Wednesday, March 30, 2011
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sceery
During these cold winter months, it isn’t uncommon to find that the price of strawberries or blueberries in the store may seem a little higher, or not quite affordable with your dwindling college budget. Yet, those fruits are still important for antioxidants, getting your vitamins, and keeping your body healthy. There are several options that might work for you to avoid choosing those less nutritious foods just because they fit into the budget.
- If you can afford to buy fresh, set a grocery list. Limit yourself to one or two types of fruit for the week. You can choose different options each week to maintain variety.
- Pick fruits that you know will last. For example, a cantaloupe or melon can be cut up and stored in the refrigerator to last the whole week. Or, try a grapefruit. Eat one half for breakfast and save the other half for a day or even two days later.
- Try frozen, dried, or canned fruit. Although it may not seem as appealing as fresh fruit these options still have most of the nutrients you need and a more affordable cost. Frozen fruits can be much more affordable as well as last much longer. Recently, during a grocery store visit, strawberries were spotted between $3.99 and $4.99; a frozen bag of berries on the other hand ranges from $2.99 to $4.99 and will last in the freezer for a longer period of time. Try using frozen fruits in yogurt, cereal, or even on waffles.
- As any savvy shopper knows…look for the sales. Most produce items that are out of season will not be on sale…so try to go seasonal to keep within your budget. This website all about fruits and veggies gives a great list about which foods are in-season.
In order to stay healthy and obtain between 2-4 servings of fruit per day, keep these budget-conscious tips in mind the next time you head to the grocery store.
Monday, March 28, 2011
Let’s face it, living on your own as a college student doesn’t exactly include homemade meals hot out of the oven, and Ramen and frozen pizza ends up on the menu more often than not. But why shouldn’t we be eating as well as we might if mom had cooked us dinner at home? As adults it is about time to learn how to cook delicious and healthy meals because it is an important skill that is used through out the rest of our lives. Cooking can be easy and fun, but if you’re especially scared of the oven, signing up for a free cooking class might be a good idea. While you might not have the money, time, or utensils needed to cook an elaborate dinner, you can cook a healthy, quick and inexpensive meal! Don’t give up and tie on your apron, UNH Health Services and Dining Services is here to help!
Why not practice what is preached from March’s National Nutrition Month by signing up for UNH Health Services “Good Eats Healthy Cooking Class”. This is a free four week cooking class that meets every Wednesday beginning March 23 to April 13 from 6:00pm-8:00pm. This hands-on class held in Stillings Dining Hall is a great way to learn new cooking skills, practice what you already know, and eat a healthy, nutritious meal. You can register here at the UNH Health Services website.
Friday, March 25, 2011
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia found in people aged sixty-five and older. Today, upwards of 5.3 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s. One person is diagnosed every seventy seconds. Though many cases of Alzheimer’s are gene-related, the majority are not. Studies have recently shown dietary interventions may help protect against mental decline and potentially prevent brain-wasting diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Dietary interventions are as follows:
Dark Chocolate - Flavonoids in cocoa have been seen to increase blood flow to the brain, which may reduce the likelihood of dementia and protect against stroke.
Red Wine - Similarly to the dark chocolate, red wine is rich in flavonoids and polyphenolics, such as resveratrol, which have been seen increase blood flow to the brain and reduce the likelihood of dementia.
Clams - Elderly individuals with low levels of vitamin B12 have been seen to have a four-fold increased risk of Alzheimer’s. Low vitamin B12 levels lead to increased blood levels of homocysteine, which increases the risk of not only dementia, but heart attack as well. Clams are a fantastic source of vitamin B12, containing 98.9 mcg of vitamin B12 in 100 grams of clams, which is 1648% of the RDA.
Asparagus - Individuals with low folate intake have been linked to an increased risk of dementia. In adding asparagus to your diet, you will fulfill nearly 68% of your daily folate needs.
Wild Salmon - Individuals who consume an average of three servings of oily fish per week have been seen to have a nearly fifty percent lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Eating oily fish such as wild salmon not only increase levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but also increase vitamin D and B12 in the body, which have been linked to reduced neurodegenerative disorders.
Walnuts - A moderate, but not high intake of walnuts has been seen to improve motor and cognitive skills due to their combination of polyphenols, omega-3 fatty acids, and other bioactive substances.
Cherries - The same antioxidant compounds (anthocyanins) that give cherries their bright red color also contain anti-inflammatory properties that work like pain medications without the annoying side effects.
Turmeric - Curcumin in turmeric, which is often found in curry dishes, effectively removes plagues from the brain, which degrade brain cells and lead of Alzheimer’s.
