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Fenugreek is a herb that is native to Asia and the Mediterranean region. Fenugreek seeds are used for cooking and medicinal purposes. They have a strong flavour and when consumed in raw form they taste bitter. But they offer various health benefits that people eat them. Fenugreek seeds are consumed to treat digestive and respiratory issues and to strengthen the digestive system. These seeds are also known to treat menstrual problems and induce labour. But can you consume fenugreek seeds during pregnancy?
Benefits of Consuming Fenugreek Seeds During Pregnancy
Fenugreek is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and it offers essential minerals and vitamins that are required during pregnancy. Here are some of the benefits of consuming fenugreek seeds during pregnancy.
- Consuming fenugreek seeds during pregnancy acts as a natural combatant for gestational diabetes.
- Breast enlargement is a common occurrence during pregnancy that causes breast tenderness and can be painful. However, consuming fenugreek seeds can help alleviate pain. Soak a few seeds overnight in water, strain the liquid in the morning and drink.
- Fenugreek has been shown to relieve the pain associated with labour and it also helps lessen the duration of the contractions.
- Consuming fenugreek during pregnancy can also help stabilise sugar levels.
- Fenugreek is a natural fortifier for the immune system as well as a system cleanser. Eating fenugreek can help combat heart disease, lung disorder, influenza, and various allergies.
How Much Fenugreek Seeds Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
There are numerous ways in which fenugreek can help your body when you are pregnant, but you must include them in your diet in small quantities. Fenugreek seeds, when consumed in moderation can boost your immune system greatly. It can help prevent allergies and keep you healthy. It is also a great ingredient to help boost your metabolic rate. Here is how you can include them in your diet.
You can soak a teaspoon of the seeds in a glass of water overnight, then strain and drink the water in the morning. Alternatively, you can incorporate the same amount in your meals. Another option is to swallow the seeds with water as is. The effect of the seeds will be slower in this case. You must also remember that you can use fenugreek leaves in your diet. A fistful of clean leaves a day is the daily recommended amount you can consume. However, it is recommended that fenugreek seeds and leaves should be consumed in small quantities.
Tips to Include Fenugreek in Your Pregnancy Diet
Here are some ways in which you can include fenugreek or fenugreek seeds in your pregnancy diet.
- While preparing food, particularly Indian food, be sure to add half a teaspoon of this spice in the tadka. This way your food becomes more flavourful while also giving you the benefits.
- You can make curry with fenugreek leaves or methi. However, don’t make the food spicy. You can add some jaggery to tone down the bitterness.
- Use the leaves along with spinach or lettuce to make a serving of salad every day. This will keep your stomach light and refreshed.
- Soak a handful of fenugreek seeds in some water overnight, swallow the seeds, and drink the water for a hydrating and nutritionally rich start to the day.
- Blend a handful of strawberries, chia seeds, honey, yoghurt, and fenugreek seeds for a power smoothie to help keep you energized throughout the day.
- Soak the seeds in water overnight and use the water as a base for a soup the next day. Powder the soaked seeds and the powder to the broth, add veggies, meat, and seasoning and let it simmer. This can be a light dinner with an extremely high nutritional value.
- Powder some fenugreek seeds and add the powder to a glass of watermelon juice. Squeeze some lime into it to make a mocktail that is tasty and energizing.
- Mix flax seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, and turmeric in a glass of warm milk and drink. This can provide relief from a sore throat and cold.
- Grate some ginger and garlic, mix it with a couple of teaspoons of water, put it on a simmer and mix till it reaches a paste-like consistency, add fenugreek seeds, chives, rosemary and thyme to create a unique barbeque marinade for meat or fish.
Side Effects of Consuming Fenugreek Seeds During Pregnancy
While consuming fenugreek can be beneficial for your health during pregnancy, it can pose certain risks to your health too. Some of the side effects that may arise on the consumption of fenugreek during pregnancy are stated below.
- Fenugreek seeds are known to induce contractions, hence they can be consumed during labour. But you must avoid eating them before the 37th week as it could result in premature labour.
- Consuming fenugreek seeds can cause bloating, gas, diarrhoea, and nausea.
- Some people are naturally allergic to fenugreek. If you are one of them then you might experience reactions like swelling, nasal congestion, and wheezing.
- Consumption of fenugreek seeds in excess amounts can lead to birth defects in the baby.
- Consuming fenugreek seeds just before labour may cause the baby to have unusual body odour. However, this odour does not have any long-term effects on the baby’s health.
Eating fenugreek seeds during pregnancy can be beneficial for your health but it can even lead to certain complications, especially if you eat them before the 37th week of your pregnancy. Consuming the seeds or leaves in small quantities can strengthen your immune system and help prevent allergies, but you should consult your doctor before adding fenugreek seeds or leaves to your diet. If your doctor gives a go-ahead, you can add it to your diet but you must watch out for any signs of allergy. In case of an allergic reaction, contact your doctor right away. Consult a dietician for a better idea of how much fenugreek you may require on a regular basis and what nutritional requirements your body has in particular.