Since ancient times, fenugreek has been used in many parts of the world for a wide range of purposes.
In Egypt, it was used for embalming mummies and making bread while Romans relied on it for pain relief during labor and giving birth .
Traditional Chinese herbalists used it for treating edema and weakness, and for Indian healers, its main function is to stimulate breast milk supply .
Key Nutrient Facts
Today, it remains a highly valuable natural medicine that can be used as remedy for different ailments. Fenugreek contains many essential nutrients that are needed by the body to function properly. These include potassium, protein, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and magnesium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. It only has a small amount of fat and no cholesterol.
The list below contains nutritional information based on a 100-gram serving of fenugreek. The percentage values are for a 2,000 calorie diet.
- Calories 323
- Fat 6 g
- Sodium 67 mg
- Protein 23 g
- Dietary fiber 25 g
- Carbs 58 g
- Potassium 770 mg
- Vitamin A 1%
- Calcium 17%
- Vitamin C 5%
- Vitamin B6 30%
- Magnesium 47%
- Iron 186%
14 Surprising Benefits of Fenugreek You Should Know
1. Fenugreek Reduces Blood Sugar Levels
Did you know that there are about 29 million people who have diabetes ?
A serious chronic ailment characterized by abnormal levels of blood sugar, diabetes can be managed with medications and lifestyle changes.
Certain foods like fenugreek have been found to have a positive impact on people suffering from this condition.
Various studies confirm that fenugreek reduces blood sugar levels by increasing secretion of insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose in the blood [3, 4, 5, 6, 7].
In 1997, Indian scientists assessed the effects of fenugreek and ginger on blood sugar levels of patients with heart disease, patients with diabetes, and healthy individuals .
Results show that fenugreek reduced the blood sugar levels of patients with heart disease and diabetes .
This mode of action can be attributed to the high fiber and saponin content of fenugreek .
The fiber content caused a delay in gastric emptying while saponins contribute to the inhibition of carbohydrate digestive enzymes .
Frequent consumption of fenugreek is also recommended as a preventive measure for those who have not yet been diagnosed with diabetes.
- Fenugreek can help lower blood sugar levels for both diabetics and non-diabetics.
- It works by stimulating the production of the hormone in charge of regulating blood sugar levels called insulin.
- Contributing to its hypoglycemic effects are its high fiber content and presence of active compounds such as saponins.
READ MORE: 13 Real Home Remedies for Diabetes (That’ll Actually Work )
2. Fenugreek Has Potent Antioxidant Properties
Free radicals might not sound like they can do a lot of harm but experts have long discovered how these by-products of oxidation can impair the health in more ways than one .
Heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease and premature skin aging are just few of the many negative effects of free radical damage.
It’s a good thing there are antioxidants in foods that can counter the damage that free radicals do inside your body .
Fenugreek contains polyphenols and flavonoids, which are responsible for its antioxidant activities .
Even the seeds of fenugreek have been found effective in scavenging free radicals, and protecting cells from oxidative stress, reports a 2007 study .
This means that regular intake of fenugreek can help protect the body from cellular damage that eventually leads to serious ailments.
- Fenugreek’s flavonoids and polyphenols can protect your health and reduce the risk of many ailments.
- Antioxidants are highly effective in countering the cellular damage caused by free radicals.
3. Fenugreek Bolsters Immunity
To protect yourself better from diseases, it’s important to strengthen your immunity.
Immunity is the body’s set of defenses against infections, diseases and invasion of harmful pathogens, according to Wikipedia.
When you have a strong immune resistance, it’s more difficult for invaders like bacteria and viruses to come into your system.
In a 2003 study published in the International Immunopharmacology Journal, it was revealed that fenugreek has a “stimulatory effect on immune functions” .
This is no surprise as fenugreek is loaded with essential nutrients that can keep you in top health.
With its immunostimulatory properties, it makes sense to use it as remedy for common infections like cold and flu.
- Loaded with essential nutrients and antioxidants, fenugreek does a great job in bolstering the immune resistance.
- With a stronger immune system, the body becomes less susceptible to infections and diseases.