Apples - Skins of apples are rich in quercetin, which has been found to protect the brain from damages associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Eating a diet consisting of these foods can aid in warding off Alzheimer’s and dementia. What is important to remember here, however, is to not consume high amounts of dark chocolate mixed with high fat cream, red wine in excess, or too many walnuts which may lead to other health complications. For more information on these nine brain power foods, click visit the Conscious Life website.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
You just finished an intense work out at the gym and you feel great…now what? The common thought, especially if you are exercising to stay in shape or lose weight, might involve food. That thought is one that should come after every work out as eating post work-out is an essential part of exercising. USA Today published an article focusing on the importance of protein in a post work-out snack, while focusing on Olympic winter athletes.
But the truth is, we aren’t all Olympic athletes and we do all need to eat a balanced snack or meal after exercising to increase the benefits. As Nancy Clark, a certified sports dietitian (from right around the corner in Boston) discusses in the article, protein is just as important as carbohydrates when deciding what to eat. Carbohydrates replace your glucose and energy stores, which are exhausted during exercise. Protein on the other hand, helps for recovery and to rebuild your muscles. Therefore, it’s best to find a balance between both. Clark recommends a yogurt and fruit shake in the article and some of my favorites include, peanut butter crackers, cliff bars, or trail mix. Keep in mind the sooner the snack the better for enhancing your work-out and keeping your body in top shape.
Monday, March 21, 2011
March is National Nutrition Month so I figured this week’s nutrition blog would be a great way to honor it by sharing a little about campaign. The American Diet Association (ADA) sponsored this year’s educational operation in efforts to increase informed, healthy decision-making when it comes to food choices. The theme this year is “Eat Right with Color.” What exactly does that mean? Well, you should aim to eat something healthy from each of the different colors each day. Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple - there is an abundance of healthy and colorful power foods that you can eat everyday to make your meal nutritious. Most of these colorful foods include fresh fruits and vegetables to you avoid eating processed items that add unnecessary fat and sodium into your diet.
Going through the rainbow you can get nearly all your vitamins and minerals from each of the colors. Red fruits, such as strawberries, are a great source of antioxidants and fiber, while juicy tomatoes and red bell peppers have lycopene and vitamin C respectively. Orange carrots provide vitamin A, essential for maintaining healthy teeth, bones, and eyes, and sweet potatoes are a healthy alternative to a starchy white potato. Bananas provide potassium which can help keep your muscles from cramping before or after a tough workout. Green is probably the most abundant color you can put on your plate. When dealing with salads, the darker the green, the more nutritious. Spinach has more vitamin K, calcium and iron than iceberg lettuce. Blueberries are stocked with fiber and antioxidants and taste great over yogurt mixed with other ripe fruits. Purple grapes are a fiber filled snack, while using eggplant is a healthy and hearty substitute for meat in many vegetarian recipes.
There are many more foods that fall into each color category but the goal is to try and get as many colors into your meal as possible. This ensures not only a fresh, delicious meal, but also a healthy one. You can learn more about National Nutrition Month and get great tips including recipes every day! Look at Women’s Health Magazine’s article titled 23 Ways to Eat Better for a list of the healthiest, colorful fruits and veggies along with then their peak buying season is to ensure you are getting the most nutrition for your buck! Tips also include how to store and cook food items so before you know it you will be an artist painting with the colors of the produce isle! Happy cooking and happy National Nutrition Month!
Friday, March 18, 2011
The Cornucopia Food Pantry is a non-profit organization consisting of UNH staff, students, and community individuals who work together to provide food baskets for needy UNH students, staff, faculty, and their families. Located at the Waysmeet Center at the United Campus Ministry to UNH at 15 Mill Road, the Cornucopia Food Pantry works with local businesses and farmers to provide essential foods to families in need. The Cornucopia Food Pantry relies heavily on donations from community members to complete their food baskets and perpetuate their business.
Last year alone, the Cornucopia Food Pantry provided approximately 520 food gift baskets to families in need, which fed approximately 2,500 people. In addition to food baskets, Cornucopia also served approximately 1,200 people on a weekly and emergency basis, typically serving 15 to 20 families per week.
Cornucopia currently runs food basket drives every Thanksgiving, fall holiday season, and spring season. As economic times are getting tougher and jobs continue to be lost, Cornucopia’s efforts are becoming more and more important to community members. Cornucopia is always looking for more volunteers to help in their efforts.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Whole grains, fruits, vegetables…who would think those have anything to do with keeping a healthy mind? A great deal of research shows that deficiency in vitamins and essential nutrients can have harmful effects on the body, yet often they are not associated with mental health. Interestingly, there is research proven to support the fact that diets deficient in vitamins such as C, D and B vitamins, as well as protein can cause symptoms of depression or other mental health illnesses.
In an article on Nutrition and Mental Health, the author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones describes that a lacking diet can have a negative effect on general mood and mental energy. In addition to vitamins, Dr. Annemarie Colbin also suggests that individuals not consuming enough protein and Omega-3 Fatty Acids have the potential for increased negative moods. Surprisingly, the article suggested that protein was the best choice for keeping energy up, controversy to the job often associated with carbohydrates. However, what the article is highlighting is specific forms of protein and carbohydrates that may help to increase energy and keep emotion upbeat.
