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11 Reasons To Eat Natto (Japanese Soybeans)

11 Reasons To Eat Natto (Japanese Soybeans)

Never heard of natto? Don’t worry, it hasn’t taken off in America the way sushi or sake have! Even so, this fermented soybean dish, traditionally eaten as a breakfast food in Japan for over 1,000 years, has a lot of health benefits to offer. Here are a few of those benefits.

1. You Get A Ton Of Protein

A single serving of natto will provide you with 15 mg of high-quality protein. This makes it a great choice if you follow a vegan diet, since protein can be harder to come by when it comes solely from plant-based sources.

2. You Will Load Up On Vitamin K

Vitamin K is an important nutrient, but there are few natural sources of it — and natto is one of the best. One of the most important functions of vitamin K is that it reduces the chances of abnormal blood clots which can lead to serious events like heart attacks and strokes.

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3. You Will Fill Up On A Probiotic-Rich Food

Many people have a growing interest in fermented foods because they are a rich and natural source of probiotics — the healthy bacteria that lives in your gut and helps not only to improve your digestion, but also to strengthen your immune system, making it easier to fight off illness and disease.

4. You Can Reduce Inflammation

Inflammation is a big problem for many Americans. It can increase the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Natto has been shown to help decrease inflammation and strengthen the immune system, making it a great choice for people with autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis.

5. You Can Eat It Even If You Are Sensitive To Soy

Some people love soy but find that it is hard on their stomachs. These people should definitely try out natto. This is because the fermentation process has helped to break down those hard-to-digest proteins and this makes it a great choice for people who are sensitive to other forms of soy.

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6. You Will Have Stronger Bones

Natto is a rich source of a specific form of vitamin K called K2. Vitamin K2 is especially important for women who want to keep their bones strong and healthy, and it has been shown to reduce post-menopausal bone loss by a whopping 80%. This is because vitamin K2 makes it easier for calcium to move into the bones.

7. You Will Have A Healthier Heart

Natto can help your heart in many ways. The vitamin K2, which moves calcium into the bones, also moves it out of the heart. Compounds in natto have also been shown to help lower blood pressure and prevent abnormal clotting of the blood.

8. You Will Also Get A Ton Of Calcium And Iron

Calcium and iron are arguably two of the most important minerals for your health: calcium helps your bones and teeth stay healthy and strong, while iron goes into making the hemoglobin in the red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. For vegans, this is another reason to load up on the natto — calcium and iron can be difficult to get from an entirely plant-based diet.

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9. You Can Eat It On A Gluten-Free Diet

If you are sensitive or allergic to gluten, relax! This soy product is naturally free of gluten and is a great addition to the diet if you have either of these conditions.

10. You Will Load Up On Fiber

Dietary fiber is incredibly important for your health: it helps to improve your digestive system and avoid problems like constipation. A high-fiber diet has also been associated with better heart health and a reduced risk of colon cancer.

11. You Can Make a Ton of Dishes From It!

Whether its bruschetta, veggie burgers, California rolls, or sandwiches, there are an amazing variety of dishes you can make from this unusual food. Some of these recipes are traditional and some have been adapted for Western tastes — but they all taste great!

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So, now that you know about all the amazing health benefits of natto, get out to your local health food or Asian food store and try some today. It truly is one of the healthiest foods you can be enjoying right now.

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Brian Wu

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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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