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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

                Freelance Writer, Editor, Professional Crafter

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                Last Updated on July 8, 2020

                18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                18 Benefits of Journaling That Will Change Your Life

                The act of writing in a journal often seems daunting or unnecessary to many people. Even authors who work on novels might shun the idea of daily diaries. What purpose does jotting down words on a regular basis do if not contributing to the next novel, play or song? I know from experience many benefits of journaling that I wish to share.

                1. Understand Yourself Better

                Though many people and even writers avoid keeping journals, I vow to do it more often. Not only do I desire to take up daily journaling but also I plan to do it with pen to paper.

                Some of the benefits I’ve found from my more active days include finding myself in the sense of understanding what matters to me and what I want out of life. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to find a spouse who is my best friend and advocate in raising children. I attribute this and much more to what I learned about myself in keeping journals for years.

                2. Keep Track of Small Changes

                I’ll admit that I never got very far with my guitar lessons, but in writing in a journal, I have seen the ability to track small changes like those that come when you practice anything.

                Those learning a musical instrument often fail to see the small improvements that come with regular practice. Writing won’t help you switch chords any faster, but it will help you to develop a better sense for language and grammar just by doing it.

                3. Become Aware of What Matters

                As you continue to write in a journal, following a stream-of-consciousness feel, you can look back on the topics that you chose to write about. Those issues and emotions that poured out of you will provide insight on to what matters most to you.

                You may not even realize that you’re job is depressing you or that you want to spend more time with your kids until you look over your thoughts that you weren’t really thinking about.

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                4. Boost Creativity

                The idea that the brain and its neural activity across hemispheres encourages learning also shows up in increased creativity. Just like with learning an instrument, your increased activity will inspire your thoughts to connect and reconnect in different ways.

                When I wrote in a journal, I often wrote poetry as well as just my thoughts as they came out. I started to hear poems more in my mind; so much so that I took to scrawling lines on napkins and finding metaphors in mundane activities.

                You really are what you do, so writing helps grow more than being a writer. Writing boosts the way you communicate and structure language, which really is a creative process.

                5. Represents Your Emotions in a Safe Environment

                A journal is as private as it gets. You can lock it in a safe or tuck it under a pillow and no one will accidentally share it on social media or have an opportunity to “leave a comment.”

                Write about your sorrow as much as your happiness and frustration and know that you don’t have to keep your emotions inside your body. You can put them on paper.

                6. Process Life Experiences

                When you take the time to look back over what you’ve written, be it a week or a year later, you will have the distance you need to more objectively interpret your raw feelings.

                Everything from losing a job to losing a loved one can emerge in a new light for a fresh perspective. Figuring out how the benefits of journaling affect your perspective on life will create connection and increase creativity.

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                7. Stress Relief

                In combining the exercise inherent in fine motor coordination that comes from the act of writing with the emotional release of self expression, those who maintain a journal relieve stress.

                Try it out. Go home and write about your day. Write about the traffic. Write about the coffee order the barista got wrong but you didn’t have time to change. See how you can physically purge some of that pent-up stress by putting it on paper.

                8. Provide Direction

                Though journaling is often conducted as an activity without much direction, it often provides direction.

                One of the biggest benefits of journaling is that your chaotic thoughts merge to show a direction in which to head. Asking the right questions is the only way to achieve the best solutions, so look to your journal to find your way toward your next goal.

                9. Solve Problems

                Just as in practicing math problems, we all get better at finding hidden solutions through the act of processing.

                Think of your next goal as X and solve your life problems by reading your journals as word problems. The benefit of journaling here is that you write, explore and process to recognize and then solve problems.

                When life is too in-your-face, you have to step back to see reality. Living in the moment allows us to write in the moment and use that expression to solve problems.

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                10. Find Relief From Fighting

                Solving your problems only comes after time to process, recognize and strategize. Just as in the benefit of journaling where relief comes from the act of writing, relief from fighting comes when you decide to “sit this one out” and communicate one-way.

                Fighting is only productive when the fighters care to communicate and find common ground. When the emotions are as high as the stress levels, writing will function as the best time out.

                11. Find Meaning in Life

                Journaling will show you why you are living, whether you are wallowing in things you wish to change or striving to make the changes. Your life will begin to take on new meaning and your own words will reveal the actions that got you where you are so that you can assess and pave a new path for your future.

                12. Allow Yourself to Focus

                Taking even a small amount of time out of every day will provide you with not only peace of mind but also increased focus. Taking a break to meditate in writing and journaling will sharpen your mental faculties.

                13. Sharpen Your Spirituality

                When we write, we allow all the energy and experiences to flow through us, which often provides further insight into our own spirituality. Even if your parents didn’t raise you to follow a specific religion, your thoughts will start to show you what you believe about the universe and your place in it.

                14. Let the Past Go

                I’ve mentioned a few examples where going back over your writing offers advice and direction, but the simply truth is that writing down our feelings can be the best way to let them go. We can choose to literally throw these pages away when they’re filled with negativity and hate.

                15. Allow Freedom

                Journaling is the perfect way to not only express yourself but to also experience the freedom of being who you are. Your books can stay private or you can publish them. Your freedom stems from your sense of self and your perception of your thoughts.

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                16. Enhance Your Career

                Again, the private act of pen-to-paper processing provides the benefits of journaling mentioned above, but you can also enhance your career when you take similar ideas and categorize, edit and publish them in an online blog.

                Your thoughts will often be personal and express emotions, but another benefit of journaling is uncovering fresh ideas about your work.

                17. Literally Explore Your Dreams

                All the benefits I’ve mentioned explore ideas, thoughts and emotions, which is also what our dreams and nightmares do. Through writing down your dreams from the previous night, you can enhance your creativity as well as connect some of the metaphorical dots from the rest of your journal.

                18. Catalog Your Life for Others

                No one wants to think about dying, but we all die. Leaving a journal will act as a way to reconnect with family and friends left behind. The ideas you wish to keep personal while you process the life you’re living will serve to rekindle and inspire those who loved you through the process.

                We consider our partners our life witnesses, but writing provides a tangible mark on the world.

                Now that you’ve learned all the benefits of journaling, it’s time to start writing a journal:

                Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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