We all know that trying to keep our weight in check can be the most challenging thing to achieve when all that surrounds us are temptations that will give us the polar opposite of what we are looking for!
Whereas specific foods are another kettle of fish altogether, the feelings of hunger and appetite seem to catch us out the most.
It is true to say that diets don’t work, but a healthy lifestyle and everything that brings with it may get us better weight loss results. While we advocate the latter approach entirely in every way, there may be that little niggle inside you that tells you that you may need to eat when you actually don’t.
An uncontrolled appetite can be the biggest pitfall in anyone’s efforts to kill their hunger and suppress their appetite.
What is An Appetite Suppressant?
Something that suppresses the appetite is a compound, often a pharmaceutical-grade chemical compound or a naturopathic option that will work on receptors in the brain that may increase catecholamine and serotonin levels within the brain, which will work towards switching off the desire to eat that is referred to as hunger or appetite.
Suppose you are searching for a naturopathic solution to aid in killing your appetite and assist you with maintaining a healthy weight. In that case, there’s an ingredient you’ll see appear time after time in that category, and that is the herb called Fenugreek.
Origins of Fenugreek
Fenugreek is pronounced “feh-nyuh-greek” and may also be called Greek hay, which is a herb that resembles a clover.
It is native to the Mediterranean regions, southern Europe, and western Asia.
The seeds inside are the most utilized part, which actually smells and tastes like maple syrup!
The herb’s dry, ripe seeds contain a wealth of vitamins such as:
- Vitamins A
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E
As well as a vast host of minerals, such as:
Fenugreek – Medicinal Benefits
Fenugreek seeds are widely used in cooking around the world and can also be used as a medicine.
Tradition has seen that Fenugreek has been used for many years in Ayurvedic medicine, which is an ancient Indian approach to natural and holistic medicine, and has been used to:
- Treat diabetes and insulin resistance
- Increase milk supply for breastfeeding mothers.
- Relief from menstrual cramps.
- Promoting weight loss.
- Reduce migraines and headaches
- Lower blood pressure
Although some of these claims have been backed by scientific findings in more recent times, some of them still have question marks over the effectiveness in certain areas of traditional medicine.
How Can Fenugreek Help Reduce My Appetite?
Fenugreek is an excellent source of soluble fiber, and scientific research on fiber has evidence to show that it may:
- Help to keep you satiated for longer, thus reducing the compulsion to eat when it’s not needed
- Lower cholesterol levels, which may help to combat cravings when the levels are under control
- Regulate blood sugar levels, which can impact when your body tells you you need something sweet
Of course, there are potential weight-loss advantages; if you are staying satiated longer and there is no urge to eat or feel hungry for long periods, of course, there may be some positive weight outcomes.
This may not be the closing case for everybody, and understanding how to react to appetite means understanding your body’s signs and signals to hunger versus thirst.
So understanding your body’s signals and triggers to hunger is of paramount importance too!
For example, a small study that comprised of 18 people who were classified as clinically obese found categorically that those study subjects who had 8 grams of fenugreek fiber at breakfast time reported that they felt more full-up versus those who weren’t given the fenugreek fiber.
The very same participants of the controlled study were observed eating a smaller amount of lunch after having the supplement accompaniment at breakfast time.
How Should Fenugreek be taken?
There are many ways to use Fenugreek in everyday life, and whichever way you choose will predominantly rest on how you prefer to take it.
As mentioned before, the seeds you can find on the inside of the herb taste like maple syrup, so they are not the harsh or astringent taste you may expect from herb seeds, so it is far more palatable than other herbs.
Some ways you can use Fenugreek are:
- Adding it to a spice blend
- Fenugreek water-soak one or two tablespoons of the fenugreek seeds in still water overnight and drink in the morning.
- Fenugreek Tea- The same process as above but heating the fenugreek water slowly to a soft boil, then consume
- Adding it to seasonings as a seasoning
- Adding it to soups, stews, and sauces for a sweet flavor.
Is Fenugreek safe to consume?
Fenugreek is considered safe when consumed in the moderate amounts found in most consumable foods.
Consumption of Fenugreek can cause some side effects, and these can be felt from moderate to extreme, depending on how your body copes with the new addition to your diet.
