Super Food of the Week: Raspberries

Raspberries are fragrantly sweet with a subtly tart overtone. They can come in a range of colors from red-pink, to black, to purple, orange, yellow and white. Raspberries contain mineral antioxidants and vitamins such as vitamins C, B2 and B3. They are a excellent source of dietary fiber and a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. Other nutrients found in raspberries include, manganese, folate, magnesium, potassium, and copper.

Raspberries can provide antioxidant, antimicrobial, and anti-carcinogenic protection, thanks to the flavonoids found in raspberries. Raspberries also contain anthocyanins which can aid in the ability to prevent the overgrowth of certain bacterial and fungi in the body. Research suggests that raspberries have the potential to inhibit cancer cell proliferation and tumor formation in various parts of the body including the colon. For comparison, raspberries possess almost a 50% higher antioxidant content than strawberries, three times that of kiwis, and ten times the antioxidant activity of tomatoes, as concluded by researchers in the Netherlands. Raspberries promote overall optimal health as well as protection against macular degeneration

The antioxidants and omega 3 fatty acids found in raspberries can help fight signs of aging, keep your skin and hair hydrated, and protect both from damage caused by free radicals. Because they are so highly perishable, raspberries should only be purchased one or two days prior to use. Look for berries that are firm, plum, as well as deep in color. If you’re buying your berries in a prepackaged container make sure they are not packed too tightly as this may cause crushing and damage. Before storing in the fridge, remove any berries that are molded or spoiled so they cannot contaminate the others. Raspberries also freeze well and can be stored frozen for up to one year. Raspberries can be added to your favorite salad or served with low fat yogurt.


Fit Tip of the Week:
Choosing the Right Fitness Club

In recent years there has been a surge in the number of gyms all across the country. From 24 hour gyms, to community gyms, to “judgment free” gyms, and gyms for women only you can find any one of these on seemingly every corner. If you pay close enough attention you can spot sign-up specials in advertisements all around you. If you’re thinking about joining a gym or switching gyms here are some tips to help you find the right gym for you before you sign for a membership.

Location is one of the first things everyone should think about when looking for a gym. Let’s be honest if you’ve had a long day at school or work you’re not going to want to drive 20 minutes out of your way to go to the gym. I certainly wouldn’t. This just provides a hurdle in keeping a fitness routine. For any fitness routine to be successful, exercise has to be convenient. You’re more likely to use a club if it is closer to your home or workplace so your search should start close to home or work.

Classes can be another big motivator. Some people will join a gym or fitness club just to take a specific class. If there is a class you enjoy, like spinning, or kickboxing or Zumba Fitness, then make sure the club or gym offers that class. If you like group fitness in general you should look for a gym that offers a variety of class. Also make sure the time and day of your classes fit into your schedule.

Staff is another biggie. I can’t stress the importance of making sure that the staff (especially personal trainers and group fitness instructors) are CPR and AED trained. Personal trainers and group fitness instructors should be certified though a certification organization accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. These are all important for your safety as credible certifications can assure you that the instructor meets the guidelines to provide a safe and efficient workout. Also, the staff’s treatment of their members. This is something I always carefully watch when I’m looking for a gym. When you walk in the door do they greet your with a smile? Are they welcoming and willing to help you with the equipment? Or do they act as if they don’t even see you?

Checking out the hours of operation can help you decide if that gym will work for you as well. Lots of health clubs/gyms open early and stay close late. Make sure the club you’re thinking about joining is open at the time you plan to go. There is no point in having a membership to a gym that you have to rush to get to or is closed most of the time you need to go. Also check when they are the most crowded. Some people are not comfortable in crowds and others just don’t want to wait in long lines at the treadmill.

Check out the club/gym’s payment options and find one that meets your budget needs. Find out the cost of membership and what it includes. Sometimes childcare, towels, and classes costs extra. Also don’t forget to ask if there is an initiation fee and if you’re joining a club that hasn’t opened yet, make sure that any deposits or payments are held in an escrow account until the official opening. Also ask the club/gym if they offer a day pass. This way you can “try it before you buy it” by getting a feel for the club’s atmosphere and the equipment they have to offer.

Reputation is another factor to consider. Before you join (maybe even while using your day pass) talk to current members about their experiences with the club. The members will be glad to fill you in on things they like and don’t like about the facility. You can also take it a step further by contacting the Better Business Bureau or state Attorney General’s office to check if the club is a member or if any complaints have been registered against it.

Finally, pay attention to the little details. One of the very first things I look at when touring a club (after checking out the staff) is how clean the facility is. Are there sanitary wipes or sprays available to clean the equipment of bodily fluids before and after use? Are the locker rooms, showers, saunas, steam rooms, pools and hot tubs clean and how often are they cleaned? The cleanliness of a facility will help reduce the spread of viruses, parasites, bacteria and fungi. Also are there a lot of “out of order” signs on the equipment? If so this can indicate a maintenance and possibly a safety issue. Also is there orientation and instruction for new members on how to properly and safely use equipment?

Searching for a new gym can be an overwhelming process, but with a little research and patience you can find the right facility that fits well with your schedule and personality. You’ll have your own gym to call home and that you will actually enjoy going to.

Until next week…

KinkySheaPT