Healthy UNH Blogger: Kendra Moffett, All Entries

Healthy Winter Vegetables

Wednesday, January 23, 2013
By: Kendra Moffett

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.

Tagged In: artichokes, beta-carotene, Healthy UNH, kale, Kendra Moffett, Nutrition, squash, super vegetable, vitamin C, winter vegetables

Medical Mishap Stories for Cash

Wednesday, January 16, 2013
By: Kendra Moffett

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.

Tagged In: Costs of Care, health costs, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, medical mishap, misdiagnosis, success story

Canines for a Cure: How Man’s Best Friend Can Help Defeat Depression

Friday, January 11, 2013
By: Kendra Moffett

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.

Tagged In: Depression, dogs, Exercise, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Mental Health, pet therapy

Fresh Produce in Cold Months

Wednesday, December 12, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

Many people have the incorrect notion that you can’t find fresh vegetables and produce in the winter months that provide nutritious salads and other main dishes. Luckily, that idea could not be farther from the truth. In fact, many farmers are preparing right now for upcoming winter farmer’s markets in these next few months.

Some of the most nutritious vegetables are available during the winter and are varieties of leafy greens as well as many root vegetables. Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, chard, cauliflower, endive, kale, leeks and lettuce are just a few of the vegetables that can be harvested in the winter that will go great in a nutritious winter salad. Garlic, beans, beats, chicory, carrots, turnips, radishes and many others are also available in the winter months and have great nutritious value.

Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli and the like are especially abundant in the winter months and especially beneficial to your health. Nicknamed “Super-Veggies” cruciferous vegetables are extremely favorable to your health, and even have some cancer preventing properties according to The National Cancer Institute. Cruciferous vegetables are classified by their four-petaled flowers, which resemble a crucifer, or cross, hence the name “Cruciferous.” The veggies in this family of cross-like structures are your best bet on a nutritious choice – and they are extremely abundant in the winter months.

To find out where you can find winter produce near you visit Seacoast Eat Local to find your nearest farmers market.

Tagged In: Cruciferous, fresh vegetables, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Nutrition, Seacoast Eat Local

SPIN: Students Promoting Information on Nutrition

Friday, November 30, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

Students Promoting Information on Nutrition, also known as SPIN, is a great organization on campus to get involved in that is run by UNH Health Services. These mentors are student volunteers that get trained to counsel and educate those who are looking to for more knowledge and assistance in the field of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle. These students receive intensive training and education by trained professionals in the field, and are well equipped to help others with questions regarding nutrition.

SPIN promotes campus wide awareness of healthy eating, and you can often find them around campus tabling information and marketing ways to live a healthy lifestyle. They have been known to do food cooking demonstrations on campus, as well as distributing informational handouts

One has to apply to be a part of SPIN and in the fall semester each year, those new members will be trained intensively to aid fellow students. One can even get up to four class credits just for being a part of SPIN!

If you are looking to join SPIN, or even seek help from the student mentors, you can find out more information at the UNH Health Services website.

Tagged In: counsel, Health Services, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Nutrition, SPIN, student organizations

Read for Leisure and Read for Your Mental Health

Tuesday, November 13, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

Autumn can be a wonderfully relaxing time of the year, with the weather cooling off, and new festive activities becoming more and more abundant. Although for many college students, when the foliage starts to change, so does the pace of schoolwork. And fall is always a time for exams, which can be taxing on your mental health. It is also a time of increased risk of sickness as cold and flu season encroaches.

However, one great way to distress, unwind, and protect your mental health is to pick up a good book and read it for leisure. According to Crystal Welch from Livestrong, “Leisure provides many benefits, both physically and mentally, and plays a crucial role in living a balanced life. 

Reading for fun can be a great way to distress and unwind from a hectic day. It also can help inspire creativity, which is a great way to exercise your mind in a fun and carefree way. Reading before bed may also help you fall asleep faster, which can lead to longer and deeper sleeps which is also great for your mental and physical health. 

Amazon Kindles are a great purchase to make for the frugal college student, as ebooks are much less expensive than paperback and hardcover book sold in stores. E-readers are also much lighter and easier to travel with.

In these stressful times, always remember- a great way to escape for a little while is to enter the world of a great novel. Make sure you schedule in time for leisure in your life and protect your mental health.

