Blog Archives May, 2011

Fishy Business

When it comes to healthy eating, fish is always at the top of my list. Oily fish like two of my faves, salmon and tuna, are packed with omega-3 fatty acids—which have been known to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels and reduce coronary heart disease. Although fish-heavy diets risk mercury exposure, the FDA recommends that people consume no more than three grams of omega-3 fatty acids from food daily. And fish are a low-fat source of protein, which is essential for weight loss.

So sounds like fish are a go, right? Except for one thing: many popular fish are endangered. Vita Girl to the rescue! Read the following list for your best picks for fish to get your omega-3s.

10 endangered fish:

1. Albacore Tuna
2. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
3. Atlantic Cod
4. Atlantic Salmon
5. Chilean Sea Bass
6. Eel
7. Imported Shrimp
8. Japanese Yellowtail
9. Red Grouper
10. Orange Roughy

Swap those 10 endangered:

1. Alaskan Sablefish
2. Alaskan Wild Salmon
3. American Lobster
4. Pacific Cod
5. “Pole and Troll” Tuna
6. U.S.-farmed Barramundi
7. U.S.-farmed Shrimp
8. U.S.-farmed Tilapia
9. U.S.-Yellowtail Snapper
10. Wahoo

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Energy Zapped?

I don’t know about you, but after dragging myself to spin class or forcing myself to run as the sun comes up Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, I am always pooped come Thursday and Friday! I love working out in the morning and it is always worth it to know that I don’t have my workout looming ahead of me all day at work, but I start to lose my momentum toward the end of the week. Here are some tips for keeping your energy up throughout the week:

·         Get moving! This is a given, but the more active you are, the more energy you will have. If you sit at a desk all day like I do, try to take frequent breaks to walk around and boost your circulation. Also, make sure to sit up straight to increase your oxygen intake.

·         This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but regular workouts help keep energy high.

·        Dehydration is an instant energy-zapper and gives this Vita Girl an instant headache.

·         Try something new! New experiences give you a rush of adrenaline. Have you always wanted to try kayaking? Rent one and hit the water. I usually spin and run but when I want to mix things up I try a yoga or Pilates class.

·         Speaking of yoga, a few deep breaths can give you a boost when you’re feeling zapped and need a pick me up.

·         Make sure your blood-sugar never dips too low. I eat small meals throughout the day and always keep Vitalyte Sticks in my bag to jazz up water when I am short on time.

·          Spend time outdoors! There’s a reason you feel relaxed when at the beach or in the woods, spending time outside lowers blood pressure and reduces stress hormones.

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Top 10 Best Brain Foods. Consume and Thrive.

Captain Vitalyte here excited to report the top 10 foods proven to improve your mind and fuel your body. Which one is your favorite?

1.    Blueberries—Regular blueberry consumption improves memory function in addition to being rich in antioxidants. Research has also found that blues can reverse age related issues relating to motor function, balance and coordination.

2.    Salmon—Rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, salmon helps your brain develop tissue thereby increasing and intensifying your brain power. Further, salmon also plays a key role in fighting Alzheimer’s and other age-related cognitive disorders.

3.    Flax seeds—Flax seeds are chalk full of ALA- a healthy fat that inspires the cerebral cortex in its function. This portion of the brain is in control of processing sensory information and is obviously imperative to functioning.

4.    Coffee—Yay for caffeine! Regular coffee consumption has been shown to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and other mental disorders. Caffeine contains antioxidants and those puppies are good for you. The important thing to note is those added sugars, flavors etc are NOT part of the goodness so consume accordingly.

5.    Mixed nuts—Peanuts, walnuts, pecans, and other nuts contain properties that help with everything from fighting insomnia to promoting mental clarity and strong memory. Walnuts are rich in Omega-3 and almonds contain natural mood-enhancing neurotransmitters. Note though that they are high in calories so pay attention to portion size!

6.    Avocados—Don’t let the avocado’s fat content fool you. It’s a healthy fat that promotes blood flow, keeping your mind functioning at its peak. Avocados have also been shown to lower blood pressure.

7.    Eggs—Egg yolks are rich in choline, an essential nutrient to improving memory function and they’re super versatile. Make a hard boiled egg to add to your salad or a breakfast scramble atop a piece of whole grain toast and you’ll be thinking clearly and awake in no time!

8.    Whole grains—From oatmeal to whole grain bread, whole grains are excellent brain foods as they improve circulation and contain essential fibers, vitamins, and even some Omega-3. Also try Ezekiel bread- a sprouted grain that’s all the health rage these days.

9.    Chocolate—Dark chocolate not only tastes great , but is also antioxidant-rich, improves focus and concentration. Milk chocolate, on the other hand, improves memory and reaction time. So eat up!

10.    Broccoli—Broccoli has been shown to improve memory function as well as slow the aging process. This means a broccoli-rich diet will keep you young and sharp.

Give Meatless Monday a Try

Vita Girl here! Since it’s Monday, I thought I would make a healthy living suggestion that I have already adopted: Meatless Mondays. Relax, I’m not asking you to give up meat entirely (I am not a vegetarian myself), but cutting down on your meat consumption by just one day a week can lower the amount of sodium and saturated fat you consume—especially if you eat cold cuts.

I like a turkey sandwich as much as the next girl, but there’s no denying that processed or cured meats contain nitrates, chemical preservatives, sodium and saturated fat. I always look for organic or whole cuts of meat for my sandwiches and try to eat meat-free a few days a week. To ease yourself into eating less meat, maybe try just one day a week, like Meatless Monday!

Some of my favorite meatless lunches include a regular old PB&J on wheat bread; a healthy burrito made from grilled zucchini, black beans and low-fat cheese; and an egg white frittata with broccoli (made in the micro!). Paired with some fruit or baked pita chips and washed down with mineral water and I am completely satisfied!

Staying Germ-Free at the Gym

Vita Girl here! Today I want to address a workout tip that you might not think about: avoiding germs at the gym. I know everyone’s sweaty and avoiding germs might seem like a lost cause, but a few simple antimicrobial tools can keep you from catching a cold or another illness while working out. Follow my health advice below and your workout will be (almost) germ-free.

1. Invest in your own gym equipment. I know, that’s why you belong to a gym, right? Well, I splurged on my own yoga mat and medicine ball and have never been happier. Many newer yoga mats even boast antimicrobial technology so one quick swipe with a damp paper towel and you are good to go!

2. That goes for a gym towel, too. You gym may provide towels, but think about how many sweaty people are reaching for them! You can find towels with antimicrobial technology to cut down on surface bacteria as well.

3. How many times have you gone straight from the gym to meet a friend for coffee or run an errand? I admit that this happens to me frequently, which is why I always make sure to wear workout clothing with odor-eliminating and antimicrobial technology.

4. You wouldn’t walk around a public restroom barefoot would you? Well, the same goes for the gym. Wear flip flips when walking around the showers and locker room. I even go one step further by wearing in-studio footwear during yoga and Pilates. Bonus: they help me from slipping in Downward Dog.