Food listicles are always popular with foodies and dieters who are on the lookout for superfoods that can help raise their game. However, as you’ve probably noticed, most of these lists are dominated by foods that are unfamiliar or non-native to India, such as broccoli, kale, blueberries, and avocados, among others. The good news is that you don’t have to shell out on exotic fruits and veggies to reap health benefits. Regional produce can be just as helpful, if you know what to look for. Methi or fenugreek is perhaps one of the best Indian superfoods that have long been a part of traditional Indian diets and Ayurvedic medicine. To understand why many dietitians regard fenugreek as a local superfood, it helps to look at some of its unique health benefits.
Health Benefits of Methi – India’s Superfood
- Promotes Weight Loss: Methi may have a role to play in India’s fight against obesity because of the herb’s high fibre content. This leads to increased feelings of fullness, making it easier to avoid overeating. This is not based on conjecture, but was also demonstrated in a Korean study, which found that individuals who consumed Methi or Methi tea before meals were less likely to overeat.
- Eases Menstrual Cramps: Traditionally, both fenugreek seeds and tea have been used to provide relief from menstrual cramps. As every woman is unique, the results may not always be uniform, but this can benefit many women. In fact, a study that appeared in the Journal of Reproduction & Infertility found that fenugreek supplementation could reduce menstrual or period pain and also reduce the duration of such painful symptoms.
- Improves Breast Milk Production: It isn’t uncommon for young mothers to have problems producing adequate milk for nursing, which can pose a problem because of the importance of breastmilk for newborn and childhood development. Methi is a safe and natural alternative to medications that are prescribed to increase milk production with studies showing that simply drinking the herbal tea prepared from Methi seeds helped increase milk production and aided baby weight gain.
- Aids Blood Sugar Management: Methi has long been used in Ayurveda as a remedy for diabetes and there is growing evidence to support such benefits. It is now known that its regular consumption can increase carb tolerance in both type-1 and type-2 diabetes patients. One study found that diabetes patients experience a 13.4% reduction in blood glucose levels within just 4 hours of consuming Methi. Consistent consumption provides greater benefits and these are linked to improved insulin function, which is possibly connected to the fibre content in Methi seeds and powder.
- Protects Against Heart Disease: It should come as no surprise that Methi offers significant protection against heart disease, as do most superfoods. This is because regular consumption of Methi can help with the management of both blood pressure and cholesterol levels, important parameters affecting heart health. Additionally, evidence shows that Methi lowers cholesterol and triglyceride levels, perhaps because of the high fibre content of 48% in Methi seeds.
Although these are some of the most notable health benefits of Methi that help to support its place as a superfood, this list is by no means comprehensive. Methi consumption also offers other health benefits, from improving testosterone levels in men to treating heartburn and reducing inflammation in the body. With more ongoing research, we can only expect Methi to take on greater importance in diets as a superfood or functional food. So, instead of looking for exotic or imported superfoods, do yourself a favour and try Methi instead. You will also be helping the environment and local farmers by opting for regional produce, rather than imported foods.