Health Benefits Of Fenugreek Seeds

fenugreek seeds
fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-gracum) is one of the most promising medicinal herbs, known from ancient times. Various species of genus Trigonella are important from medical and culinary aspect. Among these, Trigonella foenum-graecum is commonly grown as a vegetable is very famous for its appetizing fragrance. It is known for its medicinal properties such as carminative, gastric stimulant, antidiabetic and galactogogue (lactation-inducer) effects. Aromatic and flavourful fenugreek is a popular spice and is widely used for well recognized culinary properties.

This anti-diabetic herb can lower blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Another species, Trigonella caerulea is used as food in the form of young seedlings. This herb is also used in cheese making. Newer research has identified hypocholesterolemic, antilipidemia, antioxidant, hepatoprotective, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiulcer, antilithigenic, anticarcinogenic properties in this herb.

Fenugreek seeds have antioxidant activity and have been shown to produce beneficial effects such as neutralization of free radicals and enhancement of antioxidant apparatus. Fenugreek seeds in a dose-dependent manner could protect cell structure and function from the toxic effects of Ethanol (alcohol toxicity).

Nutritional value of Fenugreek seeds

The fresh leaves are used in the vegetables as green leafy vegetable in the diets. These leaves provide β-carotene, fibre, calcium and zinc. fresh fenugreek leaves contain ascorbic acid of 220.97 mg per 100 g of leaves and β-carotene of 19 mg per 100 g of leaves.

Fenugreek seeds are the most important and useful part of fenugreek plant. These seeds are golden-yellow in colour, small in size and hard. Raw fenugreek seeds have maple flavour and bitter taste but by the process of roasting, their bitterness can be reduced. Fenugreek seed contains volatile oil and fixed oil in small quantities.

Fenugreek gum is less used in the food industry as compared to other gums. It consists of galactose and manose and gives high viscosity in the aqueous solution. Fenugreek gum is a type of soluble dietary fibre and can be incorporated in bread making.

Fenugreek seeds are rich source of soluble dietary fibre content. These fibres help to lower rate of glucose absorption in the intestines controlling blood sugar levels.

binds to toxins in the food and helps to protect the colon mucus membrane from cancer causing toxins. fenugreek husk is a valuable source of dietary fiber and can be added in weight loss programmes.

It should not be consumed in excess amount because it has high content of fibre which may cause problem with digestion.

Medicinal value of fenugreek seeds

Fenugreek is a promising protective medicinal herb for complementary therapy in cancer patients. India is a major producer of fenugreek and also a major consumer of it for its culinary uses and medicinal application.

The medicinal uses are summarised in the following table below.

GASTRIC STIMULANT In the Indian system of traditional medicine, Ayurveda, fenugreek seeds have been used to treat a number of gastrointestinal disorders
ANTICANCER Fenugreek-derived compound protodioscin display a growth inhibitory effect on cancer cells.  
ANTIULCER Fenugreek seed extracts show significant ulcer protective effects that is attribute to its antisecretory action as well as effects on mucosal glycoproteins
ANTIFUNGAL All parts of the fenugreek plant have shown antifungal potential
LIVER PROTECTION Seeds of fenugreek has been shown to restore the altered activity of cellular antioxidant enzymes in the liver and help in restoring alcohol induced liver damage.
ANTIOXIDANT Supplementation of fenugreek leaves reduces oxidative stress in alcoholics and diabetics.
ANTIDIABETIC Fenugreek is a well-researched alternative remedy for “type 2” diabetes, it successfully lowers blood glucose and increases glucose uptake
MILK SECRETING Fenugreek seeds are given to increase lactation in breast feeding mothers as it contains galactogogue elements.
ANTILIPID It significantly decreases blood lipids, total cholesterol and triglycerides when given to patients with coronary heart disease.

Fenugreek Seeds in fertility

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) is associated with insulin resistance, obesity and disorders of lipid metabolism as well as infertility. Fenugreek seeds extract is successfully used in lowering blood glucose. Metformin has also the same effect but in a different way. The aim of this study was the assessment of fenugreek effects on insulin resistance in women with PCOS.

Fenugreek may help increase low testosterone and sperm count, however results are not conclusive. It can increase sexual interest in men and women upto some extent.

fenugreek seeds
Fenugreek Seeds

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