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Mental Health, reading, Stress

Fall Fitness

Friday, November 9, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

Autumn is a lovely time of the year to start or maintain your workout routine. The days are cooling off, and the scenery is very appealing. Starting a physical activity routine in the autumn months are also helpful when the holiday season comes around to help curb any potential over-indulgence. 

Many people choose to wait until New Years to start their workout routine, but the fall is an even better time to start because there are so many opportunities to exercise outside in the crisp fall air; it is a great opportunity to explore new trails in the woods, especially with the beautiful foliage. Many chores around the house such as raking leaves, and cleaning out the garage are also great ways to fit in exercise too.

The fall is also a time where a lot of TV shows start up again, so this is a great chance to incorporate physical activity into your routine. Running on a treadmill while watching TV, or doing lunges between commercial breaks are just a few ideas on how to add physical activity to your life. 

It also is very important to rejuvenate while you start your fitness routine. Getting massages, painting, crafting, sleeping and having a support system are all very important to promoting your overall wellness and set you on the right tract to keep up your routine.

Motivation is one of the biggest factors in keeping up a workout routine, and WebMD has a list of 10 tips on how to stay active during fall. Don’t wait until January to start your work out routine, lace up your sneakers and go out and enjoy the fresh fall air!

Tagged In: Autumn, Fall, Healthy UNH, Physical Activity, work out

Health Costs: What Hangs in the Balance in this Upcoming Presidential Election?

Friday, October 26, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

With the 2012 Presidential Election quickly approaching, it can be nerve-racking for young adults between the ages of 18-25 to see where they will fall with either candidate if President Obama gets re-elected, or if Governor Mitt Romney gets elected. Below is the breakdown of what will happen to some health care costs access and the state of the Affordable Care Act depending on which candidate wins the Presidential Election.

Under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act, young American’s are able to stay on their parents health care plans until the age of 26, allowing them to pay off student loans (assuming they have them) and start saving their own money to begin to afford their own health care premiums once they are off their parents plans. Also under the Affordable Care Act, President Obama is in the midst of stopping health insurance companies from charging women more than men for the same coverage. These costs are ones could potentially set females at a financial disadvantage than their male counterparts.

If Governor Romney gets elected, he proposes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, which would leave many young Americans uninsured, and possibly unable to afford certain health insurance plans. Romney’s next move would be to have each state craft their own health reform plan, which will take many months to create, leaving many Americans uninsured for those times. However, leaving the decision of healthcare coverage to the state will allow each state to cater to individual needs that may be more prevalent in that area of the country. This would make for more efficient distribution of care across the United States.

Above are just a few issues that are hot topics in this presidential election, and ones that the voter should be fully informed about before casting their vote on November 6. Get the facts about both President Obama’s campaign as well as Governor Romney’s campaign, and find out how you and your health costs would be affected under each candidate. 

Tagged In: Affordable Care Act, health costs, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Nutrition

Tough Mudder: Physical Activity With a Cause

Wednesday, October 24, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

This past May, I completed one of the most physically challenging events in my life – it also happened to be one of the most fun events I have ever participated in as well. Tough Mudder came to New England with its epicenter at Mount Snow in Vermont. For three days, thousands of participants came out each day to compete in this 10-mile obstacle course up and down Mount Snow.

The Tough Mudder claims to be one of the hardest events on earth, and the website explains that “Tough Mudder events [is a] hardcore 10-12 mile obstacle courses designed by British Special Forces to test your all around strength, stamina, mental grit, and camaraderie.” From first hand experience, I can attest that all the above are true. However, what this statement fails to recognize is how fun this race can be.

Not only is this race physically challenging and fun, but also it raises money for the Wounded Warrior Project, and has raised over 3 million dollars to date. 

This is a great reason to start training for a physically challenging event, and Tough Mudder is coming to the Boston area in May (the exact location is still TBA). If you sign up now you can still register for the discounted price, but the longer you wait the more the price will go up. Don’t wait, sign up and start training today!

Tagged In: Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Physical Activity, race, Tough Mudder, Wounded Warrior Project

Healthy Foods for Fall

Friday, October 19, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

Fall is the air, and luckily that means some yummy and nutritious fare is back in season. The cooler weather and shorter days promote a growing season for some superfoods that you can’t always find in your farmers markets during the summer. The Daily Green compiled a list of healthy fall food choices you and your friends and family can make in this crisp time of year.<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />

 

Apples topped the list, and are in complete abundance this time of year. There are thousands of species of apples waiting to be picked, and if you take a trip to go apple picking, that’s a great way to sneak in a little exercise while having fun. The antioxidant quercetin resides in the skin of most apples and can help fight off a multitude of diseases.

