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Fenugreek vs. Fennel seeds — Health Impact and Nutrition Comparison

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Article author photo Elen Khachatrian by Elen Khachatrian | Last updated on April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan Article author photo Ani Harutyunyan
Fenugreek
vs
Fennel seeds

Summary

Fennel seeds contain more vitamins, minerals, fats, and sugars than fenugreek seeds. They also contain more calories and fiber. On the other hand, fenugreek seeds have lower sodium

Fennel seeds are usually greenish, while fenugreek seeds are usually amber-colored. The first ones are sweeter, unlike more bitter fenugreek seeds. Both are used in small quantities. 

Introduction

The main goal of this article is to compare two types of seeds: fenugreek and fennel seeds. We will discuss their nutritional profiles and their impact on human health. 

Nutrition

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

Consider that fennel and fenugreek seeds are usually consumed in smaller serving sizes (5.8g (1 tbsp) for fennel seeds and 11.1g (1 tbsp) for fenugreek seeds).

Macronutrients

Generally, fenugreek seeds are richer in macronutrients than fennel seeds. It contains more carbs and protein. Moreover, fenugreek contains less sugar than fennel. Both contain no cholesterol (1). Fennel seeds are more than two times higher in fats. Fenugreek's fat content is 100% saturated fats. Check the macronutrient chart to visualize the distribution of different nutrients. 

Macronutrient Comparison

Macronutrient breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains more Protein +45.6%
Contains more Carbs +11.6%
Contains more Fats +132%
Contains more Other +142.1%
Equal in Water - 8.81
23% 6% 58% 9% 3%
Protein: 23 g
Fats: 6.41 g
Carbs: 58.35 g
Water: 8.84 g
Other: 3.4 g
16% 15% 52% 9% 8%
Protein: 15.8 g
Fats: 14.87 g
Carbs: 52.29 g
Water: 8.81 g
Other: 8.23 g
Contains more Protein +45.6%
Contains more Carbs +11.6%
Contains more Fats +132%
Contains more Other +142.1%
Equal in Water - 8.81
 

Fiber

Fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds are excellent sources of fiber. 100g serving of fennel seeds contains 39.8g of fiber and the same amount of fennel seeds - 24.6g. Thus, fennel seeds are richer in fiber content too. 

However, the fiber amount is negligible considering their largest actual serving sizes (5.8g for fennel seeds and 11.1g for fenugreek seeds). 

Fat Type Comparison

Fat type breakdown side-by-side comparison
Contains less Saturated Fat -67.1%
100%
Saturated Fat: 1.46 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 0 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 0 g
4% 82% 14%
Saturated Fat: 0.48 g
Monounsaturated Fat: 9.91 g
Polyunsaturated fat: 1.69 g
Contains less Saturated Fat -67.1%

Calories

Fennel seeds have more calories than fenugreek seeds. Fenugreek seeds have 323 calories per 100 g, whereas fennel seeds have 345 calories per 100 g.

Minerals

Fennel seeds contain more calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, and manganese

The levels of iron are considerably higher in fenugreek. Moreover, the fenugreek contains less sodium (1) (2).

Mineral Comparison

Mineral comparison score is based on the number of minerals by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
Contains more Iron +80.9%
Contains less Sodium -23.9%
Contains more Calcium +579.5%
Contains more Magnesium +101.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +64.5%
Contains more Potassium +120%
Contains more Zinc +48%
Contains more Manganese +432%
Equal in Copper - 1.067
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 53% 1258% 137% 127% 68% 9% 69% 370% 161% 35%
Calcium Iron Magnesium Phosphorus Potassium Sodium Zinc Copper Manganese Selenium 359% 696% 275% 209% 150% 12% 101% 356% 853% 0%
Contains more Iron +80.9%
Contains less Sodium -23.9%
Contains more Calcium +579.5%
Contains more Magnesium +101.6%
Contains more Phosphorus +64.5%
Contains more Potassium +120%
Contains more Zinc +48%
Contains more Manganese +432%
Equal in Copper - 1.067

Potassium

Potassium is an essential mineral that helps muscles work and lowers the risk of kidney stones. Our body cannot produce potassium; it comes from our food. 

Fennel seeds have a higher potassium amount. It contains 1694 mg per 100 g, whereas fenugreek seeds have 770 mg per 100 g (1)(2).