Not only is a high intake of carbohydrates through sugars/sweets unhealthy for your body in other ways, but it can also lead to mood swings, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. On the other hand, and also supported by research in the Nutrition Journal, whole grain carbohydrates or proteins from Omgea-3’s such as fish can reduce such symptoms. Therefore, to keep your energy up, keep a balanced and healthy diet. Be sure to include a wide variety of nutrient rich foods such as vegetables, whole grains such as rice and pasta, proteins (animal or plant), and healthy fats. Try to keep the sugar consumption down especially if the winter blues have you feeling a little down!
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
From the days of gym class in elementary school, we have all been taught that it is beneficial to stretch before any physical activity. But touching our toes and counting to ten before hopping on a treadmill may in fact hurt more than help. After reading The New York Times article titled Stretching: The Truth, I learned that this form of static stretching actually weakens your muscle. According to a study done by the University of Nevada, “athletes generated less force from their leg muscles after static stretching than they did after not stretching at all.” Other studies have gone on to prove that muscle strength can decrease by as much as 30% as well as weaken the opposite leg. Straining the muscle in a static stretch causes the muscle to become less responsive and weakens it for up to 30 minutes.
Just realized you’re pre-workout routine has been wrong all along? Professionals say that the overall goal of stretching is to literally warm up the body. This loosens the muscles and tendons and increases their range of motion by increasing the blood flow they receive. The best way to do this is by light aerobic exercise - jogging at a pace of about 40% of your natural heart rate and increasing to about 60%. This 10 minute warm-up should be followed by a 5 minute “recovery.” 15 minutes total and you’re ready to start your workout. Dynamic stretching, as this warm-up is referred to, “increases power, flexibility, and range of motion.” Planning on going for a long run? Add lunges and squats into your warm up to activate all necessary joints and connective tissues. Preparing for an intramural game of basketball? Your warm-up should include more parts of the body since that activity requires use of more limbs. Read the article to see exactly what stretches are the best to maximize your workout ability and minimize the risk of injury. Until then, avoid touching those toes!
Monday, March 7, 2011
Having a tough time consuming your recommended servings of fruit per day? Ever tried making a smoothie? Smoothies are a quick and easy way to fit in your daily recommended intake of fruits while enjoying a delicious sweet treat. All you need is a blender, some fruit, and some juice. The best part, you can hide other healthy foods in them too! My personal favorite smoothie is what I call the Tropical Island Smoothie. Here’s the recipe:
¾ cup frozen mango
¼ cup frozen strawberry
1 inch slice of banana
¼ cup pineapple
1 cup of orange juice
Put all the fruit into a blender with approximately ¾ cup of the orange juice. Blend until it starts to get smooth and gradually add the last ¼ cup of orange juice until desired thickness. Occasionally I mix my orange juice with a little bit of water so the orange flavor isn’t overpowering over all of the other delicious fruit flavors.
Other great options to add into your smoothie to give it an extra healthy punch are vegetables! Adding just a few leaves of romaine lettuce, kale, or even some carrots or broccoli can add the benefits of vegetables while masking the taste with the fruit.
The rule of thumb with smoothies is to put in whatever fruits and vegetables you like and test it until you get your desired flavor. Some people use yogurts and sherbet, while others use frozen fruit or ice. Whatever your preference, remember that smoothies are a great way to get your recommended daily intake of fruits, and are great snacks or meals to keep you full longer.
Friday, March 4, 2011
Photo: Courtesy of Sarah Sceery
With even the basic nutritional knowledge, the thought of an eating contest might make you feel a little queasy. The idea of eating as many hotdogs as you can in a matter of minutes could almost give you a heart attack just thinking about it. Yet, right here on UNH campus there is one eating contest that actually takes a different approach. Annually, the Pan-Hellenic Sorority, Alpha Phi, holds their philanthropy event called “Eat Your Heart Out.” The event is designed with healthy foods in mind. The competition is a healthy eating contest between Greeks or any member in the UNH community. Things can get a little messy but it’s for a great cause, and puts on quite the show. Dishes include everything from bananas to carrots and even the dreaded rice cakes. Contestants go through a series of rounds for the chance to win great prizes for…stuffing their face with healthy foods.
Even thought the idea of eating as much food as you can in a minute…isn’t exactly good for you, it does make the fun idea a little better when what your eating is good for you! The event is focused on promoting heart healthy foods and all profits go towards the organizations philanthropy, cardiac care. The action takes place this year on March 22nd at 7:00pm in the Granite State Room. The cost of the event is $5 and tickets can be purchased in the MUB ticket office in advance or on the 22nd.
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