Fenugreek is a popular plant used around the world to add flavour to dishes. However, it’s also long been used for its medicinal benefits with some evidence suggesting that ancient Egyptians had acknowledged its benefits due to seeds being found in tombs. Now, the most fenugreek is consumed in India, but its popularity is growing as more of the health benefits are highlighted.
Although it belongs to the bean family, it’s predominantly used as a flavour enhancer. You can eat the seeds, brew them into a tea, press them into an oil, or even turn them into a flour to be used in baking. Yet, if you’re looking to take fenugreek directly for the health benefits, then eating the seeds or flour is the most optimal.
The research is still fresh, but it’s looking extremely positive for this humble bean.
Fenugreek is high in a number of micronutrients such as iron, magnesium, manganese, copper, and vitamin B6. It also hosts a large amount of antioxidants and phytonutrients alongside fibre.
Research has now shown that fenugreek could be an inexpensive and effective way to reduce cholesterol levels. It helps to reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) which reduces your risk of heart attack and stroke. This is most likely down to the fibre content, but also the antioxidants.
As well as this, fenugreek can be a great way to help with diabetes both type I and type II. Again, this is most likely down to the natural fibre content in the form of galactomannan which can help to reduce the speed at which sugar hits the bloodstream. It’s also high in 4-hydroxyisoleucine which helps to normalise glucose metabolism which works alongside trigonelline and trigoneoside’s. Just 2-5 grams of fenugreek seeds per day is enough to help reduce glucose levels in those struggling with diabetes.
Now, one of the biggest benefits that’s come out about fenugreek in recent years is in relation to the libido, and in particular, testosterone. One human study has shown that supplementing with fenugreek is a fantastic way to enhance testosterone, but more evidence is needed to conclude this effect. Around 500-600mg of fenugreek has been shown to be optimal for this effect.
New mothers can also use fenugreek to help them to increase breast milk production and lactation. If this is your goal, then aim to supplement with 500-1000mg of fenugreek per day.