Vitamins

The vitamin content of fennel seeds is higher than that of fenugreek seeds. They contain more vitamins A, C, B1, and B3. On the other hand, fenugreek seeds contain more amounts of vitamin B6 (1)(2).

Vitamin Comparison

Vitamin comparison score is based on the number of vitamins by which one or the other food is richer. The "coverage" charts below show how much of the daily needs can be covered by 300 grams of the food.
:
Contains more Vitamin B6 +27.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +125%
Contains more Vitamin C +600%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +268.9%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.353
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 4% 0% 0% 10% 81% 85% 31% 0% 139% 43% 0% 0% 0%
Vitamin A Vitamin E Vitamin D Vitamin C Vitamin B1 Vitamin B2 Vitamin B3 Vitamin B5 Vitamin B6 Folate Vitamin B12 Choline Vitamin K 9% 0% 0% 70% 102% 82% 114% 0% 109% 0% 0% 0% 0%
Contains more Vitamin B6 +27.7%
Contains more Vitamin A +125%
Contains more Vitamin C +600%
Contains more Vitamin B1 +26.7%
Contains more Vitamin B3 +268.9%
Equal in Vitamin B2 - 0.353

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 the glycemic indexes of these seeds is significant. The estimated glycemic index of fenugreek seeds is 0, whereas the glycemic index of fennel seeds is nearly 16.

Health Benefits

Breastfeeding

Fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds have significant galactogenic properties. This means they promote milk production in breastfeeding women's organisms.  

Studies (18) (19) show that fenugreek seeds increase milk production and help babies gain weight. Thus, they may be a natural supplement for increasing milk amounts. Fennel seeds have similar properties (20). However, you must consult your doctor before using these seeds as a supplement during breastfeeding. 

Diabetes

Fenugreek has properties that may affect both types 1 and 2 diabetes; moreover, it may increase general carb tolerance (3). According to one study, people who took 100 grams of fenugreek within ten days experienced better blood sugar levels (4). These benefits are connected to the high fiber level of fenugreek, which is a powerful effect seen when fenugreek is used in whole powder or seeds. Nevertheless, studies show that this herb has a role in improving insulin function (5).

Cancer

Fennel has potent antioxidants, such as Vitamin C and Vitamin A, that may help protect cells against damage from free radicals. Besides, fennel seeds contain folate that can play a role in DNA synthesis and repair, which helps prevent cancer cells from forming (6). 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 (7).

Weight Loss

Dietary fiber is essential in weight management, as it helps people feel full longer. Besides, fenugreek contains vitamin B6, which is essential in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. However, people usually use these seeds in minimal quantities, so calories will not matter (8).

Cardiovascular Health

Section reviewed by cardiologist Astghik Grigoryan Article author photo Astghik Grigoryan

Both fenugreek and fennel seeds have been studied for their potential cardiovascular health benefits, although they have different compositions and mechanisms of action.

Fenugreek seeds contain soluble fiber, which has been shown to help reduce total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) levels. High levels of LDL cholesterol are associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular diseases (9).

While research specifically on fennel seeds' effects on cholesterol is limited, some animal studies suggest that fennel may help reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels, similar to fenugreek (10).

Fenugreek seeds have been researched for their potential to enhance blood sugar control in people with diabetes, which can help prevent complications like cardiovascular disease (9).

Fennel seeds and fenugreek have been studied for their potential to lower blood pressure, which could help maintain cardiovascular health. Additionally, they are rich in antioxidants like flavonoids and phenolic compounds, which may reduce oxidative stress and inflammation, potentially lowering cardiovascular risk (9).

In conclusion, both fenugreek and fennel seeds offer potential cardiovascular health benefits, but fenugreek seeds, with their more extensive research backing, may have a slightly stronger impact on cholesterol and blood sugar regulation. However, incorporating both into a balanced diet may offer synergistic benefits for overall cardiovascular health. 

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 (11). On the other hand, fennel seeds are a good source of phytoestrogens, which may help with hormonal balance in women. Fennel tea daily can reduce hormonal issues and risks, such as polycystic ovaries and hyperthyroidism (12).

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 (13). Fennel has an essential nutrient, which is called choline. This nutrient is similar to Vitamin B and can help sleep, muscle movement and reduce chronic inflammation (14).

