Staying Healthy While Traveling

travel

By Wilson Ho

With spring approaching, we’re headed toward peak travel time. Here are tips on how to stay healthy while being away from home.  Whether you are in a different country or in a different state, it’s important for you keep the same mindful habits while traveling no matter where your adventures take you.

  1. Stay hydrated

One of the most imperative habits to keep up daily basis is staying hydrated.  Staying hydrated can be a preventative measure against the common cold and headaches.  When you drink enough water you will also feel energized and awake!

When abroad in a different country, the water filtration system may be different from what you’re used to at home; beware of drinking from the tap and consider always having bottled water on hand. Traveling with a hydration pack can make it more convenient if there are not a lot of grocery stores around. Find a list of hydration packs here!

  1. Eat fruits and vegetables

With all the delicious cuisines to try while  in a foreign place, remember to still include fruits and vegetables into your diet! Although it’s tempting to snack on the variety of desserts and snacks, keeping your plate balanced will maintain the highest energy levels for all the places you adventure to. An easy way to get your daily dose of fruits is by going to a nearby market or grocery store and buying the local fruits and veggies to keep in your hotel– enjoy them as a snack whenever you are hungry!  Another benefit of going to a local grocery store is that you can try all the regional fruits that are unique to its area.

  1. Stay active

Depending on how you are traveling, you may already be doing a lot of walking or you may just be in a car all day. Always remember to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day.  Staying active will give you an extra boost on burning off all the desserts that you are sampling.  One option you may consider is going on a run in a brand new place, like a local park, hiking trail, or even a jog around the city streets!.  You will have the benefits of getting your exercise in as well as seeing different parts of the community.

  1. Sleep

With all the excitement being in a new environment, you run the risk of exhausting yourself from exploring new places all and meeting new people. That’s why it is essential to get enough sleep!  With the right amount of rest, you’ll be reenergized and ready to go sightseeing.  The culture shock can distract you from getting the adequate rest, so remember that 6-8 hours is your optimal amount of sleep.  Even naps (or siestas, if you’re abroad in Spain or Latin America) are an effective way of quickly replenishing your energy supply. According to The sleep Foundation, twenty-minute naps are the most effective.

Traveling is both an energy draining but exhilarating experience—make the most of it by preparing yourself with these travel health tips. Keep your daily habits of adequate water intake, sleep, mindful eating, and exercise intact to to maintain your overall well-being so you’re on top of your health both when you’re abroad and when you return home. Happy travels, Aggies!

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/adults/

https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-topics/napping

Powering Through the Winter Blues

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By Bernice Kwan

Winter quarter can be tough on many people. With the holiday season gone, the lack of sunshine and biting cold, it can be hard to stay on top of day-to-day activities. Sometimes, staying healthy in the wintertime can pose a whole other challenge in itself. However there are many things you can do to make sure you are treating your body right during this cold weather season.

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a common form of depression that comes with the changes in seasons; there are about 3 million people in the US suffering from SAD today. With SAD, the lack of sunlight causes the brain to produce more melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates your sleep patterns and has been linked to depression. One may find themselves feeling irritable, having low energy, having trouble sleeping, and experiencing weight gain.

Whether or not you are experiencing the full effects of SAD, you may be burdened by some of these symptoms, and could use some spirit lifting. Here are some tips and tricks to fight the frost!

Go for morning walks – It may be a challenge to find the motivation to get out of bed and go for a walk first thing in the morning but getting through this first obstacle can help you prepare your body for the rest of your day! This is because the direct sunlight entering your eyes jumpstarts your body’s internal clock to start the day. Take a stroll in the arboretum before heading to class, or just stop and take a minute to soak up whatever sun you can before going into lecture.

Spend quality time with friends – Whether or not you feel like it applies to you, people are social beings. We need support from one another, and sometimes, all it takes is a conversation with a friend to satisfy that need of human connection. Hit up a friend or two and ask them to join you for that morning arboretum stroll!

Get your blood flowing – Exercise is one of the most effective ways to alleviate a dampened mood and reduce anxiety levels. For a twist on your typical exercise regime, try doing yoga. Yoga has a wide range of benefits that help your mind and body relax. Check out this article for some insight on why you should start doing yoga!

https://healthyaggies.com/2016/12/21/why-college-students-need-yoga/

Avoid processed foods – Processed foods generally have a higher glycemic index. This means that it spikes up your blood glucose levels after a meal, but later drops it lower than it was prior to the meal. This is sometimes known as “sugar-crash.” The result of this reduced energy, which could worsen an already sluggish mood from the winter blues. Instead, eat more complex carbs, which have lower glycemic index, found in things like vegetables, beans, and fruit.

