Methi, also known as fenugreek, is used in many forms, such as dried plants, fresh leaves and seeds. India is the largest producer of the methi plant. Interviewed in the Tribune of India in March 2001, Ayurvedic medicine and surgery expert Dr Ravindra Vatsyayan claimed methi to be simultaneously a vegetable, a spice and a medicine. Methi seeds, rich in micro- and macro-nutrients, may be used as part of a healthy nutritious diet, but there is no evidence to suggest they are a "magic bullet" for weight loss.
Methi has been used as a cooking spice in Europe and in curries and food condiments in India and Asia for hundreds of years. According to drugs information website, Drugs.com, methi was used to treat boils, tuberculosis and cellulitis in Indian folk medicine, and was a key ingredient in "Lydia Pinkhams Vegetable Compound," a 19th century patent medicine for dysmenorrheal and post menopausal symptoms.
Methi seeds have a distinctive bitter taste, and according to food information website, Foodreference.com, are usually roasted and ground to make them more palatable. They are popular in North African and Middle Eastern dishes, and used in bread in Ethiopia and Egypt. Methi seeds are also used in ice cream,candy, baked goods, chewing gum, and sodas. The bitter flavor of methi seeds lends them to be used as a coffee substitute.
Methi seeds are low in calories and cholesterol, and a rich source of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and potassium. One tbsp. or 11 g of methi seeds contains 3 g of protein, 6 g of carbohydrates, 3 g of dietary fiber, and 1 g of fat.
Methi seeds contain a compound called diosgenin. A study headed by T. Uemura reported in the Sept. 1, 2010 issue of the "Alternative Medicine Review" found diosgenin in methi seeds improved glucose metabolism and reduced the number of fat cells in rats. According to a report published in the "Karnataka Journal of Agricultural Science," in August 2009, scientists from the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, India, added ground methi seeds to chapati flour -- chapati is a flat bread popular in India. This increased the protein and fiber content, and decreased the sugar content and glycemic index of the bread. Foods with a low glycemic index are slowly assimilated, produce a steady flow of energy less likely to add to your fat stores.
Methi seeds may help you reduce your fat consumption. A study headed by H. Chevassus of the Centre d'investigation Clinique, Montpellier, France,reported in the "European Journal of Clinical Nutrition" in December 2009, and published in PubMed.gov, fed overweight male volunteers a fixed dose of fenugreek seed extract over a six week period. They showed a change in eating patterns and consumed less fat.