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Fenugreek (Methi) Benefits: Can it Help Cure Diabetes?

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Fenugreek is best known as methi in India. It is indigenous to Asia and Europe. The leaves and seeds both are used in Indian cooking, while the seeds are also quite popular for their medicinal value.

Fenugreek is also used as microgreen in salads and certain non-vegetarian dishes. Bitterness is a distinctive feature of fenugreek. The leaves and seeds both are bitter to taste. The dried leaves of fenugreek are used in Indian cooking as a seasoning, while its seeds are used whole and powdered.

Fenugreek supplements are easily found in the market because of their various health benefits. Do you know that fenugreek is rich in minerals, such as folic acid, magnesium, sodium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc, calcium and iron? It also has vitamins A, B and C and natural fibres and protein.

This bitter-tasting plant can help to control blood sugar levels, protect from diseases, and reduce weight over time. Many diabetics tend to add fenugreek to their diet to reduce blood sugar levels. Luckily, there are different ways to consume fenugreek, though some are more beneficial than others. Let’s learn more about fenugreek and its importance in controlling diabetes.

How Does Fenugreek Help with Diabetes?

The natural fibres and chemicals in fenugreek seeds or methi dana slow down digestion, thus reducing the amount of carbohydrates and sugars absorbed by the body. It gives the body a chance to use the sugars and increase insulin production.

Using fenugreek for diabetes is a traditional method of trying to control blood sugar levels followed by many people. However, if somebody wants to take fenugreek supplements and capsules, they must consult a doctor and get a proper prescription. There may not be any serious side effects of using fenugreek but excessive use can lead to nausea, diarrhoea and problems in the digestive tract. It might also cause allergies, depending on pre-existing medical conditions.

A 2009 study has said that consuming 10 grams of fenugreek soaked in hot water per day can help control type-2 diabetes. Despite scientific evidence supporting the claim that fenugreek can actively control diabetes, it should be noted that the plant is effective in reducing blood sugar levels to a certain extent.

Research conducted in India found that consuming 100 grams of defatted fenugreek seed powder has helped patients with type-1 diabetes in reducing their fasting blood sugar levels. It also helps to reduce bad cholesterol (LDL/ low-density lipoprotein) and increases glucose tolerance. Another study conducted through controlled trials showed that adding 15 grams of fenugreek seed powder to the meal has helped to reduce post-meal blood sugar levels.

Ways to Add Fenugreek to Your Diet

Given the bitter taste of fenugreek, many people find it difficult to consume every day. However, there are different ways to add fenugreek to the diet and enjoy the benefits of this herb in developing a healthy lifestyle.

1. Fenugreek Water

This is the easiest way to start consuming fenugreek. Soak a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds in a glass of water overnight. Strain the water and drink it the next morning on an empty stomach.

2. Fenugreek Extract Capsules

Fenugreek is an Ayurvedic medicine and can be consumed as capsules too. Ayurvedic doctors prescribe fenugreek extract capsules with the exact dosage required for medical conditions. It is strongly recommended to take the capsules only when prescribed by a qualified doctor.

3. Fenugreek Sprouts

Fenugreek seeds sprout easily and have many nutritional benefits. Soak the seeds overnight in water. Remove the water after a day and tie the seeds in a wet and soft cotton cloth. Hang the bundle and let it sit for a day or two. Tiny sprouts will come out. Consume small quantities of these sprouts every day. Soak fenugreek in small batches to prevent the sprouts from being spoilt.

4. Fenugreek Leaves

The leaves are used to prepare various Indian dishes, such as paranthas, dal, curries, thepla, rice, chutney, etc. Grow small batches of microgreens and add them to salads. The dried fenugreek leaves are called Kasuri methi. These can be lightly crushed and added to different dishes.

5. Fenugreek Seed Powder

Prepare the powder at home by lightly roasting fenugreek seeds without oil and grinding them finely. The powder can be added to various dishes in small quantities. This enhances flavour and helps to reduce blood sugar levels.

Health Benefits of Fenugreek

Fenugreek is limited in use. The plant and seeds have other health benefits apart from being used as sugar control tablets for diabetes. Let’s look at a few more health benefits of fenugreek.

1. Relieve Menstruation Pain

It has been found that consuming around 1800-2700mg of fenugreek seed powder thrice a day during the first three days of the menstrual cycle and 900mg for the next two days considerably reduces menstrual pain. However, the exact quantity of fenugreek should be prescribed by the doctor. It might vary based on the intensity of pain and overall medical condition.

2. Increase Sexual Drive and Performance

Research says that consuming fenugreek seed extract can help to improve sexual drive in younger women, men and older men. While early research says fenugreek seed oil drops can help increase sperm count, there isn’t enough evidence to make any conclusive claim. It also appears that other forms of fenugreek do not have the same effect as the oil does.

3. Control Cholesterol

Preliminary research suggests that consuming fenugreek seeds can reduce LDL or bad cholesterol in people. However, there is an inconsistency when it comes to HDL or good cholesterol and triglycerides. Still, we can consider that fenugreek has a slight impact on cholesterol levels in the body and can control bad cholesterol to some extent.

4. Producing Breast Milk

There isn’t enough evidence to show that fenugreek capsules can increase the production of breast milk in nursing mothers. However, early research suggests that drinking tea with fenugreek seeds can increase breast milk in breastfeeding women. More research still needs to be conducted to ascertain the best method to include fenugreek in the daily diet for breastfeeding women.

5. Heartburn and Digestion

Early research shows that consuming a certain type of fenugreek extract before meals can help to improve digestion and reduce heartburn.

Other Conditions

Though there isn’t enough evidence, it has been suggested that fenugreek can also help with the following:

  • Kidney ailments
  • Inflammation
  • Lymphadenitis
  • Gout
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Beriberi (vitamin deficiency disease)
  • Weight loss
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • PCOS
  • Upset stomach
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Chronic cough, etc.

To Sum Up

Fenugreek is termed as one of the best herbal medicine for diabetes and can also aid in other ailments, such as inflammation, constipation, obesity, etc. While fenugreek alone cannot be enough to control diabetes, adding it to the daily diet can give many benefits.

Use the herb as a topical applicant, poultice, spice, capsule, tablet, etc. Cosmetics also contain fenugreek as one of the active ingredients for better skin and hair health.

Finally, we can say that fenugreek is highly beneficial and can reduce blood sugar levels to control diabetes when taken moderately and as prescribed by the doctor.

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