By Naini Setalvad
Naini Setalvad tells us why methi seeds and leaves should be part of our regular diet
Could one ever imagine that the tiny little seed of methi also know as fenugreek, could do so much good to our health? Popularly used as a condiment in Indian cooking, it has a slightly bitter taste and is crunchy to eat. The methi seed is indispensable in the kitchen’s masala cabinet, and with good reason. Almost anything embellished with it is not just more delicious, it is more healthy. Add it to dal, to the Gujarati kadhi, to dosa and idli batter or to the Bengali panch phora and it adds an incomparable punch to the dish.
Consuming one teaspoon of methi seeds, soaked overnight in the morning is a common practice in many Indian households. Let us see why they do that.
Crucially, methi seeds are one of the best natural sources of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber is an essential component of a healthy diet. Fiber helps control cholesterol and triglyceride levels, thus promoting healthy cardiovascular health. What is amazing is that it reduces LDL (bad cholesterol), while maintaining HDL (good cholesterol). Methi fiber increases stool bulk, prevents constipation, and promotes good digestive health. It reduces the risk of chronic bowel diseases. It causes a feeling of satiety, which helps decrease appetite, and prevents binge on food. Its soluble fiber has a unique structure, which provides maximum hydration and solubility. Soluble fiber is also known to maintain blood sugar levels. The fiber, particularly from methi seeds, helps control sugar levels, in Type 2 diabetes, and a reduction in the three-month average sugar levels.
Methi seeds are delicious, and good for our taste buds as well as health. So too are methi leaves. Although bitter, they are delicious when combined with potato, dal, coconut, paneer or ground nut. They are packed with nutrients, as well as fiber. Methi leaves aid the health in a number of different ways.
Methi leaves are a cure for asthma and respiratory infections, arthritis, joint pains, and knee pains. Add this simple leafy green to your daily diet, sprout the seeds, and toss into your salads. Fenugreek naturally helps to regulate blood sugar levels, by improving glucose metabolism, and gives antioxidant protection. It also helps to boost friendly bacteria growth in the digestive system, and normalizes bowel function. As it has an anti-inflammatory effect, it is used for boils, burns, eczema, abscess, and ulceration of the skin.
Abundantly grown in Northern India during winter, methi is used around the world as a culinary spice, and its leafy green vegetable is soothing to the stomach. Fenugreek is very valuable for anemia, especially for girls during puberty, menstruation, in pregnancy >, for lactation, and for women at the time of menopause, due to its high calcium and iron content.
Munch away on methi leaves, and flavor your food with methi seeds, as both of them will take your health to the next level.
Corn and methi leaves pulao
1 1/2 cup brown rice (washed and soaked for 1/2 hour)
1 cup corn (washed and soaked for 1/2 hour)
1/2 bunch fenugreek leaves
1 onion chopped
• Saute onions in olive oil.
• Add cloves, cinnamon.
• Add fenugreek leaves and sauté.
• Add corn and rice. Sauté and cook, using double the portion of water, with salt to taste.
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