If you're looking to stop those cranky mid-day crashes and stave off diabetes at the same time, fenugreek may be for you. Fenugreek is an herb that has long been used in cooking and in traditional Asian medicine to stabilize blood sugar and fight diabetes.
How Does It Work?
Studies in animals have shown that fenugreek seed extracts can slow down the digestion of carbohydrates, preventing that muffin or piece of bread you just ate from spiking your blood sugar as quickly. It may also decrease absorption of glucose from your diet and influence the release of insulin, which is your body's natural way of lowering blood sugar.
Studies have shown that fenugreek is effective at lowering post-meal blood sugar levels. Longer-term studies suggest that regular use may also be able to reduce hemoglobin A1c, which is a reflection of overall blood sugar levels over a period of several months. Hemoglobin A1c is an important measure of whether someone has diabetes or can be used to judge how well diabetes is controlled.
How Can You Take Fenugreek?
You can buy fenugreek as whole seeds or crushed and add it to your meals as a spice. For example, you can add it to your eggs in the morning, sneak it into soups or salads or use it to spice up spaghetti and meatballs.
It has a smell reminiscent of some Indian food, and it may have a slightly bitter taste. You can usually find it in the grocery store's international section. You only need about a tablespoon a day to help make a difference.
Who Should and Shouldn't Take Fenugreek?
Nearly anyone could potentially benefit from fenugreek, especially if you're pre-diabetic or diabetic. Fenugreek is generally safe, but should be avoided by women who are pregnant unless a doctor instructs otherwise. Any side effects are usually mild and limited to gastrointestinal effects like gas and bloating. Anyone prone to low blood sugar or taking diabetes medication should use it with caution as it may drop blood sugar below target levels. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement or remedy.