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Fenugreek vs Fennel - Health impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Fenugreek
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Fennel

Introduction

The main goal of this article is to compare two herbs; fenugreek and fennel. We will discuss their nutritional profiles and the impact on human health. Fenugreek and fennel are different in appearance and taste. The fenugreek seed is a legume, while fennel seeds come from the fennel plant.

Varieties

Fenugreek is also known as methi, a culinary herb, used for the flavor. It belongs to the Fabaceae family and is cultivated worldwide. Fenugreek is native to the Mediterranean region and Asia. The taste is bitter when eaten raw, and sweet and flavorful when it is cooked. Fennel is a flowering plant, belonging to the Apiaceae family. It is also native to the Mediterranean region but cultivates in many parts of the world. Raw fennel has a mild licorice flavor, but when it is cooked, the taste becomes more delicate [1] [2].

Uses

Fenugreek is mostly used as an ingredient in Indian cuisine. In Indian subcontinent usually uses yellow or amber-colored fenugreek seeds. It is used in vegetable dishes, dal, pickles, and spice mixes. Florence fennel is one of the main herbs that is used in absinthe. The bulb and fruits of the fennel are used in salads, garnishes, or as flavor sauces.

Nutrition

You can find various charts and infographics on the bottom of our page that visually show the nutritional profile of fennel and fenugreek.

Micronutrients

Generally, fenugreek is richer in micronutrients than fennel. It contains more fats, carbs, protein, and fiber. Moreover, fenugreek contains less sugar than fennel. On the other hand, fennel has less saturated fat. Both contain no cholesterol [3].

Calories

Fenugreek has more calories than fennel. Its calories amount is 10 times higher. Fenugreek has 323 calories per 100 g, whereas fennel has 31 calories per 100 g.

Minerals

Overall, fenugreek is richer in minerals, than fennel. It contains 13 times more iron, 3 times more calcium, and 10 times more magnesium. The levels of copper, zinc, and phosphorus are also higher in fenugreek. Nonetheless, the fennel contains less sodium [3] [4].

Potassium

Potassium is an important mineral, which helps muscles work and lowers the risk of kidney stones. Our body cannot produce potassium; it comes from the food we eat. In this case, fenugreek has a higher potassium amount. It contains 770 mg per 100 g, whereas fennel has 414 mg per 100 g [3] [4].

Vitamins

The vitamin content of fenugreek is higher than that of fennel. This herb contains 30 times more Vitamin B1, 10 times more Vitamin B2, and 11 times more Vitamin B6 than fennel. The amount of Vitamin B3 and Folate is also higher. On the other hand, fennel contains more Vitamin C and Vitamin A. The amount of this Vitamin C is 3 times higher in fennel. Both nuts contain no Vitamin K and Vitamin D [3] [4].

Glycemic Index

The glycemic index is a value assigned to foods based on how those foods cause increases in blood glucose levels. The difference between glycemic indexes of these herbs is huge. The estimated glycemic index of fenugreek is 0, whereas the glycemic index of fennel is about 45.

Health Benefits

Diabetes

Fenugreek has properties that may affect both types 1 and 2 diabetes; moreover, it may increase general carb tolerance [5]. According to one study, people who took 100 grams of fenugreek within 10 days, experienced better blood sugar levels [6]. These benefits are connected to the high fiber level of fenugreek, especially strong effects seen when fenugreek was used in whole powder or seeds. Nevertheless, studies show that this herb has a role in improving insulin function [7].

Cancer

Fennel has strong antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A that may help protect cells against damage from free radicals. Besides, fennel contains folate that can play a role in DNA synthesis and repair, which helps prevent cancer cells from formatting [8]. According to studies, fennel contains limonene, which may help reduce the risk of oxidative stress and has been shown to protect rat cells from damage caused by certain chronic diseases [9]. 

Weight Loss

Dietary fiber is an essential factor in weight management, which helps people feel full longer. Besides, fenugreek contains vitamin B-6, which plays an important role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. Overall, fenugreek contains more calories than fennel and has more fats and carbs. Fennel is more acceptable in low calories, fats, or carbs diets. However, people usually use these herbs in very small quantities, so calories will not matter so much [10].   