Bone Health

The vitamin and mineral content in fenugreek is essential in building and maintaining bone structure. According to studies, food containing high levels of magnesium may help strengthen bones. Besides, iron and zinc are crucial for the production and maturation of collagen. Fenugreek is a good source of these minerals, preventing bone‐related disorders such as osteoporosis (15).

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 (16) (17).

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 (16) (17).

Article author photo Elen Khachatrian
Education: Nutrition & Microbiology at YSU
Last updated: April 18, 2024
Medically reviewed by Ani Harutyunyan

Infographic

Fenugreek vs Fennel seeds infographic
Infographic link

Comparison summary table

Pay attention to the rightmost column. It displays the amounts side by side, giving a clearer understanding of the difference.
Fenugreek Fennel seeds
Lower in Sodium ok
Lower in Saturated Fat ok
Lower in Glycemic Index ok
Lower in price ok
Rich in minerals ok
Lower in Sugar Equal
Lower in Cholesterol Equal
Rich in vitamins Equal

All nutrients comparison - raw data values

Nutrient Fenugreek Fennel seeds Opinion
Net carbs 33.75g 12.49g Fenugreek
Protein 23g 15.8g Fenugreek
Fats 6.41g 14.87g Fennel seeds
Carbs 58.35g 52.29g Fenugreek
Calories 323kcal 345kcal Fennel seeds
Fiber 24.6g 39.8g Fennel seeds
Calcium 176mg 1196mg Fennel seeds
Iron 33.53mg 18.54mg Fenugreek
Magnesium 191mg 385mg Fennel seeds
Phosphorus 296mg 487mg Fennel seeds
Potassium 770mg 1694mg Fennel seeds
Sodium 67mg 88mg Fenugreek
Zinc 2.5mg 3.7mg Fennel seeds
Copper 1.11mg 1.067mg Fenugreek
Manganese 1.228mg 6.533mg Fennel seeds
Selenium 6.3µg Fenugreek
Vitamin A 60IU 135IU Fennel seeds
Vitamin A RAE 3µg 7µg Fennel seeds
Vitamin C 3mg 21mg Fennel seeds
Vitamin B1 0.322mg 0.408mg Fennel seeds
Vitamin B2 0.366mg 0.353mg Fenugreek
Vitamin B3 1.64mg 6.05mg Fennel seeds
Vitamin B6 0.6mg 0.47mg Fenugreek
Folate 57µg Fenugreek
Tryptophan 0.391mg 0.253mg Fenugreek
Threonine 0.898mg 0.602mg Fenugreek
Isoleucine 1.241mg 0.695mg Fenugreek
Leucine 1.757mg 0.996mg Fenugreek
Lysine 1.684mg 0.758mg Fenugreek
Methionine 0.338mg 0.301mg Fenugreek
Phenylalanine 1.089mg 0.647mg Fenugreek
Valine 1.102mg 0.915mg Fenugreek
Histidine 0.668mg 0.331mg Fenugreek
Saturated Fat 1.46g 0.48g Fennel seeds
Monounsaturated Fat 9.91g Fennel seeds
Polyunsaturated fat 1.69g Fennel seeds

Which food is preferable for your diet?

ok
ok
is better in case of low diet
Fenugreek Fennel seeds
Low Fats diet ok
Low Carbs diet ok
Low Calories diet ok
Low Glycemic Index diet ok

People also compare

Vitamins & Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score

The summary scores indicate the extent to which this food can fulfill your daily vitamin and mineral requirements if you consume 3 servings, consisting of 100 grams of each (an approximation of 3 serving sizes).
Vitamins Daily Need Coverage Score
30%
Fenugreek
37%
Fennel seeds
Minerals Daily Need Coverage Score
228%
Fenugreek
301%
Fennel seeds

Comparison summary

Which food contains less Sodium?
Fenugreek
Fenugreek contains less Sodium (difference - 21mg)
Which food is lower in Saturated Fat?
Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds is lower in Saturated Fat (difference - 0.98g)
Which food is lower in glycemic index?
Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds is lower in glycemic index (difference - 0)
Which food is cheaper?
Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds is cheaper (difference - $1.6)
Which food is richer in minerals?
Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds is relatively richer in minerals
Which food contains less Sugar?
?
The foods are relatively equal in Sugar ( g)
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.

References

All the values for which the sources are not specified explicitly are taken from FDA’s Food Central. The exact link to the food presented on this page can be found below.

  1. Fenugreek - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171324/nutrients
  2. Fennel seeds - https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/171323/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.