The winter months can be a challenge, but remember that the sun will shine again! Be mindful this winter season to stay happy and healthy, but remember, you can always reach out if you need help. UC Davis offers a wide range of mental and physical programs to make sure all aspects of your life are in check. For more information, check out the Student Health and Counseling Services website.

https://shcs.ucdavis.edu/

 

Resources

http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/beating-winters-woes#1

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/basics/definition/con-20021047

http://www.apa.org/monitor/2011/12/exercise.aspx

http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/what-can-i-eat/understanding-carbohydrates/glycemic-index-and-diabetes.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/seasonal-affective-disorder-sad.htm

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolution Fitness Goals

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By Bree Weeden

We’re already one month into 2017, so it’s time to assess how well you’ve been doing on your New Year’s resolutions. Did you promise you’d actually work out more this year? If you’ve been struggling to keep that resolution check out these helpful tips!

1. Pencil It In
Pull up your school, work, and personal schedules and find any overlapping free time. Then, pencil your gym time into your schedule for every week. Treat working out just like you treat going to class or work – you wouldn’t just not show up for your shift, so you shouldn’t just skip the gym!

2. Find a Friend
Working out with a friend or two has multiple health benefits. Most importantly, you can hold each other accountable. You’ll be less likely to skip a workout if you have other people counting on you. In addition, partner exercises are fun ways to challenge each other to try new things. An exciting new workout class or weight machine will seem less scary with a friend!

3. Track Your Exercise
Free apps such as MyFitnessPal and PumpUp let you track your daily exercise and even provide you with fun personalized workouts. If you’re willing to spend a little extra cash, fitness tracking devices like Fitbits log your exercise for you by monitoring your movement and heartrate. Fitbit also tracks your sleep and lets you have fun competitions with your friends!

4. Go Shopping
If you’re anything like me, you usually work out in all of your free tanks and tees from various UCD clubs and events. While these shirts seem like great workout attire, most are made of cotton or cotton blends and absorb sweat rather than release it. I recommend you invest in some real exercise apparel that wicks sweat away to enhance performance from brands such as Lululemon, Victoria’s Secret, Nike, or Adidas. In addition, if you purchase workout clothes that you actually like and feel confident in, you’ll want to wear them more often and thus will want to go to the gym more (#science).

5. Fix Your Music
An effective workout playlist should consist of songs which match your elevated heart rate. Pick songs with a speed from 120 to 190 bpm (beats per minute). Spotify makes great playlists designed for cardio, weightlifting, and other types of workouts!

Hopefully these tips help motivate you to get fit in 2017! We’ll see you at the ARC, Healthy Aggies!

Nutritional Benefits of Non-Dairy Milks

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By Elizabeth von Klan

Although cow’s milk remains a staple beverage in our culture, there’s still a variety of non-dairy milk options to choose from, like soy, rice, almond, and coconut milks. With so many choices, it can be difficult to know which non-dairy milk to choose. Here is a short n’ sweet guide on how to switch up your dairy routine with the benefits of each alternative milk choice!

Soy Milk
Soy milk is often forgotten as a fantastic protein source. It’s a great option for vegans that still need to fulfill their protein needs, or can’t resist a bit of milk in their daily cup of coffee. Drink more soy milk in the morning to allow proper protein digestion throughout the day, and to balance out the higher intake of protein eaten at dinner time.

Rice Milk
For those looking to lower their cholesterol levels, all plant milks are cholesterol free. Although rice milk doesn’t have the protein that soy milk has, it can be a great option when a soy allergy is present. It is also fortified with all of the vitamins and minerals usually found in cow’s milk, like calcium or Vitamin A and D.

Almond Milk
If healthy skin is what you want, almond milk contains plenty of Vitamin E to keep your skin supple and soft. In addition to the many vitamins and minerals almond milk has, it even contains fiber, often forgotten in our diets due to inadequate consumption of vegetables. However, its protein content is not as rich as soy, so don’t rely it on a major source of protein.

Coconut Milk
Coconut milk is different in composition from almond, rice, and soy milk because of its high saturated fat content; however, the fatty acids found in coconut milk have been proven to lowering risk of heart disease. Look for “cold-pressured” coconut milk that’s been less processed and still contains a higher concentration of vitamins and minerals.

