Fenugreek exists in two variations; the leaves and the seeds that have a bitter taste. It is found in abundance in Mediterranean, South Asia, and North Asia regions. Fenugreek benefits come from both the seeds and the leaves.
The leaves are commonly sold as vegetables called methi or as dried leaves while the seeds are either used in powder form as a spice or whole.
Several active compounds are found in Fenugreek. These compounds are responsible for giving the plant its many medicinal properties. They include nutrients such as yamogenin, calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, trigonelline, chlorine, copper, manganese, and zinc.
It also contains phytochemical compounds. Moreover, Fenugreek is used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic. Besides its medicinal benefits, Fenugreek is also a good spice used in many Indian culinary recipes.
Blood Sugar and Diabetes
Every time you consume nutrients, your body converts them to glucose. Glucose travels all over your body acting as an energy source for your cells. Hence, ensuring that you have an adequate supply of glucose is vital for the health of your body.
On the other hand, insulin is the hormone in your body that is responsible for moving glucose from your blood into your body cells. It is produced by the pancreas.
Sometimes the levels of glucose in your body increase. This can occur after a meal or if the glucose levels stay elevated for a period. As a result, your body demands an increase in the amount of insulin that is needed to transport the excess glucose into your cells.
This demand puts a strain on your pancreas, and after some time your body might start resisting insulin. This will allow the amount of blood sugar in your body to be massive. Also, the pressure might make it difficult for your body to produce enough insulin to maintain your blood sugar levels.
Regardless, both situations raise your risk of Type 2 diabetes. Anyone can have diabetes and at any age. In every year, about one and a half million new Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.
Diabetes can severely damage your blood vessels and nerves. However, this disease can be managed and reversed through the use of Fenugreek.
How It Affects Diabetes
Many studies have been done to determine the anti-diabetic potential of Fenugreek benefits. Some of these studies concluded that the seeds from the plant could improve most of the metabolic symptoms that are associated by both Type 1 and 2 Diabetes.
The seeds do this by improving the tolerance of glucose and reducing the levels of blood glucose in the body. One study done by researchers from India discovered that using one hundred grams of non-fat seed powder was beneficial for patients with insulin-dependent diabetes.
The benefits include reducing the overall cholesterol, triglycerides, bad cholesterol, and levels of fasting blood glucose. Also, it increases the tolerance to glucose in the body.
Another study focused on people that had Type 2 Diabetes. This study discovered that adding fifteen grams of the seed powder to the diet reduced the amount of glucose produced after a meal.
A third study was conducted on people that have mild Type 2 Diabetes. In the study, the blood sugar levels were lowered by taking two and a half grams of Fenugreek two times a day for three months.
From all these studies, it was agreed that the positive effects were a result of the high content of soluble fiber that is found in the seeds. The fiber is responsible for the three key Fenugreek benefits that help in the management of diabetes. These benefits include the lowering of blood sugar levels, slowing down of digestion, and slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.
1. Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Fenugreek contains an exclusive and unusual amino acid known as the 4HO-Ile. This amino acid is believed to contain anti-diabetic properties. The properties include increasing insulin sensitivity and secretion. Insulin sensitivity helps to reduce the amount of blood sugar in the body.
The American Journal of Physiology published research that determined that the amino acid can improve the production of insulin while at the same time reduce the levels of blood sugar. These results were the same both in diabetic and non-diabetic test subjects.
The Qom University of Medical Science conducted research that also supports the capacity of 4HO-Ile to treat diabetes. Also, Dr. Shikha Sharma, who is the Founder of the NutriHealth and a Wellness Expert endorses the use of the plant as a medical prescription for diabetes.
The seeds also block the alpha-amylase activity as well as the sucrase activity. These two are enzymes responsible for breaking down large sugars and turning them into glucose. The result is an overall lowered concentration of sugar in the blood.
