Monday, June 30, 2014
Nutritionists and doctors have long emphasized the benefits of a low-fat diet, but not all fats are bad for your health! More than just the amount of fat, the types of fat that one consumes is what really matters. There are “good” fats, such as Omega-3 fatty acids which play a crucial role in cognitive function, as well as normal growth and development. Omega-3 fats aid in the prevention of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, inflammatory diseases and cancer. Research has also shown a recent connection between the omega-3 fatty acids and brain function. Consumption of omega-3 fatty acids, found in fish such as salmon and tuna, may protect the brain against cognitive impairment. In a study conducted in the American Journal of Neurology, individuals with higher levels of omega-3s also had a 2.7 percent larger volume in the hippocampus area of the brain, which plays an important role in memory. In Alzheimer’s disease, the hippocampus is the first area which is significantly affected. Additionally, insufficient amounts of omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with decreased visual memory, executive function, and abstract thinking, all suggestive of vascular changes within the brain.
Omega-3 fats are necessary for human health, but the body cannot make them. Therefore, it is important for us to incorporate healthy fats into the foods we eat. For good health, you should aim to get at least one rich source of omega-3 fatty acids in your diet every day. Good sources of omega-3 fats include fish, walnuts, avocados, olives and flax seed oil. The answer to healthful eating isn’t cutting out the fat, but learning to replace bad fats with good ones!
Friday, June 27, 2014
College students (and all of us) are burdened by the idea that we have to succeed in all areas of our lives to be as well balanced as we can, but when does the idea of being perfect go too far?
At times, there is a lot of pressure to get the best grades possible on our finals. There are many people that struggle with perfectionism, whether it is realized or not. Perfectionism is described as the belief that making mistakes us unacceptable, and everything must be error-free. Perfectionists believe that making mistakes makes them less worthy, and less successful. Wanting to achieve academic success and to live up to your full potential is admirable, but achieving perfection is often impossible. Expecting yourself to be perfect can lead to the following mental health stressors:
- Frustration: Wanting to have everything done perfectly allows you to never be satisfied with your work.
- Procrastination: Perfectionism is one of the major causes of procrastination. The fear of work not being done perfectly may prevent you from doing the work all together.
- Low Self-Esteem: Perfectionists are their own worst critics, and are hard on themselves by telling themselves they are not trying hard enough or doing well enough, which leads to low self-esteem.
- Anxiety or Depression: Someone who struggles with extreme perfectionism may also struggle with depression or anxiety since they are constantly feeling unsatisfied and pressured.
If you struggle with perfectionism, try setting realistic, achievable goals, as well as goals that celebrate personal accomplishment when they are achieved. Getting a grade that upsets you in a class can be very frustrating, but remember that a letter grade does not make you a failure. College comes with a lot of stress, and it’s important to step back and remember we can only do what we are capable of. For more information on how to help yourself or a friend, visit this page by the University of Minnesota Counseling & Consulting Services.
Are you a perfectionist? Find out how the strive to be perfect may be more harmful than beneficial.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
Let’s talk about IBS, irritable bowel syndrome, a group of symptoms that effect the large intestine. Approximately 20% of US adults have IBS. The symptoms of IBS can be rather uncomfortable such as abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, constipation, and gassiness. Keep in mind, these symptoms could be caused by other factors, and not necessarily IBS. Fortunately, there are many things related to your diet that can help manage IBS that are also helpful to general health. Regardless of if you think you may have IBS, these tips can improve your diet for a healthier lifestyle. The first step is to find out which foods cause the most discomfort, then work to eliminate them from your diet. In order to keep track, you may need to keep a food diary. EatRight offers some of these other nutritional tips:
- Eat at the same time each day to help regulate your system.
- Eat smaller meals more frequently. Large portions can be difficult for your body to process all at once.
- Slowly increase fiber intake by eating more whole grains, fruits and vegetables.
- Be sure to drink plenty of water!
- Be cautious of what you drink, caffeine and alcohol can be problematic.
It may also be a good idea to seek out a registered dietitian, such as at Health Services. As a professional, she can help you identify which foods and eating habits are causing flare ups. Be aware that stress can also cause IBS symptoms. If you find diet changes aren't working for you, take a step back to look at your stress levels and get the necessary help to decrease them. The Counseling Center is a great place to seek help for stress management.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Ever feel like something’s on the tip of your tongue but you just can’t recall what it is? Or feel like you have so many things to remember, you have to write everything down or else your thoughts will be completely lost? Being a college student, I often feel overwhelmed with the amount of information I have to process, retain and recite. Whether it is material for exams, meeting times for clubs and organizations or even my grocery list, I’m sure I can speak for most when I say that it is nearly impossible to remember everything, and it can sometimes be frustrating when we can’t recall information.
But what most don’t know, is that ones memory is linked to ones health, and the more healthy choices we make, the more we enhance our cognitive function including improving our memory. Check out these tips to not only help enhance your memory, but also your overall health!
