Fresh fenugreek or methi leaves are abundant in winter season and is looked forward to by everyone for flavour as well as nutrition. Methi finds it way into many delicacies from crunchy mathris to delectable saag and stir-fries. It can also be incorporated into your breakfast plate in the form of parathas. Besides, fenugreek is also known for its medicinal properties since time immemorial. Back in the time, fenugreek seeds were recommended to those who had symptoms like fever, vomiting and poor appetite. Fenugreek is especially regarded therapeutic for diabetics; it has glucomannan fibre that delays intestinal absorption of ingested sugars and alkaloids such as fenugrecin and trigonelline have demonstrated to possess hypoglycemic action. Also 4 hydroxyisoleucine (4-OH Ile) amino acids act on pancreas to release insulin. (Also read | Methi paratha for weight loss: 10 amazing benefits of the delicious winter delicacy)
“Fenugreek seeds were made into a gruel, halwa and were given to nursing mothers to increase the flow of milk. Fenugreek has excellent medicinal virtues. It was used in fever, vomiting, poor appetite, diabetes, constipation and many other ailments in ancient times. It was used for beauty aids too. Seeds were used as hair packs and face packs too,” says Smita Khanna Roy Chowdhury, Lifestyle Coach, Golf View healthcare & Research Institute
Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), also known as methi, methya, menthya, vendhayam or venthayam menthulu, brings with it nostalgic smells of saag, parathas, malai methi curries, kashiphal etc along with key ingredients in panch-phoron, curry powder, sambar and tadkas. But along with its distinct flavours, its leaves and seeds are very beneficial for our system.
It is an annual herb which has compound leaves of light green colour. The seeds are brownish -yellow and have a peculiar odour.This nutritious microgreens is grown in the cooler months of autumn to spring. It is grown in both the cropping seasons of Rabi and Kharif in South India.
“Fenugreek seeds and leaves contain moisture 13.7%, protein 26.2%, fat 5.8%, minerals 3.0%, fibre 7.2% and carbohydrate 44.1% per 100 gms. Its leaves are rich in calcium, phosphorus, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin. Fenugreek seeds are used as an ingredient in spice blends and as a flavoring agent in foods, beverages, and tobacco. Fenugreek leaves fresh and dry are main ingredients in Indian cooking because it has aromatic flavours,” says Khanna Roy Chowdhury.
The nutritionist says fenugreek seeds were used for curing fever, given to nursing mothers for increasing flow of milk and also as face packs in ancient times.
“It is believed that fenugreek was known in the Indian cuisine even 3,000 years ago. Traditionally fenugreek seeds were not only used by each and every household as a wonder condiment for flavouring or food but also used in cattle feeds. Fenugreek seeds were made into a gruel, halwa were given to nursing mothers to increase the flow of milk,” says Khanna Roy Chowdhury.
Fenugreek has excellent medicinal virtues. It was used in fever, vomiting, poor appetite, diabetes ,constipation and many other ailments in ancient times. It was used for beauty aids too. Seeds were used as hair packs and face packs too.
Benefits of fenugreek seeds and leaves
● Fenugreek seeds exercise a smoothing effect on the skin and mucous membranes, relieving any skin irritation of the skin and alleviating swelling and pain.
● Methi seeds increase the secretion and discharge of urine and also relieve flatulence.
● Methi is popularly included in the diets of new mothers as it helps promote lactation in nursing mothers.
● Since fenugreek leaves are high in fibre and antioxidants they are excellent for diabetics. Fenugreek has compounds that slow down release of sugar and help control blood sugar.
● Fenugreek is your go-to preventive herb for cardiac health as it has high fibre content and antioxidants properties that help in reducing cholesterol thus preventing heart diseases.
● Fenugreek is a wonder leaf which helps in reducing abdominal fat. Galactomannan, a water-soluble component found in fenugreek seeds, is very effective in suppressing appetite. It’s high fibre content helps in reducing bloating and acts as a laxative too.
“This winter superfood is full of benefits but remember moderation is the key role. Weight Loss is not a measure of fitness. Enjoy the goodness of these leaves as chapati, vegetables and traditional snacks. Strengthen your core. Keep a check on your parameters,” concludes Khanna Roy Chowdhury.