Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Organic foods and organic practices are receiving quite a lot of attention lately. I know I can't walk down the grocery store without seeing organic labels on food as well as advertising for "going organic" everywhere. Maybe you have no idea what being organic means and are interested in finding out, or maybe you already are an organic eater and want to spread awareness to others. Either way, those of you interested in eating organic or learning more about what it means to eat organically, this organization at UNH deserves your attention.
For those of you who do not know what the Organic Garden Club is, it is part of the Food and Society Initiative of the UNH Sustainability Academy. The OGC is not necessary a "UNH program" in the sense that UNH staff does not run it; it is a student run organization. Their goal is to find ways to spread sustainability to the UNH campus, students, staff and more. Not only are they involved with growing organic foods, but they are involved with the process of why things are organic and how they come to be organic. OGC has won multiple recognitions and awards for their work. In 2007, they won Student Organization of the year! If this post has sparked your interest, this is a great group to get involved with!
Monday, January 28, 2013
Are you a nutrition student who is itching to go abroad, but can’t seem to find a place for it in your busy schedule? This is a problem many nutrition students run into. Class scheduling is rigorous with the amount of classes nutrition majors have to take, and many times, students miss out on studying abroad because they feel like they have limited time.
However, Explorations in Nutrition and Culture is just what you might be looking for. This study abroad program is short, sweet and to the point. Students leave in June, stay in Italy for 4.5 weeks, and head home at the end of July. The program begins in Venice, travels to the Italian Alps, and the students end up studying at Ascoli Piceno, a school with which UNH has a partnership where students take classes. In Summer 2012, students will be able to take a Mediterranean Diet and Culture class (NUTR 595), Intro to Italian studies (ITAL 425), and an Interdisciplinary Field Seminar in Italian Culture (ITAL 681). These classes can satisfy the Discovery World Culture or foreign culture Gen. Ed. So if you find the romance of beautiful, ancient Italy appealing and want to learn more about its quirky culture and delicious food, check out this program. Information meetings are scheduled, and applications for 2013 are due November 30th. Visit UNH in Italy Study Abroad Program for more information!
Friday, January 25, 2013
Being a student is almost a guarantee that at some point you are going to be stressed out and overwhelmed. When you have a horrible week and are up to your eyeballs in homework, exams and extracurricular activities, how do you make time for yourself? Some things I have done in the past to help get away are taking a nap, going for a run, taking a yoga class and even catching up on my favorite TV shows on Netflix. But one of my favorite things to do for myself is surrounding myself with my friends.
According to Self Magazine, hanging out with your friends is crucial to your mental health. Why are friends so critical to mental health you ask? Well for one, friends tell it how it is. Whether you are going through a tough time or just need someone to talk to, friends are honest and have your best interests at heart. Another reason to surround yourself with friends is that they are actually good for your health. Friends want the best for you and having the feeling of being close with a group of people and having a support system can actually improve your overall health. For example, in 2006 the Nurses' Health Study found that having a close group of friends and family was linked with survival of breast cancer in woman. So if you are ever feeling exhausted or like you need a mental break, call up your close friends or even make some new ones to reap these benefits.
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Many people believe that the winter months are not conducive to growing vegetables. This incorrect notion is not only, but is preventing people from experiencing the wonderfully nutritious vegetables that are grown during these colder months.
Artichokes are a great source of Vitamin C, and they also help to aid in digestion. It is important to remove the thorns before consuming this vegetable. Artichokes go great on salads, sandwiches, and almost everything else. They add a yummy, sweet and bitter flavor to any dish.
Kale is also grown in the winter months, and some refer to it as a “super vegetable” because it is absolutely packed with nutrients. Kale is a type of cabbage that is full of beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin K, and calcium. Kale is known to help strengthen one’s immune system, which is even more of a reason to consume during cold and flu season.
In fact, Kale is not the only member of the cabbage family that is very nutritious and abundant in the winter months. Red cabbage, cone cabbage and standard cabbage are all grown in the winter season and are full of vitamin B, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, protein and zinc. Cabbage is also known to be a good remedy for headaches, ulcers and kin illnesses.
Winter squash, much like the name implies, is also abundant during the winter months and is not only yummy and easy to cook, but it brimming with nutrients. This richly colored vegetable has beta-carotene, vitamin B1, vitamin C, pantothenic acid, folic acid, potassium and fiber. It also is a starchy vegetable that can be used to replace calorically dense starches in a meal and have the same effect. Steamed, baked, boiled or roasted, winter squash is yummy
To find out more about winter produce, check out FitDay.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Physical activity’s importance has been drilled into our minds since elementary school. There are so many reasons to fit it into our busy schedules; stress relief and weight management being just a couple of those reasons. However, recently, researchers have found even another motivation for us to engage in regular physical activity.
Research done at the National Cancer Institute found that people who regularly exercise (at least 1.25 hours a week of vigorous physical activity) can lengthen their life expectancy by up to 4.5 years. The researchers said that even more health benefits are attained by exercising for 5 hours each week. The report found that there is a correlation between the amount of time each week spent exercising and the average length of life expectancy gained. So the more you exercise, the longer your life can be. The researchers also found that if one has heart disease or another chronic condition, the association between physical activity and lengthening life expectancy was even better.
In conclusion, it’s safe to say that with its plethora of benefits, physical activity is something we should all try to get enough of. Check out the article here!
Friday, January 18, 2013
After getting home from class or work on a dark, chilly night why not warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate? Hot chocolate can be a great treat to curb any sweet cravings plus you can add your own personal twist to it.
The typical “instant” mixes can contain corn syrup, hydrogenated soybean oil, salt, artificial flavorings, and many more ingredients that our grandparents have never heard of! The amount of these ingredients and others depends on the type of mix. Some companies, such as Swiss Miss have a line called Sensible Sweets that include diet and sugar free instant mixes. These are in fact sensible alternatives and good options for a late night snack.
If you are interested in getting away from the packaged hot chocolate try a basic recipe suggested by SELF Healthier Hot Chocolate:
- 2 cups powdered milk
- 2/3 cup sugar (or less! It is up to you)
- 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or more if you like it chocolaty)
- A pinch of salt
Combine all these ingredients and keep them in an air-tight container. Next time you crave hot chocolate boil some water, add ¼ cup of mix into a mug, pour the water in, stir, and enjoy!
Some alternatives include…
- Using warm milk instead of boiled water to make a creamier beverage
- To make it dairy-free remove the powdered milk and use almond or soy milk and blend together with the chocolaty mix
- Feel free to use sweetened cocoa powder if you like a drink that is chocolate rich!
- To cut back on the sugar, a more natural low calorie sweetener can be used such as True-via or other Stevia-based products
Kick up the flavor by…
- Adding a splash of vanilla extract to enhance the chocolaty goodness!
- Cinnamon can be added to the original mix to give a different flavor
- Spice things up a bit by adding 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper! This may help fight any inflammation in the body
Try this recipe and feel free to continue looking up ways to add more spunk to a favorite winter drink!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Medical maladies and mishaps are bound to happen to each individual at least once in their lifetime. Whether it is a misdiagnosis, an improper stitch sewn to your wound, or even just the lack of funds to pay for a treatment at that moment.
However, Julie Rovner from NPR states, “there's at least one good thing about the country's inability to control health costs. If you can write a compelling essay about a problem, you could win a thousand bucks.”
Rovner goes on in her article that a non-profit organization called Costs of Care that is awarding four prizes this year to the winners who write an essay about either how doctors helped them avoid incredibly high health costs, or how they fell victim to our country’s ever-increasing medical expenses.
Costs of Care, as Rovner notes, “[was] founded by a young doctor and a group of medical consultants, has the goal of teaching physicians to be more aware of the economic aspects of health care. Or, more specifically, illuminating how the decisions doctors make affect what their patients wind up paying.”
This sort of non-profit is both enlightening for the medical community and for the patients who receive medical care. It empowers both parties to become knowledgeable about how a doctor should help a patient try and avoid as many unnecessary payments as possible, and how a patient should be proactive in their decision-making.
So if you, or someone you love has had a success story of how their doctor saved them money, or unfortunately have had the opposite happen to you or them – direct them to the Costs of Care website where they can find out more about opportunities to win money for their story.
Monday, January 14, 2013
It is typically right around now when we look into the mirror and ask, “Who is that pale person staring back at me?” In Durham there are several locations that offer tanning and promote specials that claim to save you money, but will you really be saving money in the long run?
Dr. Harley Haynes, vice chairman of the Department of Dermatology at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, and a Harvard Medical School professor stated, "There is no evidence at all that you can use UV radiation to cause tanning without increasing the risk of cancer." Having a nice bronze tint makes people feel healthy and good about themselves, but it is not necessarily the safest option. Each person has a different chance of getting cancer because it is based off genetics and the environment the person is subjected to. As a young adult we can acknowledge the fact that we are no longer invincible and our actions now may have an impact on us someday down the road.
On June 28, 2012 the Obamacare “Tanning Tax” was officially put into place in hopes to discourage Americans from using indoor tanning facilities due to health risks. Melanoma is the most common form of skin cancer, along with the deadliest. According to the International Agency for Research on Cancer, when people begin tanning before the age of 35 there is a 75% increase of cancer risks. Although the tax has been implemented, many tanning salon owners have reported that their clients continue to return and that their businesses are doing perfectly fine. Although the tax is only an additional 10% onto their bronzing bill, Congress expected to collect more money for their efforts.
Try getting your fix of sun in a different way. Long New England winters can lead to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) which has symptoms similar to depression such as: increased sleep, social withdrawal, sluggish movements, inability to concentrate, and increased appetite. If you have had SAD symptoms in the past or want to ensure you avoid feeling this way UNH Health Services offers Light Therapy. Click here to learn more about SAD and Light Therapy Prevention at UNH.
Friday, January 11, 2013
Man’s best friend may be more important to your mental health than you might think. According to Ian Cook, MD, a psychiatrist and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA,
"Pets offer an unconditional love that can be very helpful to people with depression.” Simply petting a dog or being in their presence has been shown to reduce tension and hypertension in some individuals.
Dogs have the ability to show unconditional love for their caregivers, which is a quality that is very conducive to help a depressed person feel more accepted and appreciated. This is very helpful for depression victims who have complicated families or relationships, for a canine relationship is incredibly simple and mainly positive.
Having a dog also promotes being more active, for an active dog is a healthy and happy dog. Dog owners typically get more exercise, as they have to make sure their furry friends are getting enough exercise as well. Exercise has been shown to lift moods and increase the production of endorphins – a hormone that makes you feel happy.
Depression can also be very lonely and isolating. Having a dog can help combat those feelings of loneliness, as dogs are very dependent of their owner and are naturally very loyal to them. Having a dog at arms length is also beneficial for the medical benefits of touch. Science has proven that the soothing motion of petting a dog or cat has shown to lower your heart rate and reduce anxiety.
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
In these economically harsh times, sometimes the feelings we get when we look ahead to graduation from college and entering the job force border on dread, rather than excitement. One of the issues that 20-somethings who are just getting on their feet in the career market is the fact that once we hit 25, we can no longer stay on our parents’ health insurance. And things aren’t happening to make this easier for us. In fact, new reports have recently been released, saying that the out of pocket deductibles for health insurance are on the rise. This is more prevalent in the small business market.
According to a New York Times post, deductibles for the average employee who is insured through an employer have almost doubled in the past 6 years. This fact alone is enough to make anyone on the brink of graduation a little bit nervous when considering the future. We can only hope that these costs don’t keep rising, and begin to take a downward dip before our graduating classes are loosed from family insurance plans.
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