Does Fenugreek Help with Diabetes?

Fenugreek is an herb that grows in parts of western Asia and Europe. The leaves of the plant are edible and the seeds are used to treat diabetes by helping to lower the blood sugar. Fenugreek was first used in Egypt in 1500 B.C before spreading to South Asia and the Middle East where the seeds were used as medicine and spices.  Today, fenugreek can be found in the form of a spice, tea, supplement, and skin cream. If you suffer from diabetes, you can take the supplements after meals to control your blood sugar. Make sure to consult your doctor before doing so especially if you are already taking diabetes medications. Below are some to on how to use fenugreek for diabetes.

How Fenugreek Helps with Diabetes

1. Improves Digestion

Fenugreek seeds are rich insoluble fiber and various chemicals that slow down digestion and the absorption of sugar and carbohydrates. They can also help improve the body’s use of sugar and increase the release of insulin.

2. Improves Glucose Tolerance

Studies have been conducted on fenugreek as a treatment for various conditions with varying levels of success. However, the herb has been shown to help lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. In one study, it was demonstrated that taking 10 grams of fenugreek on a daily basis can help patients with type 2 diabetes. In another study, fenugreek was shown to reduce insulin resistance among type 2 diabetes patients when added to baked products such as bread. Yet another study showed that high doses of fenugreek taken every day for several weeks can improve levels of plasma glucose.

3. Lowers Cholesterol

Although not directly related to diabetes, fenugreek seeds can help lower the levels of bad cholesterol in the body and boost the release of good cholesterol.

How to Use Fenugreek

1. Talk to Your Doctor

Before adding fenugreek to your diet, you should make a pint of talking to your doctor. Fenugreek has been shown to interact with diabetes medications and blood thinners and there’s a chance it might interfere with your treatment progress. Consequently, you should consult your doctor if you want to add fenugreek to your treatment regimen.

2. Choose the Right Dosage

After your doctor has given you the go ahead to use fenugreek for diabetes, you now need to determine the right dosage for you. The dosage for ranges from 2.5- 15 grams per day. Your doctor should be able to help you choose the right dosage based on your weight and other considerations. If they’re not in a position to recommend a dosage, talk to an experienced neuropath or herbalist. The most popular dosage is 12.5 grams taken two times a day. However, there are studies that show benefit from taking 2.5 grams two times a day.

3. Choose a High-Quality Supplement

Fenugreek seeds are not particularly tasty, so you might not like them. For this reason, you would do well to go for capsules.  Make sure to check the packaging for detailed information about the side effect of taking the supplement, dosage recommendations and ingredients. You should also find out who the manufacturer is. They contact information should be clearly indicated on the packaging.

4. Add Fenugreek to Your Food

If you find the taste of fenugreek unbearable, then you might want to add it to your food. You can either sprinkle the fenugreek seeds directly into your food as a garnish or search for fenugreek recipes online. Fenugreek is a bit bitter and so you can add it in your favorite curry or rice to mask the taste. Make sure to always add it to cooked food. If you cook fenugreek, a lot of the nutritional value is lost.

Do not change your diet drastically when using fenugreek for diabetes. You need to follow your doctor’s dietary recommendations to keep your diabetes in check. Studies show that 15 grams of fenugreek added to food is most effective.

5. Drink with Hot Water

Studies show that taking fenugreek tea produces the best results. In one study comparing fenugreek tea with fenugreek yoghurt, those that took the tea showed considerably better results than those who took yoghurt. Both groups consumed a total of 10g per day.

To make fenugreek tea, pulverize or crush 2.5 grams of fenugreek seeds using a food processor, pestle or mortar. Pour the resulting powder into a mug and add about 8oz of boiling hot water. Stir well and wait for the mixture to cool to drinking temperature.

Side Effect of Taking Fenugreek

Cooked fenugreek seeds are generally safe to consume. Raw seeds, on the other hand, might have some unpleasant effects. However, you need not worry as the side effect are mild and have no long-term effects on your health. You can expect the following:

  • If you take fenugreek in large doses, then you might experience gas and bloating. This only happens to some people.
  • If you are already on diabetes medication, then you need to consult with your doctor as mentioned earlier. This is because fenugreek is known to react with medication for treating blood clotting disorders and blood thinners.
  • If you are pregnant, you should steer clear of raw fenugreek as it can induce early labor. During pregnancy, you should only take cooked fenugreek.
  • In some cases, taking fenugreek for diabetes can lower your blood glucose levels. This can be dangerous especially in cases where the fenugreek is self-prescribed. Make sure to consult your physician on the right dosage before you start using fenugreek. 
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