Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Incorporating fenugreek into your diet

In our last post we talked about the health benefits of fenugreek. Fenugreek has a strong taste, which takes some getting used to. However, it has numerous health benefits which make it worthwhile.

Here are some ideas for using fenugreek seeds:

Add one teaspoon of roasted, whole seeds into breads or puddings to take advantage of the sweet flavor and increase the fiber content of your dish.

The seeds can also be steeped and made into a tea (our Ayurvedic drinks incorporate fenugreek).

Make a simple marinade with turmeric, curry powder, and garam masala in olive oil and add fenugreek seeds for seasoning meats or vegetables.

Grind the roasted seeds into a fine powder. This can be done in an herb grinder or with a mortar and pestle. Having the powder will carry the flavor further through the dish in a way that seeds can't, and is recommended if using in sauces.

Use the powder to create Indian-themed spice blends or add straight into a curry sauce. Fenugreek is a strong herb and when combined with other spices, half of a teaspoon will be plenty. If it is used as the sole spice, go up to one teaspoon, but add the extra half teaspoon slowly and taste often so you don't overpower the dish.

Try it out in different ways. The bottom line is, it is quite versatile and can be incorporated into your diet in a variety of ways -- as long as it gets into your body, that is all that matters!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fenugreek Health Benefits

Ever heard about fenugreek?

Fenugreek seeds are small, slightly irregular shaped, yellow-beige in color, and have a strong, bitter taste. The pungent taste makes fenugreek well suited to its traditional in curries and other spice mixes. Fenugreek has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine.

Fenugreek traditionally has been used to treat arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, improve digestion, maintain a healthy metabolism, and to reduce menstrual pain. Recent studies have shown that Fenugreek may help lower blood glucose and cholestrol levels, and may be an effective treatment for both type 1 and 2 diabetes. Fenugreek is also being studied for its cardiovascular benefits.

Fenugreek seeds have been found to contain protein, vitamin C, niacin, potassium, and diosgenin (which is a compound that has properties similar to estrogen). Other active constituents in fenugreek are alkaloids, lysine and L-tryptophan, as well as steroidal saponins.

Fenugreek is often available in health food stores, and in Indian/Pakistani grocery stores.

It is one of the herbs incorporated in our Ayurvedic beverages. Next week -- how to use fenugreek at home.