If the question, ‘is fenugreek safe while breastfeeding’ is lurking in your mind, then leaf through the following article which tries to provide an answer to the question. Read on to know the nutrition facts of fenugreek…
The herb fenugreek is consumed as a vegetable, especially in Asian countries. Fenugreek seeds are widely consumed for their typical flavor and medicinal properties. Although, the leaves and the seeds are bitter, they are used to prepare ‘tasty and spicy’ dishes. Fenugreek seeds offer special flavor and taste to pickles. They also work as natural preservatives. Pregnant and breastfeeding women need to design their diet carefully. Wrong diet can affect the health of the mother and the baby significantly. So, it is necessary for the mothers to know whether fenugreek is safe while breastfeeding.
Should a Breastfeeding Woman Consume Fenugreek?
Since fenugreek is commonly used in many dishes, it is definitely not a toxic substance. In fact, fenugreek has been a part of traditional medicine for centuries in various countries like India, Greece, China and Middle East. Some of the north African countries also use fenugreek seeds as traditional medicine. Sprouted fenugreek is added to various salads to enhance the nutritional value of the salad. Dried fenugreek leaves are used to enhance the taste and aroma of a dish. All these uses show that incorporating fenugreek in the diet is safe and beneficial. But, is fenugreek safe while breastfeeding? The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has included fenugreek in the Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) list. So it can be concluded that fenugreek is safe while breastfeeding. What are the benefits of fenugreek for breastfeeding women? Can the herb fenugreek be included in the regular diet to increase breast milk supply? Find answers to these questions and more in the following section.
Nutrition Facts of Fenugreek
The herb fenugreek and fenugreek seeds are rich in various vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients. In Ayurveda, fenugreek is considered as an important medicinal herb. Fenugreek seeds are high in carbohydrates, protein, vitamin A, various B vitamins and vitamin C. They are packed with minerals like iron, copper, potassium, selenium, zinc, magnesium and calcium. The chemical ‘Diosgenin’ obtained from the seeds is widely used as an ingredient for the production of steroids in pharmaceutical industries. They carry antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and hence act as pain relievers. The herb and the seeds are considered as good sources of dietary fiber.
Benefits of Fenugreek
Fenugreek exhibits several medicinal properties and hence is considered as healthy. Excessive weakness, digestion problems, hair loss are some of the common problems experienced by women after childbirth. Fenugreek seeds being rich in carbohydrates and B vitamins, provide energy. The fiber in fenugreek helps improve the digestive health. Various vitamins and minerals present in fenugreek promote fast recovery and prevent hair loss. Iron, copper, selenium and zinc help to improve the blood composition and strengthens the immune system of the mother. A breastfeeding mother requires strong immune system to protect her baby from diseases. The baby can be healthy if the mother enjoys optimum health.
As fenugreek seeds promote insulin secretion, a mother with diabetes is benefited by consumption of fenugreek. Taking diabetes medicines while breastfeeding can prove to be harmful for the baby. Those women who have borderline diabetes can control it with diet. Fiber from fenugreek lowers down the rate of glucose absorption in the intestines. Thus the seeds help maintain normal blood sugar levels.
Breastfeeding women are always advised to take frequent meals and include healthy foods in the diet. They need to follow a high calorie diet. Increased diet, insufficient sleep, decreased activities can lead to heartburn and acid reflux. The mucilage from fenugreek seeds helps to lower the chances of these problems. Fenugreek seed benefits also include low LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.
The most important benefit of consuming fenugreek while breastfeeding is that it helps to increase the supply of breast milk. Various studies show that milk production can be increased by over 500% by consuming fenugreek seeds. The exact cause of this effect is unknown. It is believed that the oil present in the seeds plays an important role in increasing the production of breast milk. The seeds also promote hormonal balance which is very crucial for the mother’s health.
Side Effects of Fenugreek
Although consumption of fenugreek is safe and beneficial for breastfeeding women, excessive consumption can lead to certain side effects. These days, fenugreek tablets are available in the market but women should consult their doctors for correct dosage. Usually, one can consume less than 8 grams fenugreek per day or as recommended. Excessive consumption can result in nausea, gas, diarrhea, etc. Fenugreek fiber may interfere with absorption of other routine medications. So women need to take fenugreek at least two hours before or after taking their routine medications.
Now that you know that fenugreek is safe while breastfeeding, you can enjoy it by adding it to salads, vegetables and soups. Fenugreek side effects are rare and minor, while fenugreek benefits are several and significant. Fenugreek can be consumed in various ways. Women can reap the health benefits of fenugreek through consumption of fenugreek tea, soaked fenugreek seeds, sprouted seeds, fresh leaves and stems, dried leaves, powder of leaves or seeds, decoction, etc. It can be safely concluded that fenugreek is an easily available natural alternative for medicines which offers several health benefits.