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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 December 2, 2019

                10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

                In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

                These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

                1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

                Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

                But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

                Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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                2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

                You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

                The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

                3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

                If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

                Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

                If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

                4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

                Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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                To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

                In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

                5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

                We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

                If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

                Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

                “Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

                6. Give for the Joy of Giving

                When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

                One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

                So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

                7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

                Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

                Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

                8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

                When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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                So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

                9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

                Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

                It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

                It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

                10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

                There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

                But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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                Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

                More About Living a Fulfilling Life

                Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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