Picking Out the Right Gym

gym1Gyms are popping up everywhere and it is hard to know which gym is the right one for you. There are some things to think about when you are trying to find the gym that is right for you personally.

What are your fitness goals looking like? If you are looking for a gym to start off with, then you may want to find one that has a personal trainer and nutritional on staff to help you plan out your fitness goals. The type of staff available to you in a gym can be just as useful as the equipment they provide.

Staff qualities to look for include whether they are educated properly or not. Don’t be afraid to ask if the personal trainer has a degree that you will be trusting your body too. Serious injury can come from the wrong guidance. Especially when you add equipment into the picture. Also, they can help you to select the right supplements like weight loss and amino acids.

The activities that you enjoy doing can also determine the right gym for you. If you enjoy water aerobics or swimming laps, a gym with a pool would be a better fit than the others. If you are more into walking and running at the gym, a gym that has a nice treadmill section would fit you more. It is important to look at gym reviews in these areas. If people say that a treadmill is never open or the pool locker rooms are dirty all the time, it would be a good idea to avoid those gyms.

Trusting reviews is not always a solid rock to lean on. Remember when you are looking at reviews, that most people will only take the time to write a review if something negative has taken place. It may not be a good idea to believe all the good reviews over a couple bad ones. Businesses pay people out there to do good reviews online all the time. Gyms are money making machines, just like any other business. Keep that in mind when looking around and talking with their sales people about memberships.

Membership packages can be another point to consider. Some gyms put the price of their personal trainers and use of the pools in with their membership and some sell these services as add-ons to the basic membership. Reading through the agreements carefully can help weed out the gyms that are not right for what you are needing.

The amount of money you are wanting to spend is another big topic on gyms. Some are more expensive, but the best thing to do is to take a look at the big picture. Which gyms offer the equipment that you want, the staff that your need, and the times that you need? Put that together in with the pricing of what is included and not included in your gym membership. Most gyms will offer a trial period and it is a good idea to take advantage of this to make sure you are at the right place. Most of the gyms have “Day Passes” available also. These can come in handy if you are seeing if you are really going to stick to it without to commitment before moving to the monthly membership fees.

References

Picking A Gym. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from Forbes.

Finding the Right Gym. (n.d.). Retrieved January 21, 2015, from Nerd Fitness

This entry was posted on December 28, 2014 at 9:50 am.

Spice Up Your Health: Spices And Their Health Benefits

spices1Spices are derived from dried fruits, roots, tree barks and vegetables. For centuries, spices have been used for cooking and are known to make food savory and aromatic. To increase the food’s shelf-life, some spices are used for pickling and food processing too. Lately, research has shown that spices can greatly benefit your health. Browse through these spices and know the good it can do to your body.

 Allspice
Contrary to some beliefs, allspice is not a mix of different spices but is a single spice derived from the dried unripe fruit of the Pimenta dioica tree. It has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Allspice can effectively lower the virulence of Escherichia coli which causes gastroenteritis, neonatal meningitis and urinary tract infections. Allspice can also help relieve rheumatism and arthritis and aids in digestion.

Saffron
The most expensive spice indigenous to Greece is derived from the Crocus sativus flower. It is best known as a seasoning and a coloring agent to paella, a Spanish rice dish and other international cuisines. It has antitumorigenic effects that appear to inhibit proliferation of cell growth in tumor cells. It is also rich in Vitamins A, C and folic acid and is rich in minerals like potassium, calcium and iron that is essential in the body.

 Ginger root
Ginger root is a rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale and is used for cooking mostly in Asian cuisine. Its aroma and spicy flavor are perfect for stir-fries and drink concoctions. Studies have shown that it treats nausea associated with chemotherapy, in the right amounts. It also has anticancer properties known to cause cell death in leukemia cells and oral squamous carcinoma cells. Ginger also has anti-inflammatory properties that can give relief to joint pains.

Cloves
Native to Indonesia, this spice is derived from the flower buds of the plant Syzygium aromaticum. Widely used in Indonesian and African cuisine and gives a distinct flavor to hot drinks. It has antioxidant and anticarcinogenic properties that is known to lower your risks of getting colon and liver cancers. Cloves also helps improve digestion and is high in Vitamin A and beta carotene.

Turmeric
It is a member of the ginger family and used mostly for food coloring in different cuisines. Studies have shown that turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticarcinogenic properties. It is believed to promote wound healing, improves rheumatoid arthritis, treats gastrointestinal disorders and decreases your risk of getting cancer. Turmeric might also be the answer to prevention and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

Cayenne pepper
Cayenne pepper is from the plant Capsicum annuum used to spice up and flavor a number of Mexican dishes. It is known to treat post-surgical related neuropathic pain. Also, studies have shown that cayenne pepper supresses appetite and burn calories faster than those who do not incorporate it with their meals. Some studies have also shown that topically applying cayenne pepper can effectively treat pruritic psoriasis.