4. Fenugreek Lowers Cholesterol Levels
It’s not wise to ignore your cholesterol levels.
As research indicates, a rise in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol can shoot up the risk for heart disease [13, 14].
Eating foods that can lower cholesterol levels such as fenugreek is certainly a good idea.
According to scientists, fenugreek’s saponins can significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels .
Its hypocholesterolemic effects have been observed in both humans and animals [16, 17].
A total of 20 adults within the age range of 50 to 65 years old were divided into two groups .
Both groups received a packet of fenugreek seed powder to incorporate into their dishes .
The first group was given 12.5 grams while the other received 18 grams .
Consumption of the fenugreek seed powder for both groups resulted in lower cholesterol levels, but the drop was more significant in the group that consumed more .
The levels of good cholesterol and triglycerides, meanwhile, were unaffected .
- Fenugreek is effective in reducing LDL cholesterol levels in humans and animals.
- The higher the amount of fenugreek consumed, the lower the cholesterol levels become.
5. Fenugreek is an Effective Remedy for Peptic Ulcer
Peptic ulcer refers to an open sore inside the stomach, esophageal or intestinal lining, according to Mayo Clinic.
Its primary symptom is severe pain the abdomen.
It can be difficult to function and go on with your usual routine when you’re constantly in pain.
Fortunately, natural remedies like fenugreek work to alleviate pain and at the same time, resolve the root of the problem.
In 2002, Indian researchers discovered that fenugreek has “ulcer protective” effects .
In fact, the soluble gel obtained from fenugreek seeds has been proven to be even more effective in preventing the formation of open sores than omeprazole, a popular medication for ulcer .
Fenugreek works with its anti-secretory properties, as well as its preventive action in the rise of lipid peroxidation, which in turn lowers the injury in the mucosa .
- Relieve peptic ulcer symptoms and resolve the problem by using fenugreek.
- Fenugreek is said to be even more effective than omeprazole, a medication commonly prescribed for ulcer.
READ MORE: Aloe Vera for Gastritis & Ulcer : Learn Why & How?
6. Fenugreek Can Help Prevent Breast Cancer
Breastcancer.org estimates that over 240,000 new cases of breast cancer are to be diagnosed this year.
It’s still one of the top causes of deaths for women.
This form of cancer, which is common anywhere in the world, can fortunately be prevented with the help of anti-cancer foods such as fenugreek.
A 2005 study published in the Cell Biology International reported that fenugreek has protective effects against breast cancer, inhibiting “mammary hyperplasia” .
It also works by killing the cancer cells in the breast .
Another study found that fenugreek can destroy cancerous cells without harming the healthy ones, making it a safe and effective alternative treatment to cancer .
- Fenugreek combats cancer by killing the cancer cells, and preventing them from spreading.
- Unlike standard cancer treatment methods like chemotherapy, fenugreek can destroy cancer cells while keeping healthy cells safe and unharmed.
7. Fenugreek Can Aid in Weight Loss
Obesity is not merely a “cosmetic concern” but a serious health problem that increases the risk of many ailments including diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, explains Mayo Clinic.
While it’s good that you want to lose weight to look better and feel more confident, you should do it more for health reasons.
In order to reduce the risks that come with excess weight, you must make the necessary changes in your diet.
Apart from reducing the amount of calories and fat in your diet, it also helps to eat foods that aid in weight loss.
Research published in 2005 reports that oil extracted from fenugreek can effectively reduce body weight gain caused by a diet high in fat .
A more recent study released similar findings, saying that fenugreek water extract successfully inhibit fat accumulation, resulting in a dramatic drop in the body mass index and body weight gain .
- Lose weight effectively and safely with fenugreek, which has been found to have inhibitory effects on fat accumulation in the body.
READ MORE: 22 Home Remedies for Losing Weight (No.12 is the easiest)
8. Fenugreek Can Decrease Risk of Colon Cancer
Phytotherapy Research published in 2003 a study that probed the effects of fenugreek on colon cancer patients .
It was found that fenugreek can inhibit colon cancer by regulating the activities of mucinase and beta-glucuronidase .
This anti-cancer effect can be attributed to the saponins, flavonoids and dietary fiber that can be found in fenugreek .
