Why do we use fenugreek in several cooking preparations? The immediate answer comes to your mind is that it is very healthy. Also known as Methi, Fenugreek seeds or leaves are very well-liked by many Indians in their native cuisines and almost treated as a wonder component of Indian food preparations. Possibly the best part of its properties is that it is very light and dry and in spite its bitter taste it promotes appetite. The innumerable health benefits of fenugreek made it to be counted among the healthiest foods. Again it is not taste and health alone; fenugreek is a very good beauty aid too. Fenugreek, in either seed or leaf form, is very popular with naturopaths for the treatment of chronic ailments. Let us understand this wonderful herb.
Nutritional information of Fenugreek (Methi)
Since fenugreek is used in seed, leaf and sprouted forms let us look at the nutritional information of each of these.
Fenugreek Leaves Nutrition: Fenugreek or methi leaves are very rich in vitamins and minerals and they get easily absorbed by the body. Some major ingredients include calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and dietary fiber in its naturally occurring form as in other vegetables. The availability of vitamin K is as good as spinach. The protein rich fenugreek leaves can be treated as a wonder herb. 100gms of fenugreek leaves contribute to about 50 calories of energy.
Fenugreek Seeds Nutrition: Fenugreek or methi seeds are also very rich in dietary fiber and can provide about 65% of daily value requirements in about 100gms of seeds and mainly comprises of NSP or “non-starch polysaccharides” a very important ingredient for the control of cholesterol and other toxins. The presence of 4-hydroxy isoleucine promotes insulin formation. The phyto-compounds contribute greatly to its medicinal properties. The mineral components include iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, manganese, selenium, magnesium and copper provide essential controls on body fluids, blood pressure and heart rate. The vital nutrients and vitamins include thiamin, riboflavin, folic acid, niacin, vitamins A, C and B6.
About a spoon full of fenugreek sprouts give you just 12 calories and about 0.9 g fiber, 0.24 g fat, 0.85 g protein, 1.24 mg iron, 11 mg phosphorus, 7 mg calcium, 7 mg magnesium and 28 mg potassium.
Health Benefits of Fenugreek (Methi)
- As poultice fenugreek is used sometimes to treat inflammations, lymphadentis condition (swelling of lumphnodes), gout and eczema.
- Fenugreek is often used to treat problems related to digestive system such as stomach upset, as well as constipation condition and gastritis.
- Some conditions that lead to heart ailments such as arteries hardening, medically known as atherosclerosis, high levels of blood fats including triglycerides and cholesterol. Fenugreek will help to reduce such symptoms.
- Fenugreek was found to be very useful in the treatment of kidney problems, beriberi disease, boils and mouth ulcers, bronchical condition, swelling of skin tissues called cellulitis condition, tuberculosis, persistent cough, chapped lips, to combat baldness, diabetes and cancer.
- Some studies indicated the use of fenugreek to treat conditions of erectile dysfunction and hernia.
- Fenugreek was found to be very useful to help milk flow in breast feeding mothers.
- Fenugreek leaves alleviate arthritis condition and rheumatism. Being a rich source of iron, fenugreek leaves are very useful in treating anemic condition.
- Herbal tea made out of fenugreek powder is very good in bringing down the temperature during high fevers.
- Fenugreek paste is also used in treating burning sensation in hands, feet, palm and soles.
Beauty Benefits of Fenugreek (Methi)
- A paste of fenugreek leaves in coconut milk applied on the scalp prevents many hair related problems such as hair loss, hair turning grey and to make it soft and silky.
- Premature hair graying can be avoided by massaging the scalp with fenugreek powder mixed in coconut oil.
- Fenugreek leaves mixed in vinegar is an excellent preparation in the treatment of dandruff.
- A face pack made of fenugreek leaves and turmeric powder is a good preventive for pimples and black heads.
- Fenugreek is very good in the treatment of wrinkles and lines and for improved complexion. Use it with boiled milk.
Culinary uses and best methods to consume fenugreek
- For the best result oriented use, germinate the fenugreeks, dehydrate the sprouted fenugreek seeds, powder them and make it a regular ingredient of your meal. It can be used for flavouring your dishes and also to make herbal tea.
- Soak a table spoon of fenugreek seeds overnight in water and consume them along with the water for medicinal purposes.
- Fenugreek leaves makes a good, tastier and healthier dish along with “tur dal” for regular consumption in various Oriental meals. It is also used as herbal seasoning in some vegetarian dishes.
- Dried fenugreek leaves are commonly used in Indian origin fast foods.
- The culinary use of fenugreek and fenugreek leaves is largely prevalent in India, Central Asian countries, Middle-East and Mediterranean regions.
Other General uses
- Fenugreek is used in the manufacture of cosmetics and soaps by some companies.
- In terms of odour and taste fenugreek reminds you of maple syrup and some pharmaceutical companies’ use fenugreek extract to cover up the tastes of tablets and medicines especially in some ayurvedic or natural product extract based medicines.
- It is used as a flavinoid in tobacco, foods and beverages and as a spice in some food preparations. In India fenugreek leaves are used as a leafy vegetable.
Selection and storage of fenugreek variants
Fenugreek seeds are better stored in air tight jars for several days, but powder and paste have very short shelf life and need to be stored in refrigerators. Leaves can stay fresh for a day maximum in humid conditions. It is advisable to store fenugreek leaves and sprouts in refrigerator for a week long use. Dried fenugreek leaves stay for long in air tight containers. Select your favourite fenugreek variants from an established shop for quality and freshness.
Restrictions in fenugreek usage
You can extract all the benefits when fenugreek is used in moderation. By virtue of its bitter and peculiar taste it not very easy to consume in large quantities. Fenugreeks have similar allergic reaction as that of peanuts because it is in the same group of peanuts. Feeling of nausea is one of the most common reactions with fenugreek. When you use it on skin, first test it for skin irritations or rashes. Pregnant women are discouraged from its usage because of its potential nature of premature labour inducing effect. If you use in any other medication, consume fenugreek at least two hours before taking your medicine.