Spices may be the next big thing in modern medicine. Although further studies have yet to be done to really show the efficacy of these spices, it is adamant that spices have great potential in the treatment of different diseases and lowering your risks of getting cancer. So, get your daily dose and boost your health.

This entry was posted on December 12, 2014 at 5:54 pm.

Omega- 3 Fats from Plants

omega3_plants

A vast majority assume fish and other animal foods are the only sources of omega-3, but you will be surprised to know that there are plenty of plant sources of this essential fat. Fish although rich in omega-3 fats accumulate mercury toxins and other contaminants posing a serious threat to health leading to chronic inflammation, allergies and even brain damage.

Plant sources on the contrary are safe and a better way to get plenty of omega-3 fats. Specific plant foods are predominant in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) one among the three omega-3 fats. Our body converts ALA to the other two forms EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) which requires certain biochemical pathways. Here is the list of surprisingly high doses of omega-3 fats in plant foods. You will be amazed by the many different ways you can enjoy these healthier options.

Hemp Seeds: Hemp seeds have the best ratio of omega 3 to omega-6 fats 3:1. This is the closest to the ideal ratio and is considered optimal for human health. In addition to its attractive fat profile, hemp seeds are also rich source of proteins. It provides both essential and non-essential amino-acids and due to this reason it is one of the popular plant proteins among athletes. Furthermore, they are hypo-allergenic and are easy to digest. They can be ground to seed butters to be used as spread for sandwiches or wraps and makes for a great protein powder in milk shakes / drinks.

Flax seeds: Flax seeds are fantastic egg replacements in many baking dishes and recipes. They boast a omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 3:1. To replace an egg in a recipe, add one tablespoon of ground flax seeds to 3 tablespoon of water. Flax seeds are also great source of dietary fiber and can be easily incorporated in making muffins, breads and cakes. Do remember though flax seeds need to be ground before consumption in order to be used by the body.

Chia seeds: Chia seeds give a bounty of nutrients apart from being a rich source of omega-3. The numerous nutrients and phytochemicals contribute to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. It provides a omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 3:1, with about 5 grams of fiber in a tablespoon and are particularly high in soluble fiber. Chia improves insulin sensitivity and is among the recommended food for diabetes patients.

Walnuts: Walnuts (English) provide an omega-3 to omega-6 ratio of 4:1. They are high in the anti-inflammatory ALA and are a very good source of manganese and copper. It hosts many phytonutrients like phenolic acids, ellagitannins and a variety of flavonoid compounds. Walnuts reportedly have a higher antioxidant power than other nuts. Another advantage with walnuts is that they boost your brain power. A study published in the journal Plant foods for human nutrition revealed that rats fed with walnuts for a period of 28 days showed better cognitive learning and performance.

Microalgae: The origin of the essential fats EPA and DHA in aquatic ecosystems is algae. Certain microalage produce high levels of EPA or DHA, which are consumed by fish, which accumulates in their body. Microalgae are microscopic single cell plants that are found in oceans and lakes. They are at the bottom of the food chain and they accumulate large amounts of omega-3 fats containing EPA and DHA. Fish that consume these algae, accumulate these fats in their body. Microalgae oil is also available in the market that provides high quantities of EPA and DHA.

Omega-3 from plant sources are better

 Omega-3 from plant sources are fewer in calories as compared to animal sources. Also the risk of allergies are very low and plant sources have no cholesterol unlike animal sources. Above all, omega-3 rich plant foods like flax, hemp, chia etc are heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory, boost immune health and also decrease the risk of many diseases. Do keep in mind that it is important to choose organic and GM-free plant sources of omega-3 for safety and better nutritional value. Another important point to note is that while we can convert ALA to EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) in our body, conversion to DHA (docosoahexaenoic acid) is not efficient so it is necessary to consume direct source of DHA from micro-algae based supplements. Studies show that they are safe and efficient way of supplementing with DHA.

References

  1. Doughman SD, Krupanidhi S, Sanjeevi CB. Omega-3 fatty acids for nutrition and medicine: considering microalgae oil as a vegetarian source of EPA and DHA. Curr Diabetes Rev. 2007 Aug;3(3):198-203.
  2. Willis M L et.al; Dose dependent effects of walnuts on motor and cognitive function in aged rats. British Journal of Nutrition 2009, 101, 1140 – 1144.
  3. Arterburn LM, Oken HA, Bailey Hall E, Hamersley J, Kuratko CN, Hoffman JP. Algal-oil capsules and cooked salmon: nutritionally equivalent sources of docosahexaenoic acid. J Am Diet Assoc. 2008 Jul;108(7):1204-9.
This entry was posted on April 1, 2014 at 6:39 am.