Fenugreek or methi seeds are a fixture in every Indian household. For generations, fenugreek seeds are used in a variety of ways for their medicinal value. Soaked fenugreek seeds for weight loss is something that has been touted as magical. But is there any truth to the claims of their benefits?
Scientific evidence shows that fenugreek seeds have many benefits. They can help you control diabetes, give you good hair and even help you lose weight. Let us look at how we can use methi seeds to reach our weight goals.
What are fenugreek seeds?
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-gracum) is called methi in India. It is a favourite feature in North Indian cuisine. It is mainly used in three forms- fresh leaves as saag (Indian cooked salad with leafy plants), dried leaves as aromatic herbs (kasoori methi) and the seeds as a spice.
Methi seeds are amber-to-brown in colour, with rough, angular edges. Methi has a distinct strong smell and a slightly bitter undertaste. Apart from India, methi seeds are also used in Persian, Mediterranean and Turkish cuisine. Fenugreek is also used in various indigenous medicine traditions all over the world. (1)
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Fenugreek Seeds benefits for Weight Loss & Other Ailments
Fenugreek seeds for weight loss
Methi seeds have proven to be very useful in preventing fat accumulation. Experiments on obese rats showed that regular consumption of fenugreek powder mixed with water led to a significant decrease in body weight gain, body mass index(BMI) and white adipose tissue weight. (6)
Moreover, the high protein content in methi adds to a feeling of fullness, which reduces snacking. Studies also show that consumption of methi supplements lead to increased body strength among bodybuilders. (7)
Fenugreek seeds for diabetes
Fenugreek seeds are great at controlling diabetes. Several studies have found that regularly drinking fenugreek water or eating raw fenugreek powder before meals or an empty stomach reduces blood sugar levels. Moreover, it helps decrease insulin resistance, and it lowers the rate of incidence of diabetes in pre-diabetics. (2)
Fenugreek seeds for reducing bad cholesterol
Methi seeds have high fibre content. This not only helps in lowering blood sugar but also reducing cholesterol. Methi also contains mucilage, tannins, pectin and hemicellulose. These compounds prevent bile salt absorption in the colon. This prevents LDL (bad cholesterol) build up. (3)
Fenugreek seeds are rich in protein
Fenugreek seed endosperm has a high protein content. It has many free amino acids, which encourage insulin absorption. (3)
Fenugreek seeds for increasing milk production in lactating women
Methi seeds are regarded as beneficial for improving milk production. While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, many women claim they have seen their production increase. (4)
Fenugreek seeds for menstrual health
Studies show that fenugreek seeds and extracts have a profound effect on the female reproductive system. Taking fenugreek extracts or seeds can reduce pain in dysmenorrhea- a condition where painful uterine contractions occur during menstruation. (5)
How to eat fenugreek seeds for weight loss?
Fenugreek seeds are hard, have a sharp smell and a bitter undertaste. Hence, it is impossible to eat them directly. There are two ways in which you can get their benefits:
Soaked Fenugreek Seeds for Weight Loss (Methi water)
This is the most popular way. Soak methi seeds in water overnight and cover the container. The water will turn amber in colour. Discard the seeds and drink the water. Proportions may vary, depending on your needs and the sensitivity of your palate, but the common measure is 1-2 tablespoon of methi in 300 ml of water.
Fenugreek seed powder for weight loss (Methi powder for Weight Loss)
Grind the dry seeds into a powder, and you can use it in your meals. It acts as a flavour enhancer too. Another way to consume methi powder is to mix it in the water like protein powder and drink it. However, owing to its taste, it may be difficult for consumption.
How to prepare Fenugreek Seeds to eat
Fenugreek seeds can be beneficial for weight management. Here are some ways you can incorporate it into your diet:
- Soak fenugreek seeds in warm water. Keep overnight. Drink on an empty stomach or before meals twice a day.
- Roast some fenugreek seeds in a pan. This reduces the bitterness in the seed. Grind roasted methi seeds into a powder. Mix one tablespoon in one glass of water and drink.
- Try mixing the methi powder in your chapati to give it a spicy kick. You can also add the powder to your dal or curry.
- Add fenugreek powder to your tea. Take it with honey to mitigate the taste.
- You can also take germinated fenugreek seeds. Take a piece of clean cloth and soak it in water. Double fold it, while keeping it moist. Place fenugreek seeds on it and cover with a stone or a heavy utensil. Leave it for three nights.
The seeds will germinate during this time. Let them grow a bit before eating them. Have them raw on an empty stomach. Sprouted methi seeds have anti-oxidant properties, which keeps you healthy and active. (8)
Side effects of fenugreek seeds
While their benefits cannot be denied, fenugreek seeds may also cause some serious side effects.
- Allergy: Some people may be allergic to fenugreek. This may cause severe skin rashes, nausea or breathing trouble. (9)
- Asthma: In some people, methi seeds may cause an asthmatic reaction with wheezing and coughing. (9)
- Congenital disabilities: Studies show that consuming fenugreek seeds may lead to birth-defects. The nervous system and spinal neural operations may be most sensitive to it. (10)
- Women’s health: Fenugreek seeds are known to have profound effects on the female reproductive system and pregnancy. They may trigger hormone reactions or contractions.
Remember, it is always best to consult a doctor before making any changes to your diet. Make sure you are not allergic to fenugreek. Women should consult their gynaecologists before taking methi water or powder. Every person’s physical needs and the condition is different, so it is better that you do as your doctor says.
FAQs on Fenugreek Seeds
Q1. What are fenugreek seeds?
Fenugreek or methi seeds are amber coloured seeds of the methi plant. They are widely used as a spice all over the world. They are very common in Indian cuisine.
Q2. Are fenugreek seeds good for health?
Methi seeds contain protein, fibres, vitamins, minerals and many other micronutrients.
- Fenugreek, NIPHM
- Role of Fenugreek in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in prediabetes NCBI
- Fenugreek a multipurpose crop: Potentialities and improvements NCBI
- Breastfeeding: is my baby getting enough milk? NHS
- Effects of Fenugreek Seed on the Severity and Systemic Symptoms of Dysmenorrhea NCBI
- Fenugreek Seed Extract Inhibit Fat Accumulation and Ameliorates Dyslipidemia in High Fat Diet-Induced Obese Rats NCBI
- The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males NCBI
- Antioxidant properties of germinated fenugreek seeds NCBI
- Allergy to fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) NCBI
- Prenatal Exposure to Fenugreek Impairs Sensorimotor Development and the Operation of Spinal Cord Networks in Mice NCBI