Cardiovascular Health

Phytonutrient content in fennel and fenugreek, such as fiber, folate, Vitamin B6 can support heart health. According to one study, people who took 4069 mg of potassium daily had a 49.8 percent lower risk of heart disease, while those who consumed 1793 mg potassium had a higher percent [11]. These herbs also contain nutrients like magnesium, and calcium, which play an important role in keeping your heart healthy. In another study, fiber has been associated with heart disease reduction. Daily 7 grams of fiber intake decreased the risk by 9% [12]. 

Hormones levels

One of the main reasons men use fenugreek is that this herb may boost testosterone. It has beneficial effects, such as increasing libido. According to one study, 30 men took 600 mg of fenugreek extract. Results show that most participants reported increased strength and improved sexual function [13]. On the other hand, fennel seeds are a good source of phytoestrogens, which may help with hormonal balance in women. Using fennel tea daily basis can reduce hormonal issue risks, such as polycystic ovaries and hyperthyroidism [14]. 

Inflammation

According to the mice study, fenugreek extract has anti-inflammation effects. These effects are connected to the high level of antioxidants in fenugreek, such as flavonoids. However, more research is needed in humans [15]. Fennel has a very important nutrient, which is called choline. This nutrient is similar to Vitamin B, and can help with sleep, muscle movement, and reduce chronic inflammation [16].

Bone health

The vitamin and mineral content in fenugreek is important in building and maintaining bone structure. According to studies, food that contains high levels of magnesium may help in strengthening bones. Besides, iron and zinc are crucial for the production and maturation of collagen. Fenugreek is a good source of these minerals, which means it prevents bone‐related disorders such as osteoporosis [17]. 

Downsides and Risks

Both herbs are safe for health if consumed in fewer doses. However, side effects of fenugreek include diarrhea and indigestion. The side effects of fennel may include sun sensitivity and a mild increase in menstrual flow [18] [19].

Allergy

Fenugreek allergy occurs mainly due to a primary allergy to peanuts. The symptoms usually include swelling in the throat and mouth, difficulty breathing, and severe asthma. People who have an allergy to peach, celery, or carrot may have an allergy to fennel. The symptoms include vomiting, hives, and rash [18] [19]. 

Summary

Fenugreek contains more vitamins, minerals, protein, fewer sugars than fennel. On the other hand, fennel has lower sodium, saturated fat, and is cheaper. Fenugreek contains 13 times more iron and 30 times more Vitamin B1 than fennel.

References 

  1. http://www.isss.ind.in/userfiles/file/2019%20new/Untitled-3.pdf
  2. http://inconnate.com/Download/Fenugreek/document3.pdf
  3. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X15002107
  4. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/18313545.pdf
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/3286242/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/2194788/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19857068/
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6160559/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28260017/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19353539/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21403995/
  12. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3898422/
  13.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21312304/
  14. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5909942/
  15. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19051589/
  16. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31368565/
  17. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25010626/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23210484/ 
  19.  https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/9087156/
Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Profession: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: April 6, 2021

Infographic

Fenugreek vs Fennel infographic
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Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
1
Fennel
Contains more Iron +4493.2%
Contains more Calcium +259.2%
Contains more Potassium +86%
Contains more Magnesium +1023.5%
Contains more Copper +1581.8%
Contains more Zinc +1150%
Contains more Phosphorus +492%
Contains less Sodium -22.4%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 1258% 53% 68% 137% 370% 69% 127% 9%
Iron Calcium Potassium Magnesium Copper Zinc Phosphorus Sodium 28% 15% 37% 13% 22% 6% 22% 7%
Contains more Iron +4493.2%
Contains more Calcium +259.2%
Contains more Potassium +86%
Contains more Magnesium +1023.5%
Contains more Copper +1581.8%
Contains more Zinc +1150%
Contains more Phosphorus +492%
Contains less Sodium -22.4%

