If you haven't heard of Fenugreek, don't worry, you're not alone. Fenugreek has been used in traditional medicine for decades and has many surprising health benefits, especially for athletes.
What Is Fenugreek?
Fenugreek is a leguminous annual plant that originates from India and North Africa. Yes, it is very exotic! Fenugreek has been claimed to have many associated health benefits and has also been extensively used in traditional medicine.
From the pea family (Fabaceae) and also related to Greek Hay (Trigonella foenum-graecum), Fenugreek can stretch around 2-3 feet in length, each containing seed pods consisting of around 20 yellowish brown tinged Fenugreek seeds.
How Is Fenugreek Used?
Traditionally Fenugreek has been used for medicinal purposes in the form of a powder extracted from the seeds. Fenugreek can also be used in the form of a paste, which is applied to the skin and used in healing purposes as an anti-inflammatory. However Fenugreek has also been linked with increasing strength, and body composition as well having associated effects with the regulation of insulin and hyperglycemia in diabetic patients.
With that said, let’s talk about what three Fenugreek benefits that can have an impact on performance when included in our diet.
Fenugreek Nutrition Facts - Fenugreek seed
Amount Per 1 tbsp (11.1 g)
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0.7 g
Saturated fat 0.2 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 7 mg
Potassium 85 mg
Total Carbohydrate 6 g
Dietary fiber 2.7 g
Protein 2.6 g
What Are The Benefits Of Fenugreek?
1. Fenugreek Can Help Increase Strength and Body Composition
Yes, we hear this all the time. But, what you don’t get every time, are the actual clinical studies with supporting evidence to back it up. In a study published in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 49 male participants matched according to body weight, were used in a double-blind study, where the controlled group of participants was administered 500 mg of a placebo, and the others were given 500 mg of Fenugreek. Subjects participated in a supervised 4-day resistance training regimen split into two upper and lower body workouts per week, for a total of 8 weeks. The subjects also underwent hydrodensiometery body composition, 1-RM strength, muscle endurance, and anaerobic capacity testing at the 0, 4 and 8-week mark. In conclusion, the group which had been administered the Fenugreek experienced a statistically significant increase in both upper body and lower body strength, as well as reduced body fat, and improved total body composition as compared to the placebo group in the double-blind controlled trial [R]
According to this study, Fenugreek benefits not only strength but also total body composition with an increase in free testosterone. Since Fenugreek is hard to get into your diet through natural whole food sources, we recommend supplementation with Swolverine's ZMT, which contains 500mg of Fenugreek per serving.
RECOMMENDED PRODUCT ZMT (30 Servings)
2. Fenugreek Can Help Prevent Type II Diabetes
How many of you know someone who’s contracted Type II Diabetes? It’s much more prevalent than some of us know, and chances are most of us have a friend or family member with Type I or adult-onset Type II Diabetes. Again, let’s turn to the clinical data, to report the facts.
In a 3-year randomized, controlled, parallel study for efficacy published in the Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, 66 subjects aged 30-70 years old, with a criterion of predetermined prediabetes, were administered 5 grams of Fenugreek powder twice a day before meals and were monitored every 3 months for the 3 year period.
By the end of the intervention period, cumulative incidence rates of diabetes reduced significantly in the Fenugreek group. Subsequently, the 10 grams of administered Fenugreek in prediabetic subjects was associated with a lower conversion to diabetes with no adverse effects and decreased insulin resistance. Pretty powerful stuff [R]
We’ve learned two interesting facts thus far. Besides the conventional use as a spice and being used as a great addition to the traditional Indian dish of Chicken Masala, Fenugreek has proven health benefits in terms of enhancing body composition and being a preventive medicine to decrease insulin resistance. The last power packed benefit that this little yellow seed has is a doozie!
3. Fenugreek Can Help Reduce Inflammation and Help Recovery
Amongst those of us that train every day and give our blood sweat and tears to defining our lives and bodies through the art of competition and arduous training rituals, recovery is a very sore subject. Pun absolutely intended! All kidding aside, however, recovery is perhaps the most important aspect of training, due to the fact that if our bodies undergo a significant amount of stress, we need just as much if not more time, to rejuvenate from the added and administered stress. Therefore, any benefit of recovery is a good one.
RELATED ARTICLE 11 Ways To Reduce Post-Workout Inflammation
With that said, the last and most pertinent and proven benefit of adding Fenugreek to your diet, is recovery. The Indian Journal Of Pharmacology published a study to find the anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic activities of Fenugreek extract from seeds. The Fenugreek powder was extracted and administered to lab rats with extracted ether and was analyzed by gas-liquid chromatography. The subsequent findings were that the petroleum ether extract of Fenugreek seeds had a significant anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic response due to the increased presence of linolenic and linoleic acids [R]
Along with post-workout inflammation and recovery, more severe conditions such as Osteoarthritis or rheumatoid is a result of trauma to the joints, infection and are considered autoimmune diseases. Fenugreek has been shown to stall these autoimmune conditions, by mimicking the form of estrogen, which has been shown to inhibit arthritic symptoms.
Benefits Of Fenugreek: Takeaway
In the end, what key points can we gather from the spice, herb, and annual plant Fenugreek? From the clinical research and studies, Fenugreek can greatly benefit athletic performance through increasing strength, improving total body composition, decreasing blood insulin levels, and helping with post-workout recovery by reducing inflammation. Fenugreek proves to be one powerful herb that we should all include in one form or another, whether through the food we eat or through supplementation.
Ready to add some Fenugreek to your supplement regimen?
ZMT is packed with the natural key ingredients (Zinc, Magnesium Vitamin B6, Ashwagandha, Tongkat, DIM, and Fenugreek) you need to help increase strength, elevate mood, improve vitality, to fuel your performance.
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Poole, C., Bushey, B., Foster, C., Campbell, B., Willoughby, D., Kreider, R., … Wilborn, C. (2010). The effects of a commercially available botanical supplement on strength, body composition, power output, and hormonal profiles in resistance-trained males. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 7, 34.
Gaddam, A., Galla, C., Thummisetti, S., Marikanty, R. K., Palanisamy, U. D., & Rao, P. V. (2015). Role of Fenugreek in the prevention of type 2 diabetes mellitus in prediabetes. Journal of Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, 14, 74.
Pundarikakshudu, K., Shah, D. H., Panchal, A. H., & Bhavsar, G. C. (2016). Anti-inflammatory activity of fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum Linn) seed petroleum ether extract. Indian Journal of Pharmacology, 48(4), 441–444.