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Why Should You Choose Fenugreek over Other Seeds?

Why Should You Choose Fenugreek over Other Seeds?

Fenugreek is a herb you might not have heard of if you don’t do a lot of cooking or aren’t from the parts of the world where it is commonly used (or a breastfeeding mom). But you’ve tasted fenugreek if you’ve ever had artificial maple syrup, and you’ve probably had it in your favorite Chinese, Indian or Mediterranean food.

What is Fenugreek?

The plant fenugreek is an annual from the family Fabacaea (which includes peas and legumes). The plant has clusters of three oval leaves.

The leaves can be used as an herb, and it is eaten like a vegetable or in salads in India and elsewhere. The seeds are also used as a spice, and many of the medicinal preparations using fenugreek involve the seeds.

    What Does it Taste Like?

    As you might imagine from its common use, fenugreek tastes a little like maple syrup. It is a sweet-tasting herb that combines well with the spicier flavors enjoyed in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The seeds have a bit of a bitter taste that is made milder through cooking.

    Fenugreek is often one of the spices in Chinese five spice powder (along with anise or corriander, Szechuan or black peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves) and is used in curry powder as well.

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    Nutrition Profile

    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Protein: 3 grams
    • Carbs: 6 grams
    • Fat: 1 gram
    • Iron: 20% of your daily requirements
    • Manganese: 7% of your daily requirements
    • Magnesium: 5% of your daily requirements

    Health Benefits of Fenugreek

    1. It increases breastmilk supply

    If you’re a mom you might have heard that one of the health benefits of fenugreek is boosting milk production. Many breastfeeding moms drink tea or take supplements that include fenugreek as a galactagogue (that’s a fancy word for something that increases milk supply).

    Some studies have been done on the use of fenugreek among new moms, but results have been mixed. Talk to your lactation consultant about dosing if you want to try it. Doses of more than 3,500 mg a day are not uncommon; you’ll know you’re getting enough when your urine starts to smell like maple syrup. You may see a result within a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

    2. It reduces inflammation

    But there are a lot of other benefits of consuming this herb regularly. Fenugreek is said to be antimicrobial and antioxidant, and it can reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can lead to all sorts of health problems, from depression to heart disease and arthritis.

    3. It helps with your digestive system as well

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    It is considered an appetite stimulant and can be taken for gastrointestinal problems such as an upset stomach, constipation and gastritis. It has also been used to treat diabetes because it seems to be able to slow absorption of sugar in the stomach and boost insulin production. It might also be helpful for people with high cholesterol.

    4. It serves as an aid for both men and women’s reproductive system

    Women might also see a benefit from taking the herb when they suffer from painful menstruations or polycystic ovary syndrome. Men could use it to treat erectile dysfunction and male infertility, among many other uses.

      Dangers of Using Fenugreek

      Fenugreek sprouts were determined to be the cause of an E.coli outbreak in Germany and France in 2011. The herb and its seeds are generally safe, but they could interfere with blood-clotting drugs.

      Because fenugreek is part of the legume family, people who have peanut allergies or other legume allergies may have a reaction to this herb.

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      In large doses it can also cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Always check with a doctor before consuming an herb or seed medicinally, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.

      Fenugreek Recipes

      If you’d like to experiment with fenugreek in cooking, there are lots of ways to try it. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredients lists on some of these recipes – spice blends often have a lot of components but are easy to put together.

      1. Methi Chicken Recipe

        If you want to try a dish using fresh fenugreek leaves, try this methi murgh recipe from the Daily Meal. Check Asian markets for the fresh leaves.

        2. Wild Mushroom Biryani

          The recipe from the Daily Meal calls for dried fenugreek leaves.

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          3. Makhani Chicken

            Indian butter chicken is another classic dish that uses dried leaves, as in this recipe from All Recipes.

            4. Mothers’ Milk Tea

              Help a new mom by brewing up some mothers’ milk tea , which includes fenugreek seeds as a main ingredient. Get the recipe from the Kitchn.

              5. Spiced Cauliflower with Toasted Coconut and Red Lentils

                A great side dish using fenugreek seeds is the spiced cauliflower with toasted coconut and red lentils from the BBC. This recipe has a lot of parts, but you could just make the cauliflower for a taste of fenugreek without all the work.

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                Sarah White

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                Last Updated on December 2, 2018

                How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

                Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

                The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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                The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

                Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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                Review Your Past Flow

                Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

                Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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                Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

                Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

                Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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                Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

                Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

                We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

                Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

                  Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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