Fenugreek, often called “Greek hay” is an annual flowering plant which is part of the pea family (Fabaceae). It is generally grown in hot arid places like Africa, Egypt, India, and other areas in the Middle East.
This wonderfully effective superfood has always been known for its anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as its uncanny ability to boost breast milk production in lactating mothers.
Now, years of study have found that it fenugreek has other hidden benefits – many yet to be discovered. Keep reading to learn more about fenugreek’s nutritional profile, health benefits, warnings, side effects, and to read my top list of recommended supplements.
Top 7 Fenugreek Supplements
|#1||Nature’s Way Fenugreek Seed Capsules||More Info|
|#2||24 Mantra Organic Fenugreek Seeds||More Info|
|#3||Breast & Baby Fenugreek Seed Extract & Blessed Thistle Lactation Supplement||More Info|
|#4||Traditional Medicinals Organic Mother’s Milk Tea||More Info|
|#5||BulkSupplements Pure Fenugreek Powder||More Info|
|#6||Starwest Botanicals Organic Whole Fenugreek Seed||More Info|
|#7||Dualspices Organic Fenugreek Seeds||More Info|
Fenugreek is low in calories and sugar, while offering up a nutritious mixture of essential minerals and fiber.
Per tablespoon serving (ground):
• 35.5 cals
• Carbohydrates: 6.4 grams (2.7 net)
• Fiber: 2.7 grams
• Protein: 2.5 grams
• Iron: 4 mg (20% RDA)
• Manganese: 0.1 mg (7% RDA)
• Copper: 0.1 mg (6% RDA)
• Magnesium: 21 mg (5% RDA)
• Phosphorus: 33 mg (3% RDA)
• Vitamin B6: 0.1 mg (3% RDA)
12 Fenugreek Benefits
Note that studies on fenugreek are still limited at this point. As time goes on, and with a growing public interest in superfoods, many other health benefits than those mentioned below are likely to be discovered.
1.Diosgenin for Breastfeeding Moms
Fenugreek is widely prescribed to breastfeeding mothers by naturopathic practitioners due to its role as a powerful galactagogue; a substance proven to increase a mother’s milk supply for their nursing infants. Diosgenin is a phytosteroid sapogenin which is a precursor to several hormones in the body including estrogen and progesterone.
It’s found in ample supply in fenugreek and is believed to be largely responsible for the increases in breast milk enjoyed by nursing moms. The magnesium and vitamin B6 found in fenugreek also help to make breast milk more nutritious for growing babies.
2.Eases Menstruation Discomfort and Reduces Menopause Symptoms
Each of these feminine issues often exhibit the same symptoms including hot flashes, mood swings, unexplained depression, abdominal cramps, water retention, and more. Fenugreek is revered as an emmenagogue, which means it opens up the menses (ie., blood and other uterine matter) in a woman’s body, making menstruation and other feminine processes more efficient.
Diosgenin and other estrogenic isoflavones help to reduce menopause symptoms by increasing estrogen levels in the body naturally. Menstruation is brought on by declining levels of this hormone in the female body. Because of the estrogen boost it offers, fenugreek helps to prevent serious problems brought on by menopause such as osteoporosis and weight gain.
3.Raises Testosterone Levels in Men
Studies have shown fenugreek doesn’t just support female hormones, but that it also boosts testosterone in men. Increased testosterone helps promote the maintenance of bone and muscle mass in aging men, and can reverse or prevent the onset of libido problems such as loss of sexual desire, erectile difficulity, and reduced erection quality in older or otherwise unhealthy men.
A semi recent study was performed on 60 men ranging from 25 to 52 years of age tested the effects of Testofen, a standardized fenugreek extract, on common markers associated with normal testosterone levels. The results showed improvements across the board including improved erection quality, muscle strength, energy levels, and feelings of well-being.
4.Appetite Suppressant for Weight Loss
A natural fiber called galactomannan in fenugreek can help to reduce appetite, as it swells in the stomach, increasing the feeling of fullness. This can help people seeking to lose weight resist the urge to indulge in-between meals, while also reducing the amount of food eaten during a meal when fenugreek is taken 20 minutes before eating.
A strange dichotomy exists though with fenugreek and its appetite-suppressing quality. When taken in extract form, wherein the fiber is removed, fenugreek actually increases appetite helping those with eating disorders feel hungry again.
5.Lowers Cholesterol and Triglycerides (Heart Disease Risk Factors)
Good/bad cholesterol imbalance and high triglycerides are considered top risk factors for causing a narrowing of the arteries as we age. This particular fenugreek benefit has been well documented since this study from the late nineties. Healthy people with normal blood lipids don’t experience any lowering effects from ingesting fenugreek; nor do people with advanced coronary artery disease (CAD) or non-insulin dependent diabetes (NIDD).
