Fenugreek is one of the aromatic plants that have different types of uses. These uses can be culinary as well as others. Apart from this, it is also one of the key ingredients of curries and other Indian recipes. Moreover, it is also used for medicinal purposes as well. It is cultivated in South Asia, North Africa, and some parts of the Mediterranea. The plant has small round leaves, and it also produces long pod-like structures that contain distinctive bitter-tasting seeds. These leaves can be sold as vegetables (fresh leaves, sprouts, micro green) as well as an herb (dried leaves).
What is fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a type of plant that is mostly grown in parts of Europe as well as Western Asia. It is popular for its leaves. Its leaves are edible and used in different dishes as well. Not only its leaves, but its seeds are also important because they are used in medicine. They have medicinal qualities in them. Fenugreek was first used in Egypt, dating back to 1500 B.C. Across the Middle East and South Asia, the seeds were traditionally used both as a spice and as a medicine. The taste of the seeds is somehow like maple syrup that is used in food as well as in medicine. It is believed that fenugreek has many medicinal properties, one of those properties is to reduce sugar absorption in the stomach apart from this it also enhances the stimulus of insulin in the body.
How do fenugreeks help diabetic patients?
To understand how it helps diabetic patients. Fenugreek seeds contain fibers and other important chemicals. These fibers and chemicals help in slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates as well as sugar in the body. Now, when the body is unable to absorb these carbohydrates and sugar, it significantly reduces the blood sugar level. The seed of fenugreek also helps in improving the release of insulin. Much research that has been done till now shows that; a daily dose of 10 grams of fenugreek seeds soaked in hot water may help control type 2 diabetes. Apart from this, another study suggests that eating baked goods, such as bread, made with fenugreek flour may reduce insulin resistance in people with type 2 diabetes. It is believed that the anti-diabetic properties of fenugreek also improved metabolic symptoms that are related to both type 1 as well as type 2 diabetes. This directly improves their glucose tolerance level and reduces or lowers their blood glucose level. Other benefits of fenugreek can be categorized as:
- It is also considered a good option to reduce the amount of total cholesterol, LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein), or ‘bad’ cholesterol and triglycerides.
- Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that help in protecting the cells of the body from getting damaged. This damage can occur mainly because of unstable molecules of the free radicals.
- Another beneficial factor of the fenugreek seeds is that they have been used for centuries by nursing mothers to help in stimulating the production of breast milk during their pregnancy and childbirth.
- Its powerful antiviral properties make it more accurate to use during colds as well as in sore throats as an herbal remedy.
- Fenugreek seed also helps in menstrual cramps,
- It is believed that it can be beneficial to use fenugreek seeds in the treatment of the:
- Arthritis – A condition with swelling and tenderness of one or more joints. The common symptoms include pain and stiffness in joints.
- High cholesterol – Is a waxy substance that is found in your blood. Your body needs cholesterol to build healthy cells, but high levels of cholesterol can increase your risk of heart disease.
- Skin problems – The skin is the largest organ of the body. Hence, it is believed that fenugreek can help to maintain healthy skin.
- Bronchitis – Bronchitis is an inflammation of the bronchial tubes, the airways that carry air to your lungs. It causes a cough that often brings up mucus. It can also cause shortness of breath, wheezing, a low fever, and chest tightness.
- Apart from these, it is also beneficial for:
- Abscesses – A tender mass filled with pus caused due to infection.
- Hair loss
- Upset stomach
- Kidney ailments
- Heartburn – Heartburn is a burning sensation in your chest that often occurs with a bitter taste in your throat or mouth.
- Male impotence and another type of sexual dysfunction.
Is it safe to consume fenugreek?
Is it safe or not? A very typical question. Well, the simplest and easy answer will be that the amount of fenugreek you are consuming is the major thing rather than how frequent and what is the best or ideal consumption dosage. For instance, the amount of fenugreek that is used in cooking is always considered a safe amount. Although the report from NIH states that women have hormone-sensitive cancer, and fenugreek can mimic estrogen.
Apart from this there are other side-effects of consuming fenugreek, some of them are listed below;
- If somebody consumes a huge amount of fenugreek, he or she can face the consequences such as; gas and bloat.
- Fenugreek can react with certain medications. These medications are especially those that treat blood clotting disorders and diabetes. Therefore, it is advisable to consult with your doctors so necessary precautions need to be taken.
- Fenugreek can also cause allergic reactions. Talk to your doctor about any food allergies you might have before adding fenugreek to your diet.
Therefore, if a person is going through any of these circumstances, then he or she needs to consult with their doctors regarding the same.
What are the side effects of fenugreek?
Fenugreek is commonly consumed in foods. The side effects of the seeds may include;
- Stomach upset
- Can cause allergic reactions in people.
- It can create problems during pregnancy. These problems can be malformations in the baby as well as early contractions. This unusual body odor does not seem to be harmful, but it could be confused with a condition called “maple syrup urine disease.”
How can you add it to your diet?
If you want to add fenugreek to your diet, you can easily do that. For instance, fenugreek seeds are bitter in taste and seem to have a nutty flavor in them. Therefore, they are often used as a spice in many Indian recipes and dishes. The Indian recipes can be curries, pickles, and other sauces. You can also drink fenugreek tea or sprinkle powdered fenugreek over your yogurt. Therefore, it can blend in very easily but if you face a problem, you can always ask your dietitian to help you add it into your routine.
One important thing one should know about fenugreek is that there is no proper evidence and base upon which the benefits of fenugreek in the treatment are established. Fenugreek is an unproven treatment, there is no established dose and formulations. The consumption may differ depending on the brand. Some people take 10 to 15 grams of seeds daily for diabetes and so on.
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