Fenugreek For Diabetes: How Does It Work & How To Use
Fenugreek is used as a herb and spice in Indian cuisine. Its dried or fresh leaves are often cooked as vegetables, while its seeds are used as spice along with other whole and ground spices. The pungent, bitter, and slightly tangy seeds are more potent than their leafy counterpart and are often also used as a medicine in folk practices.
Fenugreek seeds are loaded with soluble fibres, which are essential in lowering blood sugar levels. In addition, it controls the breakdown of food and carbohydrate absorption. So, it can help people with diabetes keep their sugar levels in check. Below are other benefits of consuming fenugreek for controlling diabetes.
Benefits of fenugreek for diabetes
Improves insulin sensitivity
How the body reacts to insulin is called insulin sensitivity. When you have high insulin sensitivity, your body’s cells use glucose more effectively, lowering blood sugar levels. A study conducted in 2018 observed that participants who consumed fenugreek for 10 days received more insulin-sensitising effects.
Delays gastric emptying
Gastric emptying means how long food takes to leave a person’s body after consumption. Diabetes can cause rapid digestion, which results in postprandial spikes. This temporary spike in blood sugar level can lead to gastronomical symptoms and other complications.
Reduce glucose absorption in the intestine
Insulin is a substance that converts sugar from energy and stores it in the cell. Unfortunately, in a diabetic person, the body can’t make enough insulin or use it as effectively as it should. This leads to a high amount of sugar in the blood, which causes severe problems over time.
Lowers glycemic index
Fenugreek seeds have hypoglycemic properties, which lower the glycemic index of rice and wheat – glucose-heavy grains popular in every cuisine worldwide. It is beneficial for long-term controlling the blood sugar level and prevents complications due to hyperglycemia.
Best ways to consume fenugreek
Fenugreek can be an excellent herbal medicine for diabetes patients. Here are some ways to add this popular herb and spice to your diet.
Soaked fenugreek seeds
The most prevalent and effective way of including fenugreek in your diet is by making fenugreek tea. Soak about 10 grams of fenugreek powder or seeds in a glass of hot water. Leave it overnight or at least 8 hours to let the fenugreek infuse its medicinal properties. Strain the water and drink it first in the morning on an empty stomach, and it will work wonders for you.
Sprouted fenugreek is lighter in terms of digestion and less bitter. You can add sprouted seeds in salads or munch on them as it is. You can add salt, pepper, and lemon juice to enhance the taste. To sprout the fenugreek seeds, wash them thoroughly and soak them overnight. Next day, strain them and cover them in muslin cloth. Keep them hydrated with water until they sprout.
Dry roasted fenugreek seeds
Another way of using fenugreek seeds is by dry roasting them and tempering your dishes. In Indian cuisine, fenugreek seeds are dry roasted or fried and added to lentil soups and porridges to enhance the flavour. Dry roasting lowers the bitterness and imparts a nutty flavour. If you don’t like the bite of whole fenugreek seeds, you can use fenugreek powder instead.
Fenugreek leaves are not as potent as their seed counterpart but can be a good substitute. Fenugreek leaves impart a pleasant aroma and flavour to the dish. In Indian cuisine, dried fenugreek leaves, or Kasuri methi, is a popular dried herb like cilantro. Fresh fenugreek leaves are also used to make various curries and base gravies for dishes. Chopped leaves are often added to the dough to make a Gujarati flatbread called thepla.
Fenugreek powder is often used as a ground spice in Indian cuisine. It is generally used to add fenugreek flavours while avoiding the bite of the whole seeds. Moreover, ground fenugreek powder is also used to make methi laddoo, a sweet dish loaded with dry fruits, jaggery, clarified butter, and warm spices, and often consumed in winter.
Where can I buy fenugreek powder and seeds?
Fresh fenugreek leaves and seeds are easily available in any Asian vegetable market and food stores. In addition, if you are looking for herbal supplements containing fenugreek powder or fenugreek seed extract in capsule form, they are made available through health food companies.
Before using fenugreek to treat your diabetes, consult your doctor to ensure it is safe. There is a risk that fenugreek may lower your blood sugar level too low when taken alongside other diabetic drugs. So, if you take fenugreek supplements, the dose of your diabetes medicines needs to be changed.
Fenugreek is a potent herb that can help with diabetes. It can lower blood sugar levels, improve insulin sensitivity, delay digestion, reduce intestinal glucose absorption, and lowers the glycemic index. You can reap its benefits by adding fenugreek powder, whole seeds, or leaves to your diet. But make sure you consult your doctors before consuming fenugreek for diabetes. It can have hyperglycemic effects, which might give you adverse effects when consumed with other diabetic medicines.