Fenugreek is an herb most often associated with Indian cooking. It is also used in Middle Eastern dishes as well as some Asian dishes. The leaves and seeds of the plant are packed with nutrients. Likewise, they are both utilized to give various dishes amazing flavor. Fenugreek seeds are yellow and have a slightly nutty flavor with maple undertones. The leaves are generally bitter if eaten raw. Cooking mellows the taste for a more palatable flavor.
Through the ages, fenugreek has been used for medicinal purposes due to its rich nutrients supporting various aspects of health. The seeds have a healthy nutritional profile. It contains a good amount of fiber as well as the minerals iron, phosphorus, copper, potassium, manganese and magnesium. Additionally, 1 tablespoon contains 3 grams of protein.
Potassium plays a role in controlling heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for proper red blood cell development. Likewise, phosphorus contributes to strong bone development, muscle strengthening, regulating heart rates and supports nerve signaling. The magnesium contributes to calcium absorption for new bone cell development. Additionally, magnesium helps regulate nerve and muscle activity. Being a rich source of fiber improves blood sugar levels and may relieve constipation.
Fenugreek also contains some essential B-vitamins. The thiamine (B-1) is important to glucose metabolism. It is also involved in nerve, muscle and heart functions. The riboflavin (B-2) is needed for various nutrient metabolism, red blood cells, along with iron and zinc absorption in the body. Additionally, vitamin B-6 may improve immunity and reduce cardiovascular disease risks. It also supports nerve health.
Other studies have shown the antioxidants in fenugreek offer anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have also found compounds in the herb that help block the sensory receptors allowing the brain to perceive pain. A 2017 study indicated it may also help increase low testosterone and sperm levels in men.
Furthermore, this herb provides many with sinus relief during cold and allergy seasons. Its mucus reducing properties are beneficial for head colds, sore throats, laryngitis or sinusitis. It can also reduce the urge to cough from sinus drainage. Finally, this seed has long been utilized by new moms as a lactation aid. Studies have shown women adding fenugreek tea increased breastmilk volume and flow.
Bottom line: Fenugreek is a tasty herb that enhances food flavors while providing multiple health benefits!
Dr. Dianna Richardson has been serving Jefferson City and the surrounding communities for more than 22 years. She has worked in the field of health and nutrition as a wellness practitioner for over 30 years. Core to her practice remains use of nutrition to improve health, vitality and quality of life. Richardson holds a doctorate in naturopathy, along with degrees in nutrition and a master’s degree in public health education. She may be found at the Health, Wellness & Nutrition Center, LLC on Dix Road in Jefferson City.
CAULIFLOWER WITH GINGER AND FENUGREEK
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 medium sized red onion, diced
11/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 medium sized cauliflower chopped
1/2 cup frozen green peas (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
Salt to taste
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek
2 tablespoons vegan yogurt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Cilantro to garnish
Heat the oil on medium heat for about 1 minute.
Add the mustard seeds and heat until the seeds begin to crackle.
Add in the onion and the ginger and saute the onion for 3-4 minutes.
Add in the cauliflower and cover and cook for 3 minutes.
Stir in the green peas if using.
Mix in the turmeric, chili powder and salt and stir well.
Add in the tomatoes and cover and cook for five minutes.
Remove the cover and stir well.
Mix in the dried fenugreek, yogurt and the sugar and cover and cook for another five minutes until the vegetables are nice and soft.
Stir in the cilantro and serve.