Fenugreek, or the Trigonella foenum graecum is a herb which has seen uses as a traditional remedy for at least a thousand years.
Traditionally, fenugreek is used in Chinese traditional medicine for dermatological diseases.
In the meantime, the functionality of fenugreek has shifted from being a traditional medicine to a common kitchen herb, or ingredients of soaps and shampoo at this modern age.
It is the seeds and powder that are used for cooking, particularly in Indian and Asian cuisine, and raw fenugreek spices are said to taste slightly sweet as maple syrup with a tinge of nutty flavour.
This has made the fenugreek to be one of the most evergreen and multifunctional herbs ever.
At this article, we will learn more about the fenugreek, including the health benefits of fenugreek for weight loss.
An Introduction to Fenugreek
The fenugreek possesses a height of around 60 to 90 centimetres tall (2-3 feet), with shining green leaves, little white flowers, and the pods that house the brownish fenugreek seeds.
Overall, its appearance resembles to that of clover.
It is native to the regions of Mediterranean Europe, Western Asia and the Middle East.
Other than being a cooking ingredient, its taste, which is reportedly similar to maple syrup with a slight peanut essence is also used to hide the actual flavour of medicine, which are often more unappealing to the tongues of the general population.
The maple syrup-ish aroma and taste itself is sourced from the seeds. Interestingly, the same seeds taste bad when eaten raw, and taste much more pleasing when cooked.
Nonetheless, the seeds remain the most widely used part of the fenugreek plant. The leaves are also cooked at times, as seen in Indian traditional cuisine.
Nutritional Facts of Fenugreek
- Serving Size – 1 tablespoon
- Calories – 35.5
- Carbohydrates – 6.4 g
- Protein – 2.5 g
- Fat – 0.7 g
- Fibre – 2.7 g
- Vitamins and Minerals
- Iron – 3.7 mg (20% of DV)
- Manganese – 0.1 mg (7% of DV)
- Copper – 0.1 mg (6% of DV)
- Magnesium – 21 mg (5% of DV)
- Phosphorus – 32.6 mg (3% of DV)
- Vitamin B6 – 0.1 mg (3% of DV)
The percentage of daily value (% of DV) above are according to a 2,000-calorie diet. The daily values may be different depending on personal calorie needs.
What are the Health Benefits of Fenugreek?
1. Improves Digestive Issues
This is the first health benefits of fenugreek.
Digestive issues, such as stomach upset or constipation are parts of our daily lives. Fenugreek contains water-soluble fibre that works in relieving the symptoms of constipation.
With that way, digestion could go as normal and one can worry less about their weight.
2. Improves Cholesterol as Well
Now here is the next health benefits of fenugreek.
Not only in terms of digestion, the health benefits of fenugreek also come in the form of improving cholesterol as well.
Indeed, the function of fenugreek in reducing cholesterol also applies to lowering down triglycerides as well.
A past study conducted in India revealed that a dose of 2.5 grams of fenugreek, taken twice per day over a period of three months could lower down both cholesterol and triglycerides naturally without high-density lipoprotein (HDL), or the positive cholesterol affected.
3. Rich in Iron Reserves
The nutritional facts above show that fenugreek has 3.7 grams of iron per 1 tablespoon, or equivalent to 20% of the total daily value.
That is of course one amazing amount of iron intake. Iron is a necessary mineral for producing red blood cells.
They also compose 70% of each of the haemoglobin or red blood cells inside the body.
4. An Anti-Inflammatory Source for the Internal Organs
When it comes to being an anti-inflammatory agent, first the fenugreek works inside the body, precisely in the internal organs.
Fenugreek deals with inflammatory-caused occurrences, such as oral ulcers, bronchitis, tuberculosis, coughs, kidney ailments, up to cancer.
This makes the fenugreek possible in preventing a wide range of mild to serious diseases.
5. Removes Inflammation on the Outer Body as Well
The other health benefit of fenugreek when it comes to inflammation is treating inflammation-caused conditions that take place on the skin, such as dandruffs, acne, wounds, eczema plus gout.
However, before finally using fenugreek on external treatment of inflammation, test it first on the area to be treated to make sure that further infections do not happen.
6. Boosts Testosterone
Fenugreek are especially helpful for men, because it helps the development as well as the repairment of testosterone-related matters, such as libido, erectile dysfunction, impotence, and others.
Speaking of sexual function, fenugreek also helps the rapid increase of sexual arousal, sexual performance, desire, energy as well as stamina.
7. Enhances the Production of Mother’s Milk
Turns out that fenugreeks are not only beneficial for men, but women as well.
Fenugreek also enhances the production of mother’s milk, especially for mothers who have low production of mother’s milk.
It is possible because fenugreek itself is a galactagogue, or substances that help the increase of milk production by stimulating the milk ducts and rapidly increase production as short as a day long.
8. Can be Used as a Natural Flavouring
This is one traditional function of fenugreek, which is for cooking as well as flavouring.
The usage of fenugreek for spices or flavouring is most prominent in Indian cuisine, in which it is used as an ingredient for curry.
Other than that, fenugreek is also used to mask hideous flavours and medicine.
Fenugreek for flavouring is of course much healthier and organic compared to for example, monosodium glutamate or MSG.
9. Helps Eating Disorders
Fenugreek helps eating disorders by increasing appetite and improve nutrition.
According to the journal “Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior,” intensive intake of fenugreek extracts drastically increase eating amount and motivation.
10. Increases Performance During Exercise
Fenugreek can also be used to increase performance when exercising, particularly when paired with creatine.
This is so because this still increases creatine uptake without the maximized needs of simple carbohydrates.
11. Treats Diabetes Type 1
Fenugreek can come useful for diabetic patients by improving the rate of blood sugar.
In one study, researchers include 50 grams of fenugreek in participants’ lunches and dinners over a timespan of 10 days.
The result was a 54% improvement in 24-hour urinary blood sugar clearance along with reductions in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
12. Improves Diabetes Type 2
The second proof that fenugreek helps diabetic patients deal with their disease is verified after conducting two simultaneous experiments using fenugreek and hot water as well as fenugreek with yoghurt.
However, this time the test is for type-2 diabetes patients.
Over eight weeks, participants who consumed a mixture of fenugreek and hot water showed a positive progress compared to those who took fenugreek with yoghurt.
13. Helps to Control Appetite
Fenugreek also helps to control appetite, which could be useful for anyone who is on a diet or seeking to lose weight.
This was proven from a previous study that took 14 days, where participants had their fat intake reduced by 17% after using fenugreek to control their daily consumption intake.
14. Treats Heartburn
Heartburn is that painful burning feeling that occurs within the chest or throat.
Heartburn is caused by stomach acid that backs up all the way into the esophagus.
One 2-week long study among people who suffers from frequent heartburn found out that fenugreek is an effective solution to treat their discomfort, in line with antacid medications.
15. They are Low Fat
This is the last health benefits of fenugreek.
The nutritional facts above indicate that fenugreek contains extremely low-fat amount, at just 0.7 grams or 700 milligrams.
Low fat values are important to reduce calorie intake, maintain weight, up to preventing serious diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.