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" chart below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food
:
5
Fennel
Contains more Vitamin B1 +3120%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +1043.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +156.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +1176.6%
Contains more Folate +111.1%
Contains more Vitamin C +300%
Contains more Vitamin A +1505%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 10% 4% 0% 0% 81% 85% 31% 0% 139% 0% 0% 43%
Vitamin C Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Vitamin B12 Vitamin K Folate 40% 58% 12% 0% 3% 8% 12% 14% 11% 0% 157% 21%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +3120%
Contains more Vitamin B2 +1043.8%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +156.3%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +1176.6%
Contains more Folate +111.1%
Contains more Vitamin C +300%
Contains more Vitamin A +1505%

Vitamin and Mineral Summary Scores

The summary score is calculated by summing up the daily values contained in 300 grams of the product. Obviously the more the food fulfills human daily needs, the more the summary score is.
Vitamin Summary Score
33
Fenugreek
28
Fennel
Mineral Summary Score
261
Fenugreek
18
Fennel

Macronutrients Comparison

Macronutrient comparison charts compare the amount of protein, total fats, and total carbohydrates in 300 grams of the food. The displayed values show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of food.
Protein
138%
Fenugreek
7%
Fennel
Carbohydrates
58%
Fenugreek
7%
Fennel
Fats
30%
Fenugreek
1%
Fennel

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the most right column. It shows the amounts side by side, making it easier to realize the amount of difference.
Fenugreek Fennel
Lower in Sugar ok
Lower in glycemic index ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in price ok
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Fenugreek Fennel
Low Calories diet ok
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low glycemic index diet ok

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Comparison summary

Which food is lower in Sugar?
Fenugreek
Fenugreek is lower in Sugar (difference - 3.93g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Fenugreek
Fenugreek is lower in glycemic index (difference - 45)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Fenugreek
Fenugreek is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sodium?
Fennel
Fennel contains less Sodium (difference - 15mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Fennel
Fennel is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 1.37g)
Which food is cheaper?
Fennel
Fennel is cheaper (difference - $1.4)
Which food contains less Cholesterol?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Cholesterol (0 mg)
Which food is richer in vitamins?
?
It cannot be stated which food is richer in vitamins. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information. See the charts below for detailed information.

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Fenugreek Fennel Opinion
Calories 323 31 Fenugreek
Protein 23 1.24 Fenugreek
Fats 6.41 0.2 Fenugreek
Vitamin C 3 12 Fennel
Carbs 58.35 7.3 Fenugreek
Cholesterol 0 0
Vitamin D 0 0
Iron 33.53 0.73 Fenugreek
Calcium 176 49 Fenugreek
Potassium 770 414 Fenugreek
Magnesium 191 17 Fenugreek
Sugar 3.93 Fenugreek
Fiber 24.6 3.1 Fenugreek
Copper 1.11 0.066 Fenugreek
Zinc 2.5 0.2 Fenugreek
Starch
Phosphorus 296 50 Fenugreek
Sodium 67 52 Fennel
Vitamin A 60 963 Fennel
Vitamin E 0.58 Fennel
Vitamin D 0 0
Vitamin B1 0.322 0.01 Fenugreek
Vitamin B2 0.366 0.032 Fenugreek
Vitamin B3 1.64 0.64 Fenugreek
Vitamin B5 0.232 Fennel
Vitamin B6 0.6 0.047 Fenugreek
Vitamin B12 0 0
Vitamin K 62.8 Fennel
Folate 57 27 Fenugreek
Trans Fat 0 0
Saturated Fat 1.46 0.09 Fennel
Monounsaturated Fat 0.068 Fennel
Polyunsaturated fat 0.169 Fennel
Tryptophan 0.391 Fenugreek
Threonine 0.898 Fenugreek
Isoleucine 1.241 Fenugreek
Leucine 1.757 Fenugreek
Lysine 1.684 Fenugreek
Methionine 0.338 Fenugreek
Phenylalanine 1.089 Fenugreek
Valine 1.102 Fenugreek
Histidine 0.668 Fenugreek
Fructose

References

The source of all the nutrient values on the page (excluding the main article the sources for which are presented separately if present) is the USDA's FoodCentral. The exact links to the foods presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Fenugreek - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171324/nutrients
  2. Fennel - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169385/nutrients

All the Daily Values are presented for males aged 31-50, for 2000 calorie diets.

Data provided by FoodStruct.com should be considered and used as information only. Please consult your physician before beginning any diet.