2. Lowers Cholesterol
One of the Fenugreek benefits is that it reduces the amount of cholesterol that the body produces. Its most significant advantage is that it lowers the bad cholesterol, otherwise known as the low-density lipoprotein.
In a study done by the University of Michigan Health System, it was discovered that the seeds contain steroidal saponins that are responsible for slowing down the absorption of the cholesterol in the intestines.
These saponins also reduce the rate of production of cholesterol. Additionally, they reduce the number of triglycerides that is absorbed from the fatty acids. On the other hand, they release the good cholesterol in the body.
3. Helps Digestion
The fiber and the antioxidants that are present in Fenugreek will help you with your stomach ailments. It works by removing all the harmful toxins from your body. Therefore, it is an excellent treatment option for indigestion and gastritis.
The seeds also help to prevent the occurrence of digestive issues that result from stomach ulcers and constipation. The seeds act as natural digestives. They also have lubricating properties that aid in soothing the intestines as well as the stomach.
How To Use The Fenugreek Benefits For Diabetes
There are several ways that you can use plant seeds to treat diabetes. Below is a list of the ideas you can incorporate into your daily routine.
1. Tea For Diabetes
If you love having tea in the morning, you can try this option that will make you healthier by regulating the amount of blood glucose in your body. All you need is one teaspoon of the dried leaves, one cup of water, one teaspoon of the seeds, and one teaspoon of honey.
Start by boiling one cup of water in a saucepan. Add the leaves as well as the seeds and then leave them to seep for ten minutes. Transfer the drink to a cup after straining.
Add the honey to remove the bitter taste from the seeds and drink your tea. For better results, have your tea in the morning and the evening.
2. Bitter Gourd, Need, and Plum seed
This is a complete powder combination of the four ingredients. You only need one tablespoon of each of the components including the seed powder. Then, mix all the ingredients in one bowl.
You can store the mixture in a glass jar in a dry and cool place. Use one teaspoon of the mixture twice every day with water if you can drink the water before you have your lunch and your dinner.
3. Tincture For Diabetes
For this treatment, you will need two tablespoons of the dried leaves from the plant and two tablespoons from the seeds. You will also need one cup of water.
In aluminum or a steel container, you will place the seeds and the leaves. Add one cup of boiling water into the bowl and leave it to steep for thirty minutes. After straining, you can store the mixture in a glass jar.
Consume one half of the teaspoon three times a day for you to get the best health results.
4. Seeds and Yogurt
Yogurt already has significant anti-inflammatory properties. Hence, combining the yogurt with the seeds makes an excellent healthy combination.
Take one tablespoon of the seeds and one cup of yogurt. The yogurt should be plain. Grind the seeds to make a fine powder for the mixture.
Once the powder is ready, add it to the yogurt and mix it properly. You can have this mixture two times a day for best results.
5. Seeds With Water
Soaking the seeds in water is the most popular form of treatment that is used for diabetes. All you require for this mixture is two cups of water and two tablespoons of the seeds.
To make the treatment, put the seeds in a container and add the plain water. Cover this mixture and leave it overnight. In the morning, strain the mixture and drink before you eat anything else.
Take the drink for a month every morning so that you can reduce the amount of glucose in your blood.
6. As a Spice
This is one method of treatment that you can use to avoid the bitter-tasting seeds. This is because the other ingredients in your food will mask the bitter taste. Hence, add the spice to your favorite rice of curry and enjoy the benefits of the plant.
Remember, you should add the spice to the food after it is thoroughly cooked. This is because heat reduces the nutritional value of the spice.
Apart from seed powder and dried leaves, you can also consume the nutritional benefits of this plant through supplements. However, ensure that you keep your dose under the recommended amount. The recommended dose is commonly between two and a half grams and fifteen grams of the seeds.
The amount will depend on how severe your diabetes is as well as your age and physical statue. You will also experience some side effects such as bloating and gas. Hence, seek the advice of a medical professional.