Naturally manage your blood cholesterol with fenugreek seeds

Having hyperlipidemia, or abnormally high cholesterol levels, can raise the risk of stroke and heart disease. These are the leading causes of death in the U.S. Apparently, some people rely on drug medications to manage their cholesterol levels because they believe these can help. In reality, there are many safer and more effective natural medicines for cholesterol management.

One of these natural medicines is fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seeds. A study published in the Journal of Dietary Supplements revealed that fenugreek seeds powder has a hypolipidemic effect, which means that it can be used to manage cholesterol levels.

Fenugreek has been used in alternative and Chinese medicine as a treatment for skin problems and other diseases for thousands of years. In more recent years, it has become a common household spice and a thickening agent. This herb is also used in various Indian and Asian cooking for its nutritional profile and slightly sweet, nutty taste.

For the study, researchers from Rabindranath Tagore Medical College and C.U. Shah Medical College in India evaluated the effect of fenugreek seeds powder on hyperlipidemia in an animal model. They fed 20 rabbits with pure cholesterol for eight weeks to cause hyperlipidemia.

Then, they divided the subjects into two groups: a control group and a treatment group. The control group received a normal diet with two milliliters (ml) normal saline, while the treatment group received 500 milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) body weight of fenugreek seeds powder every day four weeks.

The researchers measured the subjects’ lipid profile and weight at the start, the eighth week, and 12th week of the study. They compared the lipid profiles at the beginning of the study with the outcomes after cholesterol feeding. Cholesterol feeding caused a significant increase in body weight and lipid profile and a significant decline in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol in both groups.

The supplementation of fenugreek seeds powder for four weeks led to significant reductions in the serum total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, and the atherogenic index, as well as an increase in the HDL cholesterol. These results indicated that fenugreek seeds powder has a hypolipidemic effect.

With these findings, the researchers concluded that fenugreek seeds powder can be used to manage cholesterol levels.

Other natural ways to manage your cholesterol

You can manage your cholesterol without using drug medications by making healthy lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Following a heart-healthy diet: Make small changes to your diet, such as reducing saturated fats, eliminating trans fats, eating foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, increasing soluble fiber intake, and including whey protein. Some cholesterol-lowering foods you can add to your diet are avocados, dark chocolate and cocoa, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, legumes, tea, vegetables, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel, nuts like almonds and walnuts, and whole grains, such as oats and barley. (Related: High cholesterol levels easily managed with these five nutritious foods.)
  • Being more physically active: Exercising can help increase HDL cholesterol. The recommended amount of exercise a person should do is at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five times weekly or 20 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity thrice a week.
  • Maintaining a healthy weight: Being overweight or obese contributes to high cholesterol. You can prevent weight gain or shed off some extra pounds by eating healthily and being more active.
  • Quitting smoking: Cigarette smoking is bad for the heart, so quitting it will improve your blood pressure, heart rate, blood circulation, blood function, and HDL cholesterol level.
  • Limiting alcohol consumption: Moderate intake of alcohol has been associated with higher HDL cholesterol levels and excessive consumption can result in serious health problems, such as high blood pressure, heart failure, and strokes.

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