Nepal | January 16, 2021

Fabulous health food: Fenugreek and flaxseed

Dr Aruna Uprety
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Studies have shown that flaxseed is also helpful to reduce bad cholesterol as flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber. Nutritionists have suggested that when combined with fluid, fiber from flaxseed helps to reduce the risk of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases

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Many of us do not have the idea that food that we have in our kitchen has medicinal value.

If we will know that food items that are in the kitchen are not only good for taste but also give us health; maybe we would have used them more and would have got the value for money.

My morning starts with two spoonfuls of flaxseed and one spoonful of sprouted fenugreek and I know that those foods give me energy, minerals, fiber and iron that keep me healthy.

I remember my grandmother used to use rice with fenugreek and chilli and that was a perfect snack in the daytime She used to make sour potato (achar) with flaxseed and we used to lick our plates.

I also remember my grandmother also used to cook fenugreek rice (methi jaulo) if someone in our family suffered from diarrhea and pain in the abdomen. Little did we know that those foods also nourished our body and mind; and those foods were made with a great amount of love .

Fenugreek seeds are high in soluble fiber that helps in slowing down digestion and absorption of carbohydrates that is effective to reduce sugar among the diabetes patients.

In our cultural practice, grandmothers used to make fenugreek pudding with milk (mehti khir) for lactating mother as it increases milk the flow in new mothers.

Fenugreek is also good for adolescent girls as it also contains iron. Girls who have heavy bleeding may suffer from iron deficiency, if they use sprouted or soaked fenugreek that will be good for their health.

In South India after the first menstruation girls are given fenugreek laddu (sweets made of fenugreek seed and sugar) for a whole month as fenugreek has some special properties which help to reduce symptoms associated with menstruation, for example pain and cramps.

Taking fenugreek with lemon also assists for better absorption of iron.

It has been noted that fenugreek also eases some symptoms associated with menopause like hot flashes (sudden feeling of being very hot which sometimes can be very difficult to face) and regular consumption may help to reduce hot flashes.

Green leaves of fenugreek are tasty and beneficial for health and help in the process of digestion. Some people who do not like the taste of green leaves can use dry leaves by using it in soup or with lentils.

Some people have also been using fenugreek tea, boiling the seeds for a few minutes and   then using the boiled water with a little sugar /honey and lemon. It helps when someone is suffering from common cold.

Now we know that flaxseed is a very good source of anticancer medicine and studies have shown that the substances that flaxseed contains help in both the prevention and treatment of breast and colon cancer, informs Dr. Christiane Northrup, a gynecologist who has written many books on female health.

A few days ago I met a Shanti from Kailai who was complaining of dizziness and weakness and her hemoglobin level was low and she was worried that maybe she had some internal problem that was the reason for her weakness.

I told her to consume sprouted fenugreek every morning as well as to have flaxseed two spoonfuls every day in any form. After two weeks she informed me she felt a little better and informed that she started to eat not only sprouted fenugreek but also sprouted moong, soya, beans etc.

In short, Shanti started to get the much needed materials, calcium, iron and protein from her food and started feeling better.

Many of us start to think of taking medicine (paying a lot of money of course ) when we feel weak and lethargic without knowing that all those medicines are with us. Studies have shown that flaxseed is also helpful to reduce bad cholesterol as flaxseed is an excellent source of fiber.

Nutritionists have suggested that when combined with fluid, fiber from flaxseed helps to reduce the risk of contracting diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

It is known that flaxseed is a very good source of omega-3 fats which are essential for the health of each and every cell in our body, including the cells in the human brain and heart. Only a few of us have an idea that deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids

can result in fatigue, dry skin, cracked nails and poor immunity as well as joint pain.

Though fish oil, egg yolk, salmon are also very good sources of omega-3 fatty acids but to buy those foods requires more money than the flaxseed.

If the flaxseed is freshly ground it is the best source of omega-3 fatty acid. But one has to understand that flaxseed oil should not be boiled, and it should be kept refrigerated or it will turn rancid.

Maybe this is the reason that old people in the Tarai region are not very keen to use flaxseed oil.

Flaxseed is also useful for women of menopause age as it may lessen hot flashes from which many women may suffer.

I have been asked by many women how to consume flaxseed   and my suggestion would be that it can be taken with yogurt, soup or can be sprinkled on any food or salad and should be chewed well.

This is helpful for pregnant women and lactating mothers as it has calcium as well.

A version of this article appears in print on June 13, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.

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