Some of the nutritious health benefits of fenugreek seeds and leaves include diabetes management, gallstone, protect the eyes from cataract, fights cancer, protect liver and stomach from alcohol toxicity, good for heart and kidney, helps to loose weight, enhances athletic performance, lower cholesterol, ease menstruation and menopausal symptoms, and useful in hyperthyroidism.
Nutritional value of Fenugreek seeds and leaves
- The biological name of fenugreek is Trigonella foenum-graecum.
- It is also commonly known as Fenogreco (Spanish), Fenugrec (French), Methi (Hindi), Venthiyam (Tamil), Uluva (Malayalam), Menthulu (Telugu), Methi (Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, Oriya & Urdu), Meth (Punjabi) in many households.
- A 100 gm of fenugreek has about 323 calories.
- It is low in Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol.
- It is also a good source of Protein, Magnesium, Copper and Manganese, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber and Iron.
- It also contain water, phytosterols, vitamins(Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Folate) and minerals( Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Potassium, Sodium, Zinc, Copper, Manganese,Selenium).
Health Benefits of Fenugreek
1. Good for lactating mothers
In a small study, five trials found an increase in breast milk production.
Another study concluded that, herbal tea supplementation containing fenugreek seems to be useful for enhancing breast milk production and facilitating infant birth weight regain in early postnatal days.
In another study, a combination of Fenugreek, Fennel and Melissa extracts improves colic (uncontrollable crying) in breastfed infants within 1 week.
Fenugreek seeds have a significant therapeutic effect on blood glucose and serum lipid profiles in insulin-dependant type 1 diabetic patients.
In another study, fenugreek seeds improves triglyceride levels, glycemic control and decreases insulin resistance in mild type 2 diabetic patients. There is also a favourable effect on hypertriglyceridemia, that reduces the risk of various coronary artery diseases.
Fenugreek seed polyphenolic extract are useful in improving insulin signaling, sensitivity and promote the cellular functiong of insulin.
Studies indicates that fenugreek seed helps to counteract high levels of glucose in the blood, and may use as complementary medicine to treat the diabetic population by significantly reducing dose of standard drugs.
Another study has found that the dosage of 1 g/kg of body weight of fenugreek leaf powder was similar to that of glibenclamide and insulin restores all the parameters to near normal values.
Study has shown that fenugreek seeds can be used as an adjuvant in the control of type 2 diabetes mellitus in the form of soaked in hot water.
Study has found that dietary intake of fenugreek seed reduces the risk and regresses preestablished cholesterol gallstones. Reasons for formation of gallstone include genetics, body weight, diet, and decrease in movement of gallbladder.
Studies indicated that diosgenin, a compound isolated from fenugreek, has ability to makes tumor cells more sensitive to the effects of chemotherapy against human liver cancer cells. Fenegureek can play a potential role in the treatment of liver and other cancers.
In another study diosgenin, a steroidal saponin from a therapeutic herb, fenugreek has been recognized to have anticancer properties and inhibits telomerase activity by down regulation of hTERT gene expression in lung cancer cells.
5. Eye problems
A study has found that fenugree has strong antioxidants properties which helps to protect against selenite-induced oxidative stress, thereby reducing the risk and protecting eye against cataract. Cataract is the development of opacity in eye lens and responsible to 50% of blindness worldwide.
Study indicate that fenugreek is most effective in restoring the altered lens metabolism and morphological appearance in diabetes. This helps to reduces the risk of cataract development due to diabetic complications.
Another study has found that fenugreek has anti-cataract effect evident from decreased opacity index.
6. Liver protection
Fenugreek seeds contain polyphenols that helps to protects the liver from alcohol toxicity. Including fenugreek in diet helps to restore liver health and protect liver against liver damage or other diseases.
7. Aid in weight loss
Fenugreek contains a soluble fiber that improves blood lipid and glucose responses ,while also helps to reduce abdominal obesity or midsection fat. In a study, fenugreek reduces triglyceride accumulation in the liver, indicating its potential therapeutic value in the treatment of fatty liver.
Another study, confirmed that fenugreek seed extract is expected to prevent the obesity induced by a high-fat diet.
Fenugreek are rich in antioxidants. Studies, indicate that it helps to protect whole body including liver, heart and kidney from oxidative stress. Study has found that the leaves of fenugreek has higher values of anti-radical power compared with their seeds.
9. Kidney protection
Fenugreek has antitoxic and antioxidant potential. Studies indicate that phytochemicals present in fenugreek could play an important role in ameliorating the pesticide-induced toxicity. It helps to protect liver and kidney agianst toxicity.
10. Heart health
Studies has found that the presence of flavonoids, especially naringenin in fenugreek seeds have lipid-lowering and antioxidant effects. In another study, fenugreek seeds is rich in galactomannan, natural soluble fiber which helps to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease of the blood vessels leading to stroke and heart diseases.
11. Athletics performance
Studies indicate that fenugreek seeds improve athletics endurance the increase utilization of fatty acids as an energy source.
12. Human growth hormone booster
Study has found that fenugreek seeds contain saponins that can stimulate growth hormone from pituitary cells.
Fenugreek is rich in phytochemical like alkaloids, flavonoids, tannins, saponins has anti-bacterial properties which makes it useful for many home remedies.
In vitro study has found that fenugreek has broad antibacterial activity against bacterial diseases.
14. Stomach protection
Including fenugreek in diet helps to protect the stomach mucosa against injury by increasing gastric mucus secretion. The polyphenolic compounds of fenugreek seeds can be considered to protect stomach from ulcers, during alcohol toxicity. It is must have herb for people who drink as it helps to protect stomach and liver from the bad impact of alcohol on the body.
15. Thyroid problems
Fenugreek and onion lowers concentrations of T3 and T4 in hyperthyroidism. Study has found that fenugreek and onion extracts may be used individually and not together in the regulation of hyperthyroidism.
16. Eases menstruation discomfort
Fenugreek helps to stimulate blood flow in the pelvic area and uterus that relieves menstruation discomfort and relieves the associated symptoms.
17. Reduce menopausal symptoms
Fenugreek contains the chemicals diosgenin and estrogenic isoflavones, which helps to reduce menopausal symptoms caused due to the loss of estrogen like mood swings, depression, cramps, and abnormal hunger pangs. Also, fenugreek helps to maintain hormonal balance.
18. Lower cholesterol level
Studies show that consumption of fenugreek helps to reduce cholesterol level. It helps to significantly reduce bad cholesterol and prevent various diseases including atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. Fenugreek is a rich source of fiber, which helps to remove excess cholesterol off from the arteries and blood vessels of the body.
- Avoid using fenugreek in pregnancy as it can stimulate contraction.
- Not enough data recorded for safety use of fenugreek during breast-feeding.
- Unsafe for children as it can cause loss of consciousness.
- People with diabetes should monitor blood sugar carefully as it is known to lower blood sugar and adjust diabetic medication dosage accordingly.
Ways to include fenugreek in diet
- The fried or fresh leaves of fengrueek can be added to the curries, soup or salad.
- Eat fenugreek as sprouts or microgreens.
- Make stuffed bread or tortillas out of fresh leaves of fenugreek.