Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Recently I have noticed a campus-wide discussion examining the pros and cons of the sale of energy drinks on campus, specifically Red Bull. Why is it that students are so passionate about having energy drinks on campus? What are effects to the human body from energy drinks?
So do energy drinks like Red Bull really have a positive effect on the brain or could students survive with out it? The ingredients in Red Bull include caffeine which stimulates mental functions such as alertness, concentration, and reaction speed, Taurine, is an amino acid and it effects the central nervous system and cardiovascular system. Also included is lucronolactone, a derivative of sugar, B-group vitamins important for energy metabolism and neurological functions, sucrose and glucose, types of sugar, and alpine spring water. The amount of caffeine and sugars in these energy drinks help keep you awake and alert so that you can log increasing hours in the library. However, these beneficiary effects on cognitive performance, mood, cognitive speed, accuracy and increased alertness can be accomplished by drinking roughly 200 mg of caffeine.
According the BioMed Nutrition Journal a 16-23 ounce can of Red Bull far exceeds the amount of caffeine necessary. With the majority of students consuming energy drinks to replace insufficient sleep (67%) or to increase energy (65%), perhaps it is sleep habits that should be more of a concern. Students should also be informed that too much consumption can lead to a “crash” including headaches, and heart palpitations. If too much caffeine is getting in the way of your sleep, check out UNH Health Services’s website. They have great tips and techniques to help you fall sleep.
Monday, November 21, 2011
So, you have been sticking to that nutrition plan and exercising every day. Everything seems to be going your way until the second to last week in November comes around. All of a sudden you throw that out the window with a feast of carbo-loading. Thanksgiving is a time to return from college and finally enjoy home cooked food. The last thing you want is someone telling you that you cannot enjoy the feast of Thanksgiving. But if you could still eat the same and keep the same waist…. wouldn’t you? WebMD has tips on how to eat and stay well during the feasting.
Many families for Thanksgiving will serve the dinner around 2 -3pm. Due to this mealtime, many feel that they need to skip other meals in order to save up for the large one. This may not be the smartest choice when dining for such a large occasion. Instead, try consuming two smaller meals before the 2pm meal (two small breakfasts). If that does not suit your family well, try changing the start time is another choice.
The next method is to watch what you are eating. Subdivide your food into the carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. The ration of carbohydrates to proteins to fats should be 40:20:20. Choosing one meat (turkey), one carbohydrate (mashed potatoes), and one fat (pie) will eliminate the risk of overloading on each category. Once you have chosen the right foods, be sure to trim the amounts of each.
Waiting for the turkey and pies to finish cooking? Take a walk! Even a stroll around your neighborhood can be helpful, and it is a great family activity you can all do together.
Finally, savor your meal. Enjoy the food and company around you! By eating slower, your stomach is able to actually feel full. If you feel you recognize that you feel full, you are less likely to overeat.
Good food and feasting are always associated with Thanksgiving. But remember what thanksgiving is also about, spending time with people you care about and enjoying the day.
Friday, November 18, 2011
With the constant stress of school, work, or other day-to-day events, a majority of people have a hard time shutting off their brain to get some shut eye. During finals week or feeling completely overwhelmed with other commitments, I find myself not receiving enough of sleep due my racing mind standing in the way. However, an article recently published in Women’s Health, explores some remedies to calm our nerves during one of the most important times of day.
Some of the solutions were ones I have been given in the past, such as not consuming anything with caffeine close to bedtime and using specific breathing techniques when laying in bed. However, some other options such as adding pillows and taking a bath before bed, were ones I had never considered. Pillows are claimed to be “ the most important equipment for working out your z's” and should be supportive, comfortable, and suitable to your sleeping style. The magazine also offers a link to finding your perfect pillow match depending on your sleeping position. When our body temperature drops, it causes the perfect sleeping conditions. Women’s Health suggests us to take a hot bath or shower and lay down to allow us to cool off. Another recommendation made by the magazine is to not eat too close to bedtime because it may cause indigestion or frequent trips to the bathroom during the middle of the night; something we definitely want to avoid! Check out the rest of the article to find other simple, yet effective ways to squeeze out the most amount of sleep possible suitable to your lifestyle!
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Are you tired of doing the same mundane things to stay in shape? Are running, cycling and hitting the weight room becoming a little less exciting every time you do them? If that is the case then you’re in luck! While many students have utilized ALL that the Whittemore Center has to offer, but many surprisingly have not. The fact is that the Whitt has SO much more than simply Racquetball courts, Basketball courts, an indoor track and a weight room. The Whitt offers a whole variety of fitness classes taught by skilled professionals, Monday through Sunday. More importantly these classes are FREE for all students! To name a few, there are classes like “Tighter Assets” which focuses on lower body exercises, “Basic Boot Camp/Cycle & Stretch” which takes participants through plyometric exercises and Cycling routines and “Water Fitness” which focuses on low impact resistance exercises for the entire body (this class actually takes place in the indoor pool up at the field house). There are many other classes to partake in. It simply matters on which exercise class fits into your daily schedule. Some classes last for as long as an hour and a half and some are as short as 30 minutes. The opportunities are limitless. That being said, why not learn new dance moves from “Zumba/Hoops & Stretch” class or perhaps learn to give a proper hook and uppercut via “Cardio Boxing & Strength” class. Staying in shape should be a facet in your life that brings you happiness and empowerment. So end the ordinary and start something exciting by getting fit at the Whitt!
