Help Me Be Healthy!


Good health is more valuable than all the money in the world. Yet, organic products that contribute to good health are usually much more expensive than the cheap, toxic products that are so easily available. Pure, organic food, items are sometimes out of reach for the budget-conscious college student and we have to resort to using whatever we can buy at McLanahan’s.  I would like to give some suggestions/ ideas on how to adjust your life with little changes that will make a difference and are convenient for us especially with our busy schedules. 

1. Try and eat fresh organic fruits and vegetables as often as possible. 
Not everyone is able or ready to grow their own food but it is still important to consider finding a source of fresh produce that can last. For example there is a farmer’s market downtown during the fall that has an abundant amount of fresh produce and that is very convenient.  Also during the winter months, make sure that you grab a piece of fresh fruit on the way out of the dining halls.  Many people do not know that they can have a carry out piece of fruit with each meal and this is a great way to get the daily serving of fruit you need.  For other people with green thumbs, they can join a community garden (there is one on our campus!)
2.   Pack a lunch and take it with you to class
            So what if you feel like a dork? Grow up already. Prepare your own lunch and take it with you. You’ll be less tempted by cafeteria and fast food. You can also keep leftovers for a snack or another meal later.
What, you have a food card? Awesome. Save your food credit for days when you’re in a hurry (have tests or a hot lunch date). That way you can afford healthier food rather than eat the cheap stuff.
If you think you cannot spend the money for quality, organic foods, add up all your eating out expenses and the chips and dips and other processed yummy food and snack expenditures. Processed foods have unhealthy additives that make you eat more. That can add up to an expensive addiction.  
Here is a little video I would like everyone to watch to get you excited about eating fruits and vegtables.  Enjoy!
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Everything You Ever Wondered about Antioxidants

Have you heard about these things but never really known what they were or what their function was? Well, here is your chance! Welcome to everything you need to know about antioxidants.  Antioxidants are substances that may protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. Free radical damage may lead to cancer. Antioxidants interact with and stabilize free radicals, which might prevent some of the damage free radicals might otherwise cause.
Wait a minute ….how exactly do they work is what I am guessing what you will ask next.  Antioxidants neutralize free radicals as the natural by-product of normal cell processes. Free radicals are molecules with incomplete electron shells, which make them more chemically reactive than those with complete electron shells.  Think balance is good and unbalanced is bad!
 Exposure to various environmental factors, including cigarette/tobacco smoke and radiation, can also lead to free radical formation. In humans, the most common form of free radicals is oxygen. When an oxygen molecule (O2) becomes electrically charged or “radicalized” it attempts to steal electrons from other molecules, causing damage to the DNA and other molecules. Over time, such damage may become irreversible and lead to disease including cancer. Antioxidants are often described as “mopping up” free radicals, meaning they neutralize the electrical charge and prevent the free radical from taking electrons from other molecules. 
Well now that I know about this what should I do?  Well it is suggested that food provides a great source of antioxidants and which is why many foods have been singled out for their antioxidant powers.
·       Beta-carotene is found in many foods that are orange in color, including sweet potatoes, carrots, cantaloupe, squash, apricots, pumpkin, and mangos. Some green, leafy vegetables, including collard greens, spinach, and kale, are also rich in beta-carotene.
·       Lutein, best known for its association with healthy eyes, is abundant in green, leafy vegetables such as collard greens, spinach, and kale.
·       Lycopene is a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes, watermelon, guava, papaya, apricots, pink grapefruit, blood oranges, and other foods.
·       Selenium is a component of antioxidant enzymes. Plant foods like rice and wheat are the major dietary sources of selenium in most countries. The amount of selenium in soil, which varies by region, determines the amount of In the United States, meats and bread are common sources of dietary selenium.
·       Foods rich in vitamin A include liver, sweet potatoes, carrots, milk, egg yolks, and mozzarella cheese.
·       Vitamin Cis also called ascorbic acid, and can be found in high abundance in many fruits and vegetables and is also found in cereals, beef, poultry, and fish.
·       Vitamin E is found in almonds, in many oils including wheat germ, safflower, corn, and soybeanoils, and is also found in mangos, nuts, broccoli, and other foods.
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So I eat these foods and I will no longer be at risk for cancer or other conditions caused by exposure to free radicals right? WRONG! There has been a large amount of laboratory evidence that indicates antioxidants may slow or possibly prevent the development of cancer. However, information from recent clinical trials is less clear.  More studies are being done presently in order to determine their real effects.  But in the meantime it wouldn’t hurt to integrate antioxidants into your diet and lifestyle.  Many of the foods that contain these little wonders are super healthy and good for you so why not eat them. Make a little change and it could possibly prevent you from many ailments in the future.    

Thirsty??

As a college student temptations and unhealthy meal options are all around us in the dining halls, convenience stores, and fast food restaurants.  We choose these options because of their easy access, quickness, and affordability.  But the question I am posing is at what cost?
I know what cost all to well…hello freshman 15, hello sluggishness, and hello acne.  It seems like even when I work out but I feed my body unhealthy food I still feel down and not at my best.  This is why I have come up with an easy change that you can make to your diet right now!  My first idea is……….Soda Be Gone!!!
            The real question is why do we continue to drink it when we know it is bad for us! When soda is consumed between meals and sipped over a long period of time, sugar remains in the mouth for prolonged periods of time.  Picture rotting brown teeth riddled with cavities.  Yum right? More shocking is the impact soda consumption has on increasing obesity rates, hyperactivity, osteoporosis, dietary deficiencies, and caffeine dependence in children or young adults.  All of these great side effects seem like they don’t affect you but they do!  By cutting soda out of your diet you avoid these side effects and gain even more health benefits.  Also word of caution, diet soda is not a better alternative. One 12-ounce diet cola contains 200 milligrams of aspartame, or the equivalent of six blue packets of a sugar substitute. There are over 92 different health effects associated with aspartame consumption including headaches, birth defects, diabetes, emotional disorders and seizures.  Fun fact airline pilots aren’t allowed to eat foods containing aspartame because it affects their judgment, which is documented by real incidents and situations that have occurred.   Wow I bet you are thirsty now!
            As I wrap up this post, I would like to leave you with some alternatives to soda especially if your reason as a college student is I need the caffeine.   Personally, I resort to drinking caffeinated tea, which I believe is one of the best options.  Also, if you are eating healthy foods and a well-balanced diet you will feel more energized and won’t need the caffeine as much.  A word of precaution though is many health websites do not recommend replacing soda with a fruit juice or milk even though they may seem healthier.  As I said in my earlier post the health benefits of water are amazing and cannot compete with any other substance. By drinking water you will never go wrong!  Look out for more posts like these in the future with tips that can apply to your everyday life and help make it healthier one step at a time.