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This Spice Will Be Your Best Companion In Your Weight Loss Plan

This Spice Will Be Your Best Companion In Your Weight Loss Plan

Many of you are aware that a balanced diet and exercise is the recommended method for controlling body weight. Some people may turn to herbal products to promote health, well-being and weight loss. What if I told you that there is one spice that could help speed up this process? Sounds good, yes?

What is the name of this humble spice you ask?

CUMIN

Cumin is a great addition to your meals to help promote weight loss by reducing fat cells accumulating. This leads to not only a stabilization of your weight but also weight loss.

Cumin (Cuminum cyminum) both as seeds or powder, has a nutty, peppery flavor. Cumin was once more widely used than it is today partly due to the fact that its peppery flavor made it a viable replacement for black pepper, which used to be very expensive and hard to come by (we are talking back over the centuries in this regard).

It Decreases Body Fat Percentage Significantly

According to a study done by Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences in Iran, women who added cumin into their diet had their body fat percentage decreased by more than 14% while the control group living a healthier lifestyle only had theirs decreased by around 5%.

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It Makes You Sleep Better And Hence Eat Less

When you don’t get enough sleep, you will eat more and gain weight, according to science, as it makes you feel hungrier and slows down your metabolism. Cumin would be great because it’s very useful for insomnia.

It Helps Balance Blood Sugar Levels And Hence Minimize Cravings

Cumin helps to balance blood sugar levels by increasing how sensitive cells are to both insulin and glucose, thus ensuring that your body responds well to them. By keeping your blood sugar levels in check cumin helps to minimize cravings for excessive carbohydrates as well as keeping you feeling satiated.

By consuming cumin regularly, you can balance your blood sugar, control your cravings and watch excess weight drop off.

Cumin is also rich in antioxidants and phytosterols. Phytosterols inhibit the absorption of harmful cholesterol in the digestive tract, which could be one explanation for their weight-reducing effect.

Cumin is also great for other issues that can indirectly interfere with your weight loss regime. If you suffer from digestive issues, for example, you may not be absorbing all the available nutrients in the food you eat causing you to experience cravings leading to binge eating.

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For an interesting treat that will keep your cravings at bay and incorporate healthy nuts and cumin into your diet try this Hot & Spicy Nut Snack I always have available in my pantry.

It Boost Digestion

The aroma created by cumin activates the salivary glands in your mouth, which helps get your digestive juices flowing and start the primary digestion of food.

Next, a compound called thymol, present in cumin, helps stimulates the glands that secrete acids, bile, and enzymes that are responsible for complete digestion of the food.

Cumin is also carminative. What this means for you is relief from gas troubles as well as relief from stomach aches when taken with hot water.

Interesting ways you can add cumin to your everyday diet and boost weight loss include:

1. Add ground cumin to roasted or sautéed veggies.

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2. Use it when you make hummus.

3. Make a cup of cumin tea. Simply boil the cumin seeds in water and let them steep for 10 minutes.

4. Toast cumin seeds, grind them in a coffee grinder, then sprinkle a teaspoon or so of the powder over nuts, salads or soups.

5. Use it to spice your soups, particularly lentil, or black bean soup.

6. Add it to plain brown rice to give it an exotic kick, especially if mixed with olive oil.

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7. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil or coconut oil in a pan. Add a teaspoon of cumin seeds. As soon as they begin to crackle, which will happen within seconds, tip in 1/4 tsp turmeric powder and two potatoes that have been boiled and diced. Stir well, adding sea salt to taste. When the potatoes are golden all over, take them off the heat and serve as a side with your main course. Try this at your next dinner party and it will be an instant hit!

8. Roasted cumin seeds with yogurt help constipation. A delicious meal accompaniment to aid digestion is raita (yoghurt with cucumber) drizzled with roasted cumin seeds.

If you would like to find out more ideas for weight loss check out this article.

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Last Updated on July 17, 2019

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

What happens in our heads when we set goals?

Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

The Neurology of Ownership

Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

The Upshot for Goal-Setters

So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

Reference

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