– The fenugreek plant thrives in hot, arid conditions and its round green leaves and amber-colored seeds are frequently used in Indian, Arabian and African cuisine. Fenugreek has a sweet flavor and aroma, similar to that of maple syrup. Fenugreek leaves and seeds have been used for thousands of years as part of traditional therapies to help with digestive problems such as an upset stomach or decreased appetite. Historically, it has also been used to reduce inflammation and stimulate lactation in nursing mothers. Unfortunately, there is not enough scientific evidence to determine whether fenugreek is effective in helping any of these conditions. read more about Fenugreek » | find answers to your vitamins questions »
Fenugreek seeds are a rich source of soluble fiber. Fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. Soluble fiber can lower cholesterol levels and help slow down the absorption of sugar. Preliminary research has suggested that fenugreek seeds may lower LDL or “bad” cholesterol levels in the blood. Its positive effects seem to be a result of the soluble fiber and its ability to bind cholesterol in the intestine and excrete it out of the body. However, further studies are still needed to support its use.
The high fiber content of fenugreek seeds may also help control blood sugar levels if you have diabetes. Furthermore, an amino acid found in fenugreek, 4-hydroxyisoleucine, may help stimulate the secretion of insulin and reduce insulin resistance by slowing absorption of glucose in the intestine. There is limited evidence from a few small studies indicating fenugreek may help lower blood glucose levels.
drugstore.com offers a variety of fenugreek supplements including easy-to-swallow capsules and liquid herbal extracts. If you are interested in taking fenugreek you should consult with your physician first before incorporating it into your diet. Because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, herbal and dietary supplements should be taken only under the supervision of a knowledgeable health professional. You should read product labels and discuss all therapies with a qualified healthcare provider before adding fenugreek into your diet.
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