Fenugreek is a plant with countless properties and benefits. For instance, it can lower the LDL cholesterol and the blood glucose levels.
What is fenugreek?
Trigonella foenum-graecum, commonly known as fenugreek, is a herb native to the Middle East that has been cultivated in the Mediterranean area for centuries.
Above all, its leaves and seeds have been used as spices and for medicinal purposes
However, it has also been traditionally used to increase the libido and masculinity. In addition, it can help with metabolic problems like diabetes because it can regulate the blood sugar levels.
Fenugreek in the kitchen
Due to culinary reasons, this ingredient is usually included in spice blends, mostly in Indian cuisine and dishes like curry.
It is also used as flavoring in maple syrup imitations, foods, drinks and tobacco
The leaves of the plant can be used in salads, both the fresh and dry leaves are used in Indian cuisine
Nutritional value of fenugreek seeds
Nutrient Facts per 100g
Aminogram of Fenugreek Seeds per 100g
Vitamins and Minerals from Fenugreek Seeds
Vitamins per 100g
Minerals per 100g
This extraordinary plant is used both as an herb and spice to season several delicacies
Properties of fenugreek
Saponins and galactomannan fiber stimulate the bile production. Moreover, it inhibits the absorption of cholesterol and the glucose processing in the gastrointestinal tract. Above all, the fiber content lowers the blood sugar levels.
Fenugreek also has an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine, its most well-known component. On the one hand, it increase the release of insulin and trigonelline while reducing the blood glucose levels.
What is diosgenin?
Another interesting substance is diosgenin, which is a biologically active steroidal sapogenin. In fact, it is useful against several pathologies, including diabetes, hyperlipidemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, oxidative stress and inflammation.
Moreover, diosgenin is an important mediator in several biological effects of fenugreek. For instance, it contributes to signalling insulin and to the glucose homeostasis.
Fenugreek seeds have a series of active ingredients such as: mucilage, trigonelline, 4-hydroxyisoleucine, sotolon, diosgenin, luteolin, phenolic acids and protodioscin.
Fenugreek helps to reduce the LDL cholesterol levels
What is cholesterol?
Types of cholesterol
The density (relation between protein and fat) of said elements can change, resulting in different “types” of cholesterol. On the one hand, LDL (low density) or bad cholesterol, because it triggers the accumulation of plaque in the arterial walls. Consequently, it increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
On the other hand, HDL (high density) or “good cholesterol” eliminates LDL. Having good HDL levels will result in a good health, since it can protect against cardiovascular diseases.
|Optimal <200mg/dl||Optimal <100mg/dl||Low <40mg/dl|
|Very High >190mg/dl||High >60mg/dl|
Recommended Cholesterol Levels by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III, NIH
How does Fenugreek help to lower the LDL cholesterol
The fiber from fenugreek seeds can help to reduce the cholesterol naturally by:
- Reducing the synthesis of LDL cholesterol in the liver
- Hindering its intestinal absorption
- Increasing the synthesis of HDL cholesterol
- Lowering the absorption of triglycerides from fatty products
- Reducing the formation of atheroma plaques in the arterial walls
- Hindering the synthesis of free radicals
Benefits of fenugreek for health
But there are other benefits associated to this plant which has been used for centuries in the Ayurveda:
Regulating blood sugar
Its content in the 4-hydroxyisoleucine can increase the release of insulin and improve our sensitivity. Therefore, it can be a remedy for patients with diabetes.
It provides a high natural galactomannan fiber supply that slows down the absorption of sugar
Improving the digestion
Eating fenugreek can be really useful for those who suffer stomach problems. It is rich in fiber and antioxidants, contributing to eliminate toxins through the intestine. In fact, it can be an effective treatment against gastritis and indigestion. Moreover, it prevents constipation (stimulating the bowel) as well as digestive problems caused by stomach ulcers.
It can be an effective remedy against stomach acidity or acid reflux. Thanks to its mucilage content, fenugreek seeds help to calm the gastrointestinal inflammation
Sometimes, fenugreek tea is used to relieve indigestion and stomach pain
The inflammation is a natural process that works as a defense mechanisms against external agents like viruses, bacteria… Sometimes, the inflammation can become chronic instead of being something punctual that lasts a short period of time. There are some factors that can “confuse” our body and it reacts as if there was a threat.
Some of these causes are a bad diet, food allergies, sedentarism, renal diseases…
Fenugreek can relieve the symptoms of chronic inflammatory diseases like arthritis, mouth ulcers, bronchitis, some types of infection and chronic coughing
Symptoms of menopause
It contains diosgenin and estrogen isoflavones, which have properties similar to that of female sex hormones, estrogens. Therefore, it will support menopausal women who experience hot flushes, insomnia, breathing problems, sweating, joint or muscle pain…
Fenugreek can fix a lack of estrogens, being a completely natural therapy
Fenugreek has been traditionally prescribed by ayurvedic doctors for lactating mothers. This is due to its properties like galactogogue, that is, its ability to stimulate the production of breast milk.
Fenugreek contains diosgenin that helps to increase the production of breast milk in lactating women.
Fenugreek has also properties for a natural cosmetic treatment. Its external application can make our skin look younger and brighter.
To do so, you just have to grind some fenugreek seeds. If you want, you can store a good amount of powder to use it on a daily basis. Therefore, you will just have to:
- Mix 1 spoonful of fenugreek powder with milk until you get a mass
- Wash your face and apply the mass homogeneously
- Leave for 20 minutes, wash and rinse
We can use this lotion for a week and check its results
How to take fenugreek
Fenugreek seeds are quite versatile. In fact, you can eat them as such or make tea, flour, bread or pressed in oil. Moreover, you can also toast the seeds or make powder for soups and sauces. Eating seeds or using fenugreek flour is the best way of keeping the blood sugar levels under control. In fact, a dose of 2-5g of fenugreek seeds can help to reduce the blood glucose levels of diabetic people.
Moreover, men who want to increase their endogenous testosterone or libido naturally could consider taking a supplement. For instance, they could take between 500-600mg of a standardized fenugreek product like “Testofen”.
Contraindications of fenugreek
While fenugreek is regarded as safe if we take the recommended dose, it can cause a minor side effect. Nausea is a common side effect, while others experience gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea and / or flatulence).
Where can I buy fenugreek?
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