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
As healthcare costs continue to increase, patients should be more aware of the procedures and the costs that linger. Every procedure and visit costs money. If a person has health insurance, it costs the patient through a co-pay and deductible if they have one. The remainder of the bill then goes to the insurance company and ultimately to employers.
But not all bills are created equal. Did you know that the same procedure can cost different amounts at different locations? This is known as cost variation.
One example of how cost variation works in New Hampshire is to look at mammograms. Mammograms are a very common procedure that can be performed at lots of locations. The cost range for a mammogram in NH is from $185 to $709. That's over a $500 difference for the same test!
But why does this cost difference matter? It matters because ultimately companies and the individuals who are insured pay for this. Companies may need to budget more to pay for their health care expenses, and then spending less in other places, like salary for example.
Where can you find this information? For USNH employees, and all other individuals living in NH, the NH Health Cost websites provides cost information by procedure and location. So the next time your provider asks you to have a procedure, check out how much it really costs!
Thursday, November 10, 2011
Breakfast is often coined as the most important meal of the day and should help jump-start your day. Research shows that people who consume cereal for breakfast are more likely to consume more produce and whole grains throughout the day. However, not all cereals are created equal and some can be loaded with unwanted sugar. Women’s Health Magazine recently published an article that discusses what to look for in a cereal to give you the maximum benefits.
It’s very easy for us to be easily convinced that cereals with impressive claims such as “made with whole grains” and “good source of calcium” are smart choices when contemplating your breakfast cereal. Although these are important aspects to take into consideration, the most important part to look at is the nutritional facts panel. Registered Dietician and American Dietetic Association spokeswoman, Sari Greaves, recommends a cereal that is less than 200 calories with 3 grams of fiber and no more than 8 grams of sugar per serving. It is also very important to pay close attention to what constitutes as a serving. As tempting as it to filling the bowl to the brim, it can cause you to consume double the amount of calories you thought you were. Greaves suggests pouring your cereal into a coffee mug as it will trick your mind into thinking your consuming more cereal than you actually are. If that doesn’t do it for you, try eating with a smaller spoon. This can slow down the eating process and cut your calorie intake. Finally, it is important to address the type of milk you may be using. Women’s Health suggests using skim instead of whole or 2% because it has substantially less calories and fat content.
At UNH, the amount of cereals I can choose from in the dining halls is outrageous and I can easily become overwhelmed at times. However, UNH labels all of the cereals with the nutritional content and I think the tips given by Women’s Health will help me and the current students, faculty, and staff at UNH make healthier decisions when picking our cereals.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Chocolate is the heart's best medicine? Dark not milk. Eat it everyday but don’t go overboard. Organic or not?
Sound familiar? These all too often restrictions we put on our chocolate consumption can get confusing. Some experts claim that certain types of chocolate can reduce our risk of heart disease but how much are we supposed to be eating? How can we be sure it won’t offset our fitness and diet regiment?
Luckily, SPIN has come to the rescue. SPIN, also known as Students Promoting Information on Nutrition, is a club here on campus “designed to provide nutrition education to enhance the well-being of UNH students.” SPIN holds many events during the school year. Recently in October, SPIN had a table set up in the Whittemore Center Lobby to address how to take care of our hearts and discuss the benefits of eating certain foods; including chocolate! SPIN also teaches students how to take a healthier look at food and how it relates their bodies. They have workshops on how to make healthy choices in your life, like navigating the dining halls and grocery stores. Visit the SPIN website to learn more about upcoming events or to request a workshop!
Friday, November 4, 2011
The great outdoors, something that UNH has plenty of. Living on a college campus with lots of green space was a major selling point for me. It not only gave the campus a beautiful look, but it also calmed me. Going to school in Boston my freshman year was quite stressful at times. I would study for exams, quizzes and create presentations, THEN go outside for some relaxation and immediately be bombarded by honking horns, speeding cars, people going here, there and everywhere. It was a lot for the senses to handle, especially after studying for 3 hours. Luckily, Boston’s Public Garden by the Commons was just down the street. It was so relieving to be immersed in green grass, squirrels and fresh air. One could just forget thoughts regarding exams, quizzes, presentations etc. and just relax. Well after doing some research, I found that there is actually some psychological science behind this phenomenon.
The University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana did a research study which proved that “green space” was beneficial for inner city individual’s concentration and coping ability regarding life’s challenges. While we students here at UNH are not inner city individuals, we still have life challenges and absolutely need to have good concentration. So, in order to help keep yourself sane and studious, take a break. Go for a walk in college woods, hang out on the quad by T-Hall and try to catch squirrels or take a stroll down to Old Landing Rd. and skip rocks on the good old’ Oyster River. Here at UNH we have outdoor resources in abundance, so use them!
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