Here’s an extra tip: Try to avoid milks flavored vanilla or chocolate to maximize your nutritional benefits and prevent consumption of excess added sugars.
http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-food/the-amazing-world-of-plant-based-milks-rice-milk-choices/
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/beverage/soymilk.html
http://www.nextavenue.org/milk-alternatives-are-they-really-better-you-or-it-hype/
https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/almond-milk.html

Useful Herbs and Their Effects

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By Bernice Kwan

When scanning the produce section of the grocery store, most people are aware that fruits and veggies provide a good dose of nutrients; but did you ever consider herbs? Herbs typically refer to the leafy green or flowering part of plants that are used in food, flavoring, medicine, and fragrances.

Though herbs tend to be put under the radar, they have a very rich history and prominent presence in many cultures and societies. They are traditionally used to make teas, ointments and rubs, aromas, and are incorporated in nearly every recipe to add flavor. Some people also believe that herbs offer potent healing properties.

Seeing as they are so widely and diversely used around the world, here is a breakdown of a few herbs and what they have to offer:

Sage

Sage is one of the most praised herbs for its expansive usability. Studies show that sage has antibacterial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, free radical scavenging, and antitumor activities. For these reasons, it has been used in medicinal teas for centuries. It has been linked to improved diabetic conditions, memory and cognition, and even elevated mood among a whole list of other health benefits. Time to pick up some sage tea!

Ginkgo

Ginkgo leaves are best known for its effects on blood and memory. It contains an active ingredient that promotes blood flow and for this reason, researchers believe that the increase blood flow to the brain improves memory. Consider brewing some ginkgo tea if you feel the need for a memory boost but do not take any ginkgo supplements before asking your doctor!

Basil

Basil is commonly used in recipes to add a flavorful punch or to give a soothing aroma. It contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Fresh basil is also packed with Vitamin K which is commonly found in spinach, cauliflower, kale, and cabbage. Not to mention, it adds a nice flavor to many foods!

Rosemary

There is much to praise about rosemary, from it’s irreplaceable aroma, to its ease of use, it seems as if we just can’t get enough. You may be happy to hear that rosemary is a great source of Vitamin A, Thiamin and Magnesium, Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, and Iron. Also, similar to ginkgo, it promotes blood flow. Next time you take a walk around Davis, keep an eye out for some rosemary and use it in your home cooked meals (but make sure you wash anything that you pick up walking through the neighborhood)

This list of beneficial herbs go on and there is so much to learn about each one of them! Use herbs mindfully and incorporate them into your cooking as a way to cut down on salt, and always ask your doctor before taking any supplements!

 

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003706/

http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/ginkgo-biloba

http://www.aafp.org/afp/1999/0301/p1239.html

https://nccih.nih.gov/health/kava

http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/beautiful-basil

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-154-rosemary.aspx?activeingredientid=154&

 

Grab and Go Breakfast Ideas!

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By Annika Altura

In the face of 8 AMs, pure, utter, laziness, and the lack of any culinary skills, skipping the first meal of the day, and drowning yourself in some food truck rice bowl once the hunger rolls around a few hours later is completely understandable. Even I find myself guilty of throwing on clothes, grabbing my keys and biking to class with a grumbling stomach.

You’ve heard it a bunch of times: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” Personally, what’s in the back of my mind is Spongebob chanting ~“breakfast is the most important meal of the day, serving it up, Gary’s way!”~ In high school I remember running out the door with three hours of sleep behind me, making sure I could get out as fast as possible to make the bus.

Going back into eating breakfast every morning was a little bit of a struggle at first, because it forced me to get up a little bit earlier and sacrifice my beloved sleep, but I realized that having something in my stomach spiked my metabolism and replenished my glucose levels, overall making me more energized for the rest of the day. Here’s a few ways that you can get your food fix without having to spend too much time making it in the morning:

  • Granola Bars

Granola bars are honestly one of my pantry staples in college. They’re light, easy to take around, and they taste amazing too. Kids health states that these snacks are a great way to satisfy hunger and get all the vitamins that your body needs without overfilling you for later. There are so many out there that you can choose from, and they aren’t too expensive if you buy them in bulk. My personal favorites are CLIF’s Nut Butter Filled Bars, and KIND’s Dark Chocolate and Sea Salt Bars. The slight sweetness of the bars, and the high protein content from the nuts will keep everyone going until their next meal. Pair with a piece of fruit to balance this on-the-go meal.

  • Yogurt parfait

Try this: Greek yogurt, honey, nuts, any fruit that you want, and even chia seeds if you’d like to be a little bit fancy. This breakfast is refreshing and filling without having to be heavy, and according to the Dairy Council of California, Greek yogurt both has probiotics and high protein content, as well as both calcium and potassium, making it a great combination to start your day