle and skeletal system of various types of rats. Different rats showed different responses. They did not specify which parts of fenugreek exerted this effects.(11)
While each different type of rat had slightly different responses to the fenugreek supplementation, they all showed a benefit.
Because of this, the only conclusions reached by the study were that one could supplement their diet with fenugreek. It won't hurt, and it might do a little bit of good – but don't go replacing your calcium intake with fenugreek.
9. Fenugreek seeds help fight with arthritis
Fenugreek has been evaluated for a number of health benefits it offers.(12)
10. Fenugreek seeds improve immune response
Fenugreek has been studied for its benefits on immune support.
The referenced study experiments on marine gilt-head breams, who are dosed with fenugreek extract. The results are that the immune response of these species was enhanced greatly by the fenugreek.(14)
Another study shows that the immune systems of rats respond to fenugreek similarly.(15)
People claim that it works for them. While the studies haven't specified what compound within fenugreek causes this immune benefit, we can feel safe in assuming that it works for people, too.
An improved immune system means that your body is better at fighting off diseases and infections. Including fenugreek in your daily diet may save you from a chronic illness or infection someday!
11. Fenugreek seeds can improve libido in men and women
A study that was done on 60 healthy male adults in the age range of 25 to 52 years without any erectile dysfunction.
There was a notable improvement in the study group that took fenugreek extract (Testofen), suggesting it can help with erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow.(16)
Another study also confirms that the fenugreek seed extract (Testofen) is helpful in reducing symptoms of androgen deficiency, increasing sexual desire and testosterone levels in healthy adults of 43-70 years of age.(17)
Not only for men but also the fenugreek seed extract is equally beneficial for women' libido too.(18)
Fenugreek is an important source of diosgenin, a biologically active steroid, which is widely used in the production of steroids, sex hormones, and contraceptives.(19)
Fenugreek has been used for curing bronchitis, kidney ailments, tuberculosis, coughs, helping people with Parkinson's disease, and has even been reported to heal mouth ulcers and infertility.
These benefits have not been studied to the extent of the ones linked here. However, the studies linked here show that fenugreek's healing powers are above average.
Just because they're not studied, that doesn't mean these claims aren't true. If not, fenugreek is still powerful enough for you to want to keep in your kitchen.
What is your take? What do you find about fenugreek seeds ? Don't forget to leave your comment.