Fenugreek Benefits : Lower Blood Sugar and Cholesterol

By on January 20, 2014
707px-Fenugreek-methi-seeds

707px-Fenugreek-methi-seedsWe know that fenugreek is not only a spice that is used in many masala, sambar and panch phoron spice mixes, it is also a vegetable as the fresh leaves, sprouts and microgreen are used in the cuisines of the Indian subcontinent, Ethiopia and Yeman, amongst others.

The health benefits of these distinctive cuboid-shaped, yellow-to-amber colored seeds have been purported by Ayurveda for millenia, but now scientific studies show that fenugreek maybe be a useful herb for diabetics and those wanting to control their cholesterol.

A human clinical study on patients with newly diagnosed type-2 diabetes showed positive results using fenugreek. The patients were randomly grouped into two, one group received an extract of fenugreek (1 gram per day) and the other group received a placebo. Both the groups were given the regular diabetes care – diet and exercise.

After two months, the fenugreek supplemented group showed better blood sugar control and insulin sensitivity compared to the other. Researchers also observed a significant reduction in the serum triglyceride levels and increase in the good cholesterol levels.

So fenugreek benefits include glucose-lowering effect, largely due to the presence of soluble fiber. According to a 220px-Illustration_Trigonella_foenum-graecum0_clean2007 study, the soluble fiber fraction delayed carbohydrate digestion and absorption, while increasing the action of insulin. These studies indicate that regular fenugreek consumption can be beneficial during diabetes therapy.
Another study has underscored fenugreek’s cholesterol-lowering effect – as it is a great source of soluble (21.7%) and insoluble fiber ( 26.8%). Researchers say that the high fiber content actually blocks cholesterol absorption. The presence of soluble fiber, in particular, increases the viscosity of the digested food and inhibits the uptake of cholesterol and bile acids.

Another strong reason behind fenugreek’s cholesterol-lowering effect is the fact the fiber acts as a food for the beneficial gut bacteria (pre-biotic). The volatile fatty acids released by these gut bacteria enter the bloodstream and suppress the cholesterol production by the liver.

A point of trivia about fenugreek: if consumed in quantity, its aroma will come through the body odor.  This is because of sotolon (also known as sotolone), a lactone and an extremely powerful aroma compound which is responsible for the smell of maple syrup, caramel, or burnt sugar.  So consumption of foods high in sotolon, such as fenugreek, can impart a maple syrup aroma to one’s sweat and urine.  So fenugreek will litteraly make you smell more sweet.

 

About Suleyka Montpetit

Suleyka Montpetit is a Media Entrepreneur, Explorer, Writer and the Managing Editor of Everyday Ayurveda. She has studied Yoga, Health, Spirituality and the Arts for over 15 years, rubbing elbow with all kind of luminaries and making stuff happen everywhere she goes.
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