Fenugreek Vs Fennel: Which is better?


Both herbs fenugreek and fennel are commonly used in cooking as pungent agents. They are rich in plant nutrients and have been found to have many medicinal properties. But only a very few people know about their potential benefits. If we compare fenugreek vs fennel, we find several similarities as well as differences. Each one is better in certain situations than the other. Wanna know more about these two herbs? Continue reading till the end.

In this article, we’ll be comparing fenugreek vs fennel mainly on the basis of their nutritional value and potential benefits. But before we get into the difference between fenugreek and fennel, it’s worth knowing the basics of these herbs a little bit more. So, let’s dig a little deeper.

What is fenugreek?

Fenugreek is a small annual plant of the Fabaceae family related to peas, legumes, and soy. The plant is scientifically known as Trigonella foenum-graecum. It is endemic to the Mediterranean, Asia, and South Europe. The plant bears white flowers and yellowish seeds. The seeds are angular in shape and hard. For centuries, various parts of the plant have been used in medicine and cooking.

In the Indian native language Hindi, fenugreek is often termed as methi. It goes by many other names as well such as Chandrika, Medhika, Greek Clover, Bird’s Foot, Alholva, and Fenogreco just to name a few. For its distinct nutritional profile, the plant has been highly valued in Indian traditional medicine Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).

The shoot of the plant including fresh leaves and stems is eaten as vegetables. The hard angular seeds, fresh or dried, are used in cooking as a famous flavoring agent and in medicine to manage and prevent a number of health conditions.

What is fennel?

Fennel is a medicinal plant that is part of the carrot and parsley family. The plant is botanically known as Foeniculum vulgare. It goes by many other names including Florence Fennel and Finocchio as well as others.

Fennel seeds have been used in traditional cuisine for centuries. Leaves and stems are also eaten as vegetables. The seed of the plant has a long history of medicinal uses as well, especially in traditional and folk medicines. It is a common ingredient in managing digestive-related issues. It tastes like anise or licorice.

Fenugreek vs fennel: nutritional value

Fenugreek or methi is densely packed with essential nutrients and plant chemicals, many of which are pharmacologically active. Some of the common nutritional components may include, but aren’t limited to:

  • Hydrocarbons
  • Carbohydrates
  • Lipids
  • Amino acids
  • Vitamin A
  • Thiamine or vitamin B1
  • Riboflavin or vitamin B2
  • Niacin or vitamin B3
  • Pyridoxine or vitamin B6
  • Biotin or vitamin B7
  • Folic acid or vitamin B9
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Iron
  • Potassium
  • Calcium
  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Sodium
  • Copper
  • Alkaloids
  • Saponins
  • Flavonoids
  • Plant steroids
  • Polyphenols

Fenugreek and the nutritional components it contains have several medicinal activities that can help human health in many different ways. When it comes to plant sources, fenugreek is considered one of the most powerful antioxidants.

On the other hand, fennel is also loaded with plant nutrients. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), fennel contains a significant amount of:

  • Fat
  • Dietary fiber
  • Carbohydrate
  • Protein
  • Calcium
  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Copper
  • Zinc
  • Phosphorus
  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B3 or niacin
  • Vitamin B6 or pyridoxine
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Selenium
  • Manganese
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Choline
  • Beta-carotene
  • Lutein
  • Zeaxanthin

Fennel and the phytonutrients it contains are responsible for its various potential health benefits. Let’s compare fenugreek vs fennel in terms of their potential benefits:

Fenugreek vs fennel: potential benefits

Fenugreek has been shown to have many medicinal properties. Some of the most common of them may include anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypolipidemic, anti-diarrheal and anti-diabetic just to name a few.

Fenugreek benefits:

  • Fenugreek may increase milk production and milk flow in breastfeeding moms
  • It may help lower bad cholesterol levels
  • It may help in blood sugar management
  • It aids in digestion and helps manage heartburn or hyperacidity
  • It may aid in natural weight loss
  • It may help lower inflammation
  • It may help alleviate menstrual cramps
  • It may help ease and induce childbirth
  • It may help improve hair health
  • It may help manage and prevent various types of skin conditions

On the other hand, fennel is very low in calories but rich in essential nutrients which are linked to many potential health benefits. Some effects are similar to fenugreek but each has its own mechanism of action in the body.

Fennel benefits:

  • Fennel and the nutrients it contains such as calcium and phosphate may help improve bone health
  • It may help regulate blood pressure naturally
  • It may improve heart health
  • It may help boost immune response
  • It may help increase metabolism
  • It may help improve bowel movement regularity
  • It may increase the feeling of satiety and in turn, may aid in weight loss
  • It may help improve the female reproductive cycle
  • It may help reduce postmenstrual symptoms in menopausal women

Final words

So, fenugreek vs fennel - which is better? - And the answer is - it depends. Both herbs have many medicinal properties and potential health benefits. It depends on the personal health status and needs which one would work wonders. Consider working with a licensed natural health provider to determine which one is more beneficial for your specific health needs.

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