Another study published in The Journal of Cancer Research points out the diosgenin, a type of saponin present in fenugreek contains potent chemopreventive properties that can successfully inhibit carcinogenesis in the colon .
Diosgenin has been found to prevent the formation of colon tumors, whether invasive or non-invasive, by up to 60 percent .
The spread of these tumors to other tissues, and other parts of the body was also prevented .
- Fenugreek contains flavonoids, saponins and dietary fiber that can help ward off colon cancer.
- One of its saponins called diosgenin is said to have strong chemopreventive capabilities.
- Diosgenin prevented the growth and spread of invasive and non-invasive tumors inside the colon.
9. Fenugreek Can Protect the Liver
Prevent liver damage by eating the right kind of foods.
A team of researchers from India investigated fenugreek’s protective effects for the liver against alcohol-induced toxicity .
What they uncovered is that fenugreek can efficiently prevent liver damage by stimulating enzymes in charge of detoxification .
Researchers noted that the hepaprotective effects of fenugreek are similar to those of silymarin .
However, this doesn’t mean that you can drink alcohol to your heart’s content and just consume fenugreek after wards.
Fenugreek can help but only to some extent.
It’s still a must to avoid drinking alcohol excessively.
- Fenugreek can help protect the liver against damage caused by frequent intake of alcohol by stimulating detoxification and suppressing substances that harm the liver.
10. Fenugreek Fights Bacterial Infections
It has long been established that bacteria can cause diseases.
Just a few examples: E. coli and salmonella cause food poisoning, H. pylori cause ulcer and gastritis, and Staphylococcus aureus cause wound infections, pneumonia, boils and so on .
To make sure these and other strains of bacteria don’t harm your health, consume foods that are known to have antibacterial properties like fenugreek.
Studies have shown that fenugreek can inhibit the activities of the mentioned pathogens, reducing the risk of common and serious health conditions [27, 28].
- Bacterial infections can be controlled with the help of fenugreek, which has strong antimicrobial properties.
11. Fenugreek Can Protect Against Skin Damage
Want to look younger the natural way?
Consider fenugreek, which according to research has powerful anti-aging effects.
A study conducted in the University of Kanazawa in Japan reported that its seeds can suppress synthesis of melanin as well as inflammatory cytokines .
Simply put, fenugreek can actively protect the skin from damage .
- By inhibiting melanin synthesis and inflammation, fenugreek seeds can ward off premature skin aging.
- It’s also a good way to protect the skin from damage caused by stress, sun exposure and free radicals.
READ MORE: 6 Essential Oils for Sun Damaged Skin
12. Fenugreek Boosts Breast Milk Supply
Having problem breastfeeding your newborn baby?
Galactogogues can help. These are medications that stimulate milk supply by interacting with dopamine receptors and boosting levels of prolactin .
One of the natural galactogogues known to man is fenugreek .
Various studies support the claims that fenugreek can effectively promote production of breast milk [31, 32, 33, 34].
13. Fenugreek Relieves Menstrual Pain
Menstrual pain can cause great agony and discomfort.
It’s a good thing this can be relieved with natural remedies like fenugreek.
Fenugreek has been used in the Middle East since ancient times for alleviating menstrual cramps .
A 2014 study that can be found in the Journal of Reproduction and Fertility shows that fenugreek’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can reduce the pain of dysmenorrhea .
- Alleviate pain and discomfort caused by menstrual period by using fenugreek as a remedy.
- It is known to have analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects that are useful during dysmenorrhea.
14. Fenugreek Aids in Digestion
Always bloated after a meal?
Try munching on a bunch of fenugreek seeds after lunch or dinner.
Fenugreek has digestive stimulatory action, which can help prevent bloating and indigestion .
It’s no wonder it has been used since the ancient times by Chinese and Indian healers to aid in the digestive process .
- Improve digestion by munching on a bunch of fenugreek seeds after each meal.
- With its digestive stimulatory action, it can help with digestive issues such as bloating.
Did the extensive list of fenugreek health benefits convince you?
Consider using fenugreek for warding off ailments, and for keeping yourself in top shape.
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