Fenugreek has been deemed unsafe in high doses for use while pregnant and has been linked to an increased rate of congenital disabilities.
There is also caution over whether this herb is safe in women who are breastfeeding.
Of course, some people may feel no side effects at all, but the things to look out for are:
- Gastrointestinal side effects such as stomach cramps, diarrhea, and sickness.
- Dizziness, light headiness, and headaches, the NCCIH says.
- Liver complaints, so beware of off-center back pain, which may indicate liver toxicity.
How to prepare Fenugreek
Fenugreek is incredibly versatile in its uses, and as mentioned, you can use it in cooking and preparing teas and tinctures with ripe seeds, so here are a few ways you can incorporate it into your day!
Fenugreek tea is the most straightforward tea to make and can be achieved in advance or right on cue! You can drink it up to 3 times a day too!
- Boil clean water in a pan until it comes to a simmer, and add 1 or 2 tablespoons of fenugreek seeds to the water.
- Allow to simmer and steep for up to 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
- While still hot, add some loose tea leaves to the water and allow them to cool in the pan.
The tea can then be thoroughly strained and drunk warm or indeed cooled in the refrigerator and served as iced tea.
Fenugreek as a spice rub
Fenugreek has a distinctive and sweet taste, so it is complementary in spice rubs, particularly Indian-inspired rubs that are perfect with chunky root veg that you can roast, or white fish and chicken.
Fenugreek in its natural dried-seed form has a bitter edge, so toasting the seeds first will work wonders! Then mix two tablespoons of Fenugreek with:
- Cumin seeds
- Coriander seeds
- Smoked Paprika
- Touch of lemon juice
And whizz up in a smooth paste, which you can then place on your veggies or protein for a genuinely Indian-inspired superfood spice mix.
Fenugreek tincture is a concentrated and potent preservative of fenugreek seeds. Although trickier to make, these can be given in drops to provide all the best benefits of the herb.
- How to make a tincture
Tinctures are really simple to make, and the most significant element you need when making them is a lot of patience!
You can make tinctures with any plant material that has therapeutic benefits.
You will require a few simple pieces of equipment to make a tincture, including:
- A large glass jar with a lid
- Parchment or plastic wrap
- At least 80 proof alcohol (Vodka, grain alcohol, or rum)
- Your Desired Herbs
Alcohol is used as the solvent that will extract the medicinal properties from the herbs, but you can also use grain alcohol (190 proof ) to dissolve plant gums and resins and gives a more intense tincture, but may be dehydrative on your herbs.
Here are a few rules to stick to when making your tincture:
- For Fresh herbs: Fill the jar to two-thirds full only.
- For Dried herbs: Fill the jar to half full only.
- For Fresh and dried roots and berries: Fill the jar only up to a third to half full only.
- Be sure not to squash down your herbs tightly.
- Chop or grind your herbs finely and pop in the jar.
- Fill your jar according to your recipe with the desired ratio of herbs, fill up the rest of the way with alcohol to completely cover the herbs.
- Leave an inch or so of space above your herbs to ensure the herbs stay submerged.
- Screw on the lid, using parchment or plastic wrap over the neck first to protect a metal lid from rusting
- Place the sealed jar within a dark, dry, and cool place to begin the extraction process.
- Give the jar a shake every two days and ensure herbs are still fully submerged. If not, top up with the same alcohol to prevent molding.
- Let the mixture extract for about eight weeks.
- When extracted, place a small funnel into a dropper bottle equipped with a fine-mesh strainer and pour the tincture mixture into the bottle to strain out the herbs.
We can see here that Fenugreek can be a naturopathic way of killing your appetite!
Apart from it being full of antioxidants, it is also full of soluble fiber, which is renowned for keeping you feeling fuller for longer and may assist in helping to increase the chemicals within the brain that switch off the hunger and appetite signals.
Fenugreek is incredibly versatile when using for cooking or consumption and holds its own against intense Indian-inspired flavors such as coriander and cumin.
With it being so versatile, preparing Fenugreek can be a lot of fun! You can create a spice blend for vegetables and fish, hot or cold Fenugreek teas, and make tinctures for those times you need a helping hand with suppressing your appetite!
You may also like: