Traditionally, Indians know that consuming fengureek leaves or methi patta in winters is a delicious and beneficial option—but did you know that consuming fenugreek for better health is supported by science too? Here are all the healthful reasons to have more fenugreek leaves this winter.
Most Indians know all about methi, the green leaves that become abundantly available in winters and have a slightly bitter taste. Known as fenugreek leaves in English, methi is basically a herb native to large parts of Asia and Europe, though it is known by most as a green leafy vegetable. The seeds of this herb, known as methi dana, are also widely used in food preparation as well as medicine, but during winters, it is the leaves that get all the focus.
And why not? Apart from being absolutely delicious in every dish, ranging from methi thepla to methi saag, fenugreek leaves are also known for their immense health benefits. In fact, while Indians have been using both fenugreek leaves and seeds for centuries now as per Ayurvedic recommendations, western medicine has finally caught up to the health benefits of fenugreek leaves—so much so that fenugreek extracts are now widely used as a dietary supplement for lifestyle diseases too.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), fenugreek leaves are known to help people with issues like diabetes, menstrual pain management, etc. The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) also reveals that fenugreek leaves are low in calories and yet are loaded with protein, carbohydrates in the form of dietary fibre, and minerals like iron, magnesium and manganese. So, the health benefits of fenugreek leaves are plenty.
Wondering what these benefits of adding fenugreek leaves to your diet this winter are? Here are six such health benefits you should know about.
Video Credit: YouTube/Chef Ranveer Brar
1. Blood Sugar Control
The most common use of fenugreek supplements is for people with prediabetes and diabetes because the herb has a clear set of health benefits for those with blood sugar issues. A 2015 study in the Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders, for example, suggests that people with prediabetes or blood sugar issues who consumed 10 grams of fenugreek in a day were able to get their sugar levels in check and prevent the occurrence of diabetes mellitus. More reason to eat more methi saag this winter? Absolutely!
2. Boosts Strength
A 2016 study in the Journal of Sport Health and Science suggests that men who consume fenugreek extracts as supplements not only experience increased testosterone levels—which is the primary male hormone the body needs—but also saw a decreased in weight and an increase in muscle strength. So, eating plenty of fenugreek leaves this winter can help men especially, but women too.
3. Breast Milk Production In New Mothers
New mothers often face the problem of producing enough breast milk for their child, especially in nations where poverty and other factors affect maternal and child health. A 2015 study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal indicates that new mothers who consumed herbal tea made with fenugreek every day witnessed an increase in their breast milk production.
4. Cholesterol Check
A 2020 study in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology explains that eating moderate amounts of fenugreek leaves and seeds every day can not only control the amount of lipids in the blood but also may help in healthy weight management. So, eating this herb can help you control cholesterol and triglyceride levels and also prevent heart diseases in the long run. This should absolutely give you more reason to eat methi-infused dishes this winter!
5. Reduces Acidity
You might have been told traditionally that eating fenugreek leaves and seeds can improve digestion and reduce acidity, but did you know that modern science proves it too? A 2011 study in Phytotherapy Research suggests that if people with frequent acidity and heartburn issues consume fenugreek leaves for their fibre content, their condition may improve within weeks. In fact, the study showed that fenugreek extracts work exactly like popular antacids too, so that’s great news for all the foodies out there too.
6. Menstrual Pain Control
For women across the world, handling menstrual cramps and pain—known scientifically as dysmenorrhea—can be quite a challenge without painkillers like Meftal Spas (which has now been banned in India). For these women, fenugreek leaves can actually come to the rescue because, as a 2023 study in Current Drug Research Reviews shows, fenugreek is one of those plants which have analgesic or painkilling properties and can reduce the severity of pelvic pain and cramps during menstruation. So, load up on methi when you get your next period.
While these are just some of the science-backed health benefits of fenugreek leaves, you should know that Ayurveda suggests many more. As with any health or dietary recommendation, it is very important to get regular health checkups and consult a doctor before going on any regimen, even if it is the inclusion of more fenugreek leaves in your diet.