People with mild CAD or NIDD experienced significant lowering of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides when consuming 5 grams of fenugreek daily along with ginger. Fenugreek contains 25% galactomannan fiber by volume; a soluble fiber which bonds with lipids and shuttles them out of the blood via the digestive tract.
6.Helps Lower Blood Sugar (in All Forms of Diabetes)
Fenugreek has been proven to lower blood sugar in a couple of different ways. First, when fenugreek is consumed approximately 20 minutes before a meal, the galactomannan fiber it contains helps to slow the absorption of sugar into the blood stream.
Second, an amino acid called 4-hydroxyisoleucine promotes insulin secretion offering a double-whammy of benefits to people with type II diabetes and pre-diabetes. Galactomannan helps to slow glucose absorption, while 4-hydroxyisoleucine helps the body shuttle sugar out of the blood faster, reducing both fasting and postprandial numbers when up to 20 grams of fenugreek is consumed daily.
7.Relieves Digestive Problems
A strong number of digestive issues can be linked to a lack of fiber consumption. Constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other occasional or chronic digestive tract issues can be alleviated by increasing fiber intake with supplements like galactomannan-containing fenugreek.
The benefits of fiber on improving completion is well-known: More fiber increases stool size and quality, making it easier to have complete bowel movements. Fiber is also used in the gut as a prebiotic in the gut, which beneficial microorganisms feed on. These microorganisms improve digestion in a number of ways including helping us to absorb vital nutrients.
8.Lowers external inflammation
Crush a teaspoon or two of fenugreek seeds, or steep a “strong” cup of fenugreek tea and make a fenugreek poultice to treat gout, eczema, dandruff, ulcers, sciatica, and open wounds.
Though not experienced by everyone, consuming a fenugreek extract helps some people overcome appetite shortcomings.
10.Improves exercise performance
Specifically, when 900 mg of fenugreek is mixed with 3.5 grams of creatine, test subjects show massive improvements in upper body strength and vast improvements in body composition over a one-month period of use.
11.Relieves sore throat and cough
A cup or two of fenugreek tea can help to ease sore throat symptoms and break up phlegm associated with colds.
12.Helps with kidney illnesses
Chinese medicine often uses fenugreek to help with various kidney ailments such as kidney stones.
Fenugreek Recommended Dosage
Always follow label instructions, or consult your doctor when taking fenugreek in extract form. Some formulations are more concentrated than others and may contain other ingredients, such as blessed thistle, which are known to increase absorption and efficacy.
If you prefer to grind your own fresh seeds for adding to cooking recipes, tea or smoothies, up to 20 grams per day of raw organic fenugreek seed is recommended as a safe dose for breastfeeding moms. Always start out at a lower dosage to assess your GI tolerance.
Fenugreek Warnings and Side Effects
Fenugreek is recommended for breastfeeding, due to it being a safe and natural galactagogue. It is not, however, recommended for pregnant women as it is also a very effective at inducing childbirth, which can lead to premature birth and even miscarriage.
In high doses, fenugreek can cause gastrointestinal distress in the form of cramps, bloating, gas, diarrhea, and even constipation. That’s why it’s important to start out slow and let your body get used to this superfood before ramping up dosages.
Fenugreek is an effective and natural blood thinner. People who take blood thinning medication or who are predisposed to excessive bleeding should avoid taking this superfood or severe internal and external bleeding may occur.
Review of the Best Fenugreek Supplements
#1.Breast & Baby Fenugreek Seed Extract & Blessed Thistle Lactation Supplement
This potent organic fenugreek extract also contains another breast-milk boosting superfood called organic blessed thistle. Laboratory testing has shown that the two supplements combined together have a considerable synergistic effect on boosting breast milk production in lactating moms. Mind you, this isn’t just for lactating moms, anyone looking to boost their appetite, reduce inflammation, and improve digestion can benefit from the one-two punch offered by these two supplements, since blessed thistle offers many of the same health benefits as fenugreek.
#2.24 Mantra Organic Fenugreek Seeds
24 Mantra is the perfect way to get the benefits of fenugreek in wholefood supplement form. No fillers or other ingredients like you’ll find in capsules and tinctures. Organic means there’s no worry of pesticides, herbicides, or other unnatural ingredients being used to grow the finished product. If you’re looking for maximum taste in your favorite savory dishes, consider roasting the seeds before eating them.
#3.BulkSupplements Pure Fenugreek Powder
BulkSupplements.com has a reputation for offering reasonably-priced superfood supplements that are of the highest quality. With this purchase, you’ll get over a pound of ground fenugreek in a resealable pouch. Being ground and in loose form, the sky’s the limit as to ways it can be used, from teas and smoothies, to baked goods and cereal toppers. You can also fill your own capsules and save considerable money in the process.
Fenugreek has long been known as an effective galactagogue for breast feeding moms, and as a sexual performance booster for men. With other benefits ranging from diabetes and heart disease prevention and treatment – to relief from numerous digestive disorders – there’s no good reason not to start taking fenugreek immediately to improve your health.