 

Pumpkins, while great for carving jack-o-lanterns, also boast high values of potassium, beta-carotene and vitamin A. The taste and smell of pumpkin is pretty desirable in these autumn months, and more and more recipes are coming out to help satisfy that seasonal flavor craving.

 

Kale, a dark, leafy, and tasty green that has been showing up in more and more salads in restaurants across the country is a great way to change up your traditional salad and add some vitamin K and beta carotene into your diet. Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that can help shield your immune system from sickness as this cold and flu season picks up.

 

Get a delectable dose of pomegranates this fall and stock up the heart healthy antioxidants and fiber this pretty fruit provides.

 

All these foods and more can be found at your local farmers market or grocer. Don’t let this opportunity to try new foods slip away – Because just like the picturesque days of fall, these foods won’t be in season here for long!

Tagged In: Fall harvest, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Nutrition

UNH Slow Food for Fast Times

Monday, September 17, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

The beginning of the semester is typically the easiest time of the school year to get involved with clubs and organizations on campus, as many of them are recruiting new members to join their ranks at this time. One fantastic organization to get involved with on campus is Slow Food UNH. This organization is one you can feel good about being a part of, as it caters to the food lover and humanitarian in all of us.

Slow Food UNH is a chapter within the larger Slow Food USA. Carlo Petrini started the Slow Food movement in Italy in the mid 1980s in response to the large increase of fast food chains in the world as well as a measure to help preserve regional cuisine.  The Slow Food Movement describes themselves on their website, slowfoodusa.org,  as “an idea, a way of living and a way of eating.” The Slow Food Movement also has many goals too, and the website also describes their core vision: “Food is a common language and a universal right. Slow Food USA envisions a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it, and good for the planet.”

Students from a variety of different educational backgrounds are all welcome to join Slow Food UNH. From foodies to engineers, and everyone in between, this is an area that affects everyone, because we all eat food, and we all deserve to eat the best quality food that is out there. We also all deserve the right to know our foods pedigree, and where it has been before it reaches our plate 

For college students, life can be pretty busy, and extremely fast paced, and it can be easy to settle for low quality fast food. But in these fast times it is important to be cognizant that good, clean, and fair food can be a key to a sound mind and body. 

If you want to be part of Slow Food UNH, they meet in the Entertainment Center in the Memorial Union Building every Wednesday from 6pm to 7pm. 

Tagged In: Club, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett, Slow Foods, Slow Foods USA

Is Your Newsfeed Making You Depressed?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012
By: Kendra Moffett

The number of college students who have a Facebook account greatly outnumber those that do not have one; and for those who do partake in the social networking giant, many visit the site once a day if not more.

As the month of September dawns, the start of a new school year does too, which involves catching up with old friends, and also meeting and connecting with new friends and acquaintances too.

While having a large social network and group of friends has many great benefits, a new study from the article Facebook Takes a Toll On Your Mental Health on nbcnews.com cautions Facebook users that the more friends you have on Facebook, the greater risk you are at for feeling worse about yourself. This is because the more friends you have, the more opportunities there are to peer into someone else’s life, therefore, more opportunities to feel inadequate.

The study found that of those who participated, the Facebook user who had more friends (above 354 friends for this study) were more susceptible to feeling like their lives were inadequate, and were comparing themselves to their friends more often, as well as stimulating unhealthy competition. A University of Houston study also surveyed some undergraduates and discovered that the students who spent more time on Facebook displayed more depressive symptoms than the students who spent less time on Facebook. Of course, that does not mean Facebook causes depression, but of the students studied, those who spent more time on Facebook were the ones who displayed the symptoms of depression more frequently.

The bottom line of this data is to just be wary of what you are actually looking at when you scroll through your newsfeed. Be conscious that Facebook is a medium in which many use to show-off and brag, and realize that all that glitters may not be gold.

But to reduce this risk dramatically, the best thing to do is limit your viewing time on Facebook all together. Especially since classes are picking back up again, it is best to focus all that energy once devoted to Facebook to studying. Doing so will hopefully make for a happier, healthier, more satisfied you. So shut that computer screen and crack open your books, and with any luck a more content you will come out of it.

Tagged In: drepression, Facebook, Healthy, Healthy UNH, Kendra Moffett