Fenugreek is a plant from the fabaceae or leguminous family. Fenugreek is also known in many other names such as greek hay, fenigreek and methi. It has a bitter taste, yet a unique sweet smell. Some say it is similar to the smell of a maple syrup. Fenugreek production mostly comes from South Asia, Middle East Asia, and Nothern Africa regions. Fenugreek is widely used as herb, spice, and vegetable. It is available all year in most countries all over the world. Aside from culinary purposes, fenugreek is also used for non culinary ones. The leaves, seeds and sprouts are the most-used parts of fenugreek. I will focus on elaborating about fenugreek seeds in this article.
What is so good about fenugreek seeds that they are used in human’ daily life? According to nutritiondata.self.com, in every 1 teaspon or about 4 grams fenugreek seeds provide calories, calcium, dietary fiber folate, magnesium, phytosterols, phosporus, potassium, vitamin A and so on. Huge benefits do come in small size, particularly in fenugreek seeds case.
As I mentioned earlier, fenugreek is used for culinary and non culinary purposes. People in India and Turkey, for example, use fenugreek to make variety of local dishes on a daily basis. India uses fenugreek leaves as the main ingredient of curry and masala powders. Turkey uses fenugreek seeds to make national paste. It is used for making salads, dips, etc. Fenugreek seeds are also used for both purposes. For non culinary purposes, fenugreek seeds are oftenly used as medicines, soaps and cosmetics. Here are some benefits of fenugreek seeds for our health:
- Fenugreek seeds are used to reduce or solve digestive problems such as constipation and stomach ache. Since fenugreek seeds contain dietary fiber, they can help to control bowel movement;
- As they are high with potassium, fenugreek seeds help in controlling blood pressure level. Potassium is an important nutrient in balancing the fluid and electrolyte in the blood;
- Fenugreek seeds, in the form of powder, can be used as a remedy for cough and sore throat;
- Some people believe consuming fenugreek seeds help in stimulating milk production for breastfeeding woman;
- Fenugreek seeds provide enough calcium to promote developing bones and teeth strength.
Side Effects of Fenugreek Seeds Despite its healthy benefits, there has been reports about fenugreek seeds’ side effects when they are used in large amounts. Here are five side effects of fenugreek seeds that everyone should be aware of:
- High dose of fenugreek seeds may lead to gastrointestinal probles, such as bloating, nausea, stomach ache, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps;
- Fenugreek seeds can cause hypoglycemia, a condition where blood sugar decreases to below normal levels. It can happen when fenugreek seeds are taken at the same time as other medicines that lower blood sugar;
- Excessive fenugreek seeds may lead to early contractions for pregnant woman. They have a possible effects of estrogenic problems;
- Fenugreek seeds belong to the same genus of peanuts and chickpeas. It is expected for people to have allergyc with peanuts will also suffer the same reaction to fenugreek seeds. So they are a big no-no for people who are allergyc to plants in the leguminous or the peas family;
- Eating fenugreek seeds may cause your body and urine odor similar to that of a maple syrup. This can be a good or bad thing, whether you like or dislike the odor of a maple syrup. However this condition is not going to harm your health.
Selecting and Storing Suggestions:
Here are two tips in selecting and storing fenugreek seeds in order to make sure we get the best benefits of them:
- Makes sure you buy a bright golden-yellow color, hard, and maple-syrup flavor fenugreek seeds. If you buy them in the form of powder or paste, make sure it is freshly-brewed or it has a manufacture date;
- For the seeds, store them in an airtight glass container and place them in a cool, dark place. Powder or paste fenugreek seeds should be kept in an air-sealed packets and put inside the refrigerator. This way can make them fresh for several months.
Here are some serving suggestions to keep in mind before taking fenugreek seeds:
- To decide the proper dose of fenugreek seeds, some factors that must be considered are the age and health. We should consult a doctor to know the right dosage of fenugreek seeds to eat, especially for pregnant women;
- Do not take fenugreek seeds at the same time you are taking diabetes or asthma-related medicines;
- Fenugreek seeds contain water-absorbing fibers so it is necessary to drink plenty of water if you are eating them;
- If you still want to eat fenugreek seeds to get the benefits they offer but despise the effects they do to your body and urine odor, you can spray perfumes to hide it. You can also dry them under light heat to mellow the odor from fenugreek seeds;
- Powdered fenugreek seeds are often used as a tea. You can add honey, lemon or peppermint to reduce the bitterness.
Fenugreek seeds are highly valued for the health benefits. However there are potential side effects that may occur if they are abused or overused. Like all other things in life, moderation is key. With adequate informations of the side effects and the right dose for fenugreek seeds intake, we can reduce the risk of the side effect in taking place.