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Why Should You Choose Fenugreek over Other Seeds?

Why Should You Choose Fenugreek over Other Seeds?

Fenugreek is a herb you might not have heard of if you don’t do a lot of cooking or aren’t from the parts of the world where it is commonly used (or a breastfeeding mom). But you’ve tasted fenugreek if you’ve ever had artificial maple syrup, and you’ve probably had it in your favorite Chinese, Indian or Mediterranean food.

What is Fenugreek?

The plant fenugreek is an annual from the family Fabacaea (which includes peas and legumes). The plant has clusters of three oval leaves.

The leaves can be used as an herb, and it is eaten like a vegetable or in salads in India and elsewhere. The seeds are also used as a spice, and many of the medicinal preparations using fenugreek involve the seeds.

    What Does it Taste Like?

    As you might imagine from its common use, fenugreek tastes a little like maple syrup. It is a sweet-tasting herb that combines well with the spicier flavors enjoyed in Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines. The seeds have a bit of a bitter taste that is made milder through cooking.

    Fenugreek is often one of the spices in Chinese five spice powder (along with anise or corriander, Szechuan or black peppercorns, cinnamon and cloves) and is used in curry powder as well.

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    Nutrition Profile

    • Fiber: 3 grams
    • Protein: 3 grams
    • Carbs: 6 grams
    • Fat: 1 gram
    • Iron: 20% of your daily requirements
    • Manganese: 7% of your daily requirements
    • Magnesium: 5% of your daily requirements

    Health Benefits of Fenugreek

    1. It increases breastmilk supply

    If you’re a mom you might have heard that one of the health benefits of fenugreek is boosting milk production. Many breastfeeding moms drink tea or take supplements that include fenugreek as a galactagogue (that’s a fancy word for something that increases milk supply).

    Some studies have been done on the use of fenugreek among new moms, but results have been mixed. Talk to your lactation consultant about dosing if you want to try it. Doses of more than 3,500 mg a day are not uncommon; you’ll know you’re getting enough when your urine starts to smell like maple syrup. You may see a result within a couple of days to a couple of weeks.

    2. It reduces inflammation

    But there are a lot of other benefits of consuming this herb regularly. Fenugreek is said to be antimicrobial and antioxidant, and it can reduce inflammation in the body. Inflammation can lead to all sorts of health problems, from depression to heart disease and arthritis.

    3. It helps with your digestive system as well

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    It is considered an appetite stimulant and can be taken for gastrointestinal problems such as an upset stomach, constipation and gastritis. It has also been used to treat diabetes because it seems to be able to slow absorption of sugar in the stomach and boost insulin production. It might also be helpful for people with high cholesterol.

    4. It serves as an aid for both men and women’s reproductive system

    Women might also see a benefit from taking the herb when they suffer from painful menstruations or polycystic ovary syndrome. Men could use it to treat erectile dysfunction and male infertility, among many other uses.

      Dangers of Using Fenugreek

      Fenugreek sprouts were determined to be the cause of an E.coli outbreak in Germany and France in 2011. The herb and its seeds are generally safe, but they could interfere with blood-clotting drugs.

      Because fenugreek is part of the legume family, people who have peanut allergies or other legume allergies may have a reaction to this herb.

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      In large doses it can also cause diarrhea and stomach upset. Always check with a doctor before consuming an herb or seed medicinally, especially if you are pregnant or nursing.

      Fenugreek Recipes

      If you’d like to experiment with fenugreek in cooking, there are lots of ways to try it. Don’t be intimidated by the long ingredients lists on some of these recipes – spice blends often have a lot of components but are easy to put together.

      1. Methi Chicken Recipe

        If you want to try a dish using fresh fenugreek leaves, try this methi murgh recipe from the Daily Meal. Check Asian markets for the fresh leaves.

        2. Wild Mushroom Biryani

          The recipe from the Daily Meal calls for dried fenugreek leaves.

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          3. Makhani Chicken

            Indian butter chicken is another classic dish that uses dried leaves, as in this recipe from All Recipes.

            4. Mothers’ Milk Tea

              Help a new mom by brewing up some mothers’ milk tea , which includes fenugreek seeds as a main ingredient. Get the recipe from the Kitchn.

              5. Spiced Cauliflower with Toasted Coconut and Red Lentils

                A great side dish using fenugreek seeds is the spiced cauliflower with toasted coconut and red lentils from the BBC. This recipe has a lot of parts, but you could just make the cauliflower for a taste of fenugreek without all the work.

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                Sarah White

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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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