Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum), also known as Methika in Sanskrit, is an ancient functional superfood. It belongs to Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family and is widely used as an herb, vegetable and a regular household spice in India. Fenugreek is also a well-known traditional medicine in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Clinical research studies have recognized multiple remedial benefits of fenugreek, in health conditions such as Diabetes, High Cholesterol levels, Obesity, Cancer, and Arthritis due to its anti‐inflammatory, antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, and post- partum galactogogue effects (increasing breast milk production).
Fenugreek seeds are best known for blood sugar regulating properties, but the amazing medicinal effects are enhanced multifold when they are soaked and sprouted. Germination or sprouting is a process by which the nutritional and phytochemical content is significantly magnified. Sprouting enhances the bioavailability of the antioxidants and polyphenols that become more potent. 1 Fenugreek seeds consists of an array of biochemical compounds such as gum, plant steroids, soluble dietary fiber, flavonoids, alkaloid, and volatiles. Alkaloid and volatiles are two major constituents that impart bitter taste to fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds are naturally rich in choline (essential for liver health, brain cells, and cell membrane function), iron, vitamins - B1, B2, B3, (play a role in energy production, and metabolism of macronutrients) and vitamin A - while sprouted seeds in addition are found to contain B6, calcium (thus its effect on bone health), biotin, and vitamin C. Sprouting stimulates the production of enzymes that exhibit the properties of decreasing the risk of oxidative damage to fatty acids leading to cholesterol lowering effects.
Gut health is key for achieving and maintaining optimal health. Regular consumption of fenugreek has beneficial influence on liver and pancreas. Clinical research studies have shown that fenugreek positively enhances the production of pancreatic digestive enzymes whereas the high fiber content aids to relieve symptoms of constipation. It balances the gut microbiome by promoting the growth of beneficial gut bacteria. Fenugreek’s anthelminthic properties, the ability to eliminate intestinal parasites, are greatly appreciated. It’s role in lowering body fat and weight loss is attributed to the high content of soluble fiber which forms a gelatinous structure, preventing the reabsorption and recirculation of intestinal components that can be detrimental to gut and liver health.
Sprouted Fenugreek seeds can be enjoyed by adding them to salads, sandwiches, burgers, fruit salad (reducing the glycemic index and glycemic load), roasted veggies and to add texture or crunch over curries, soups and stews. Surprisingly the most anticipated bitter taste is turned into pleasing sweet taste on sprouting.
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