Feeling guilty about another night eating fries and a hotdog with everything? It may shock you to know that one of those condiments holds the secret to a multitude of health benefits, and yes, even the potential to lose weight. It’s the humble mustard plant.
Before you open the fridge to devour the content of that delicious American sauce, that is probably not probably going to cut the (apologies for the pun) mustard. To get the true benefits of this plant it’s best to go right to the source. The mustard plant comes from the Brassicaceae family. The Brassicaceae family also is made up of broccoli, cabbage, and brussel sprouts. Mustard plants are heavily cultivated in parts of the United States and Canada, as well as India, where mustard is a well utilized spice. Different plants produce different colors of seeds varying from yellowish white to black. The seeds are picked and dried for consumption. Mustard growing is big business, with an estimated 20,000 tons produced in the United States annually.
How can you use it to its full potential? Though the mustard seed is the main component of the mustard condiment, it’s also readily available in its original form. Mustard seeds are used heavily in Indian Cuisine. Though many think of Indian cuisine as a cream-heavy curry-based diet, there are many dishes that very low in calories. Adding mustard seeds to a broth with chicken pieces and vegetables is quick and easy way to incorporate this spice into your diet. Adding a pinch of ground mustard seeds to an omelet or frittata also delivers pleasing results.
The mustard seed, or powder, is known to ‘warm’ the eater. Such warming generally makes one sweat, which helps the body to flush out any toxins. This gives the body a better ability to concentrate on breaking down fat. Research shows that mustard contains a multitude of different minerals, omega-3, fatty acids, and selenium. Fats such as omega-3 are classified as ‘essential’ fats the body needs, as they help with cell regeneration and keeping the synapses in the brain firing. Mustard can also help break down lipid fat (the ones we want to try and get rid of) by boosting the metabolism.
According to research conducted at England’s Oxford Polytechnic Institute, having a teaspoon of mustard each day helps bolster the metabolism by up to 25%. Their scientists recommend having a teaspoon of mustard seeds, powder or even a hot mustard condiment, one hour before eating a heavy meal to help the body to more efficiently break down the nutrients and burn the lipids instead of converting and storing them into fat cells.
Mustards seeds can be ground into a paste with a little bit of oil at home. This can be used for adding to stews, curry, and roasted vegetables and meat. Adding a strong flavor to your food can eliminate the desire to mindlessly nibble on tasteless food, as the taste buds are enraged, and overall meal enjoyment is more noticeable. Soaking mustard seeds in a bottle of good quality oil will lightly flavor the oil. Using the flavored oil as a salad dressing will not only give a delicious taste and pleasant aroma, but it will also help with meal digestion. It is also approximately quarter of the calories as fat-laden condiments such as ranch dressing.
Mustard can help the body if used externally as well. Grinding mustard seeds into a carrier oil (such as rapeseed oil) can produce a relaxing massage oil. By lightly warming this oil and rubbing it on sore joints and muscles, it can help release tension. The smell that will emanate also help with mild headaches.
Mustard is so much more than just a condiment used at baseball parks and local fairs. If treated the right way it could also be the gateway to a slimmer, healthier, more relaxed you.
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