What is Fenugreek
Fenugreek is an annual plant that is also known as methi in many places in the world. [ It is a member of the bean family and its scientific family name is Fabaceae. It is native to the Middle and Near East and is widely used in the Indian subcontinent. It has small round leaves. There is even evidence that the ancient Egyptians understood the benefits of this herb since its seeds have been found in tombs, particularly of Tutankhamen. This plant is grown in countries across the globe, but the majority is cultivated and consumed in India.
Fenugreek Nutrition Facts
According to the USDA, fenugreek contains a variety of beneficial nutrients, including iron, magnesium, manganese, and copper, as well as vitamin B6, protein, and dietary fiber. It also contains antioxidants, powerful phytonutrients, including choline, trigonelline, yamogenin, gitogenin, diosgenin, tigogenin, and neotigogens. Most of the health benefits of fenugreek are due to the presence of saponins and fibers in it.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek is used for herbal healing and has many important health benefits that are explained in greater detail below.
Reduces Menstrual Discomfort
Fenugreek is considered a potent substance that eases the process of menstruation and relieves the associated symptoms. It is an emmenagogue, which means that it can open up obstructed menses and give relief from menstrual disorders.
Minimizes Symptoms of Menopause
Fenugreek contains the chemicals diosgenin and estrogenic isoflavones, which are similar to the female sex hormone, estrogen. Loss of estrogen causes menopausal symptoms. So, eating it helps reduce menopausal symptoms like mood swings, depression, cramps, and abnormal hunger pangs. It helps monitor a number of other hormones as well, keeping many other bodily processes in line as well.
Lowers Cholesterol Levels
Research published in The British Journal of Nutrition shows that fenugreek consumption helps reduce cholesterol levels. It helps reduce the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol significantly, which can prevent various conditions like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. It is a rich source of fiber, which scrapes excess cholesterol off of the arteries and blood vessels of the body. By reducing cholesterol content in the bloodstream, you reduce the risk of formation of blood clots
Prevents Colon Cancer
Fenugreek possesses anti-carcinogenic properties. The steroid diosgenin present in the herb has been specifically linked to colon cancer prevention. Furthermore, various non-starch polysaccharides like saponins, hemicellulose, mucilage, tannin, and pectin, lower cholesterol levels and inhibit the bile salts from being reabsorbed by the colon. This can bind to the toxins and protect the colon’s mucous membrane, which can reduce colorectal cancer and other conditions that can negatively affect the colon
In some studies, fenugreek has been found to exhibit anticancer effects and may also aid in inducing apoptosis or programmed cell death.
Fenugreek extract helps alleviate type I and type II diabetes. A 2005 pilot study suggests that the addition of fenugreek seeds to the diet of diabetics helped in lowering blood glucose level. Due to the presence of the natural fiber galactomannan, the herb slows down the rate at which sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream. 4-hydroxyisoleucine is an amino acid found in fenugreek that regulates the release of insulin. This helps prevent the plunges and peaks of blood sugar in diabetics. 15-20 grams of fenugreek is usually recommended for controlling blood sugar on a daily basis.
Fenugreek adds bulk to the stool due to its high fiber content. This also aids in treating constipation, diarrhea, and relieving minor indigestion.
Traditional Chinese medicine recommends the use of fenugreek for patients suffering from various kidney conditions. According to an animal study, fenugreek may help reduce the amount of calcification of kidneys and reduce the risk of developing kidney stones. However, more research would be needed to support the claim.
Relieves Sore Throat
Fenugreek’s soothing mucilage helps relieve a sore throat, associated pain, and cough.
Other benefits of fenugreek include the following:
- reats wounds, inflammation, and gastrointestinal ailments.
- Helps in battling free radicals due to its antioxidant property.
- According to Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, it can be used for inducing labor and aiding digestion.
- Helps improve the body’s overall metabolismand health.
- External application of fenugreek gives relief from irritated skin and other conditions.
- Acts as a febrifuge and gives relief from muscle aches.
Fenugreek is considered to be safe, herbal food. It is used as a spice in many cultures and tastes like bitter celery and maple syrup.