- Eat memory-boosting foods. Foods that increase blood flow to the brain help improve memory and overall cognitive function including: vegetables (dark leafy greens, broccoli & kale), berries (blackberries, cherries & blueberries), omega 3 fatty acids (salmon, Bluefin, tuna, herring & fish oil) and walnuts.
- Exercise! It improves your mood, gives you a better nights sleep, reduces your stress and anxiety levels, as well as it releases chemicals in the brain that are health beneficial to current brain cells and also helps new brain cells form- all which can help improve cognitive function and enhance your memory.
- Get a good night of sleep! Sleeping helps strengthen new memories you’ve formed during the day, and also helps you retain information you have learned more effectively. Be sure to get a goods night of sleep the night before exams to be at your full cognitive ability during the test!
- Laugh! Laughter releases numerous chemicals in the brain and exercises different areas of your brain which help you improve memory and retain information, but also help decrease pain and help you relax! Laughter is also contagious, so you’ll be helping others enhance their memory when you share the laughter!
Wednesday, June 18, 2014
Everyone knows that it is important for humans to consume water. Sometimes the health benefits of drinking water are over looked. Here is a how to guide to consuming more water and the science as to why water is an under rated super drink!
The human body is 60% made up of water. Water is excreted through the body in multiple ways: urine, stools, perspiration, and simply breathing. It is vital for the body to replenish water loss otherwise we become dehydrated. Dehydration is very dangerous and can make people feel sluggish, weak, and can potential cause fainting. It is important to consume water when exercising, if you’re sweating, if consuming alcohol, or if you are in a hot climate.
So what is so good about water? Water is a great beverage because it is able to balance body fluids and does not provide any calories. Therefore people can consume water without worrying about gaining weight. Water actually has the ability to control calorie intake by replacing empty calorie beverages like soda. The body also can feel hungry when it is actually thirsty so by consuming one glass of water before each meal you will likely eat less.
Water additionally keeps your skin healthy. Hydrated skin has less wrinkles and lines, and helps prevent pimples. Water also keeps muscles working properly which will increase workout performance. Water allows the kidneys to properly function, which then rids the body of toxins.
Increase water intake by:
- Keeping a water bottle with you as often as possible.
- Try to consume one glass of water before each meal.
- Consume more fruits and vegetables that contain water.
- Try adding fruit or vegetables to your water. I enjoy lemons and limes in my water, which will additionally add electrolytes.
Have you taken a sip from your water bottle yet??
Monday, June 16, 2014
Similar to medical treatment expenses, Workers Compensation costs are rapidly increasing. The majority of costs are spent on occupational musculoskeletal disorders each year. Daily work tasks that involve reaching and lifting, bending, sitting, pushing/pulling, keyboarding, using tools, operating machinery are often performed incorrectly. The stress of improper lifting and sitting techniques accumulates over time and wears the body down. Workplace injuries and illnesses have a major impact on employer costs. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration reports that businesses spend $15 to $20 billion dollars a year on workers compensation costs attributable to musculoskeletal disorders alone. These costs include workers compensation payments, medical expenses and the cost of legal services.
The rising cost of workers compensation can be controlled with the implementation of ergonomics risk management programs in the workplace. Ergonomics evaluates the relationship between our bodies, our tasks, and our surroundings. The goal of ergonomics is to reduce the stress placed on the body from repetitive motions and eliminate injuries associated with the overuse of muscles or bad posture. Business owners must identify potential safety risks and teach people how to use their own bodies in biomechanically correct ways. This is accomplished through designing tasks, work spaces, controls, displays, tools, lightening and equipment to fit the individual employee’s physical capabilities and limitations. Employers who consider the importance ergonomics not only prevent their workers from experiencing injury, but they save millions of dollars in the process. Work injuries also have direct effects on employees both at work and at home. Becoming injured on the job not only impacts one’s ability to work, but prevents individuals from participating in everyday life activities that he or she enjoys!
Here at UNH, The Office of Environmental Health and Safety (OEHS) provides ergonomic assessments for both computer workstations and those tasks involving manual material handling/lifting to minimize risks of musculoskeletal injuries and/or disorders. In addition to on-site one on one evaluations, OEHS is available to conduct training and education on ergonomics specified to your needs.
An ergonomically friendly environment can prevent injuries while simultaneously reducing healthcare costs.
Friday, June 13, 2014
If you are student who is interested in supporting and helping fellow students with health concerns, then peer education and mentoring may be for you! Peer education and peer mentoring services provided by the UNH Health Services Office of Health Education and Promotion are intended for UNH students who are interested in outreaching to UNH other students who are struggling with certain health issues or concerns by providing education, support and engaging activities. Peer education and mentoring are based on the idea that students can learn best, and relate better to, other students in terms of talking about sensitive subjects.
Check out some of the programs provided by the Office of Health Education and Promotion and get involved!
Students Promoting Information about Nutrition (SPIN) is a peer education program that is designed for UNH students to help other UNH students learn about nutrition and ways to enhance the overall well being of students. SPIN peer educators also help set up programs such as the National Nutrition Month expo, healthy dorm living program, cooking classes and grocery store tours!
Substance Awareness through Functional Education (S.A.F.E.) is a program designed for UNH students to actively engage other UNH students in the important information and issues regarding alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. SAFE peer educators help inform fellow students about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, warning signs to look for, how to help a friend with a problem, as well as help encourage students to make safe decisions regarding alcohol and drugs.
Eating Concern Mentors are a peer mentoring program and are trained UNH students who provide individual support and information to fellow UNH students who are struggling with eating concerns and body image, or if they know someone who is. Eating concern mentors are trained to give students information about eating concerns, and are also committed to helping students with eating concerns. Eating concern mentors are also involved with Fat Talk Free Week, Eating Concerns Awareness Week and the Body Project here at UNH!
The Recovery Mentors Program at UNH is a peer-mentoring program in which UNH students are trained to provide support to fellow students who may be struggling with alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Recovery mentors also provide information and appropriate referrals to students who are in recovery or looking to seek recovery
Be sure to also check out the UNH Health Services Office of Health Education and Promotion website for more information on peer education and mentoring, up and coming programs, events and activities you can participate and volunteer for!
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
It’s important to be familiar with your go-to hospital when a family or friend or yourself isn’t feeling well or has an emergency. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control released a report that stated one in twenty-five patients who are admitted to a hospital develop a hospital-acquired infection. Most people go to the hospital to avoid further sickness, but this cannot be guaranteed. TIME released an article containing information that Consumer Reports released reports on safety and other health topics of 2,591 hospitals around the U.S. They released over all ratings for each hospital with specific categories such as morality, communication with patients, overuse of CT scans, hospital infections, and more. The researchers used this information to create a scale of scores from 1 to 100. The researchers discovered the average hospital score to be 51; however, the number of low-rated hospitals outnumbered the higher-rated ones. This information is helpful for hospitals to adjust what they need to fix in order to be more appealing and a more effective hospital. These ratings are great for the consumer who wants to make sure they are making informed decisions to receive the best care possible, and to get their money’s worth out of their hospital visit. Check out the consumer report website to look into hospitals near you so you can make sure you’re making the most informed decision possible to lower your health cost while increasing your patient care experience.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Starting something new can be scary, exciting, and empowering. Especially if you are making the decision to start exercising! First and foremost, good for you for making the decision to become a healthier you! I know that working out can seem very daunting so here are some tips on how to exercise for beginners!
1. It is important to talk to your doctor before beginning any kind of exercise program. Whether it is walking, strength training, or Zumba, check with your doctor about your readiness to start being active.
2. Create short and long term goals for yourself, and write them down! For example a short-term goal could be to not take the elevator for 1 week, or to go to 3 fitness classes a week. Then think of some long term goals, maybe in 2 years you want to run a marathon, have your BMI in the healthy range, or be able to walk to work!
3. Plan out your workouts, to ensure they are do-able. The AHA recommends getting 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least 5 days a week.1 This can be a great way to start. It is also good to note that it does not need to be a consecutive 30 minutes; you could do three, ten-minute sessions per day. If you plan your workouts ahead of time you will make time for them!
4. Always make the time for stretching after a workout. It will reduce soreness and increase flexibility. If you make time to stretch you are less likely to injure yourself and will have better balance throughout your life.
5. It can be helpful to keep track of your workouts. If you are exercising in a gym you can count your reps and weights. Or if you are walking and running try tracking your miles or steps using a pedometer. This will help you watch your progression!
6. Reward yourself! Reaching goals is very empowering. I enjoy splurging on new workout clothes or sneakers once I reach my goals. The new equipment also makes me motivated to keep exercising.
7. Keep an open mind. Working out is not easy. Some days will be harder then others but it is important to keep active and try to keep a positive attitude. There are SO many different ways to keep active and if you are not enjoying something, then try something new!
And if you need some help getting started, Campus Rec has some great programs with experts to guide and encourage you. For UNH employees, Healthy UNH partners with other departments to bring programs like the Wildcat Workout Program and Faculty and Staff Outdoor Adventures.
Friday, June 6, 2014
New Hampshire boasts some of the most beautiful scenery in New England, so why not take advantage of it? The New Hampshire Outing Club (NHOC) is the oldest and largest organization at UNH that offers off-campus trips to undergraduate students every weekend. Some of the activities that they offer include, backpacking, camping, canoeing, white water rafting, and many more in the White Mountains and throughout other areas of New England. This club is mostly funded by the Student Activity fee that is paid with undergraduate tuition, and prices for the trips include $5 for day trips, $10 for overnight trips, and $15 for weekend (Friday through Sunday) trips. This club is versatile to the needs and experiences of the members. Additionally, most of the gear can be borrowed for free.
If you or someone you know is interested in joining, show up to the signups that are held on the first Tuesday of every month in the Strafford Room in the MUB. If you have questions or would like to speak to someone, the NHOC has an office in room 151 in the MUB. Spending time outdoors ensures not only that you’ll get more exercise, but the sunlight and extra vitamin D will lift your spirits and have you feeling great. Take advantage of this great program offered by UNH and explore what the outdoors of New England has to offer!
Enjoy the outdoors by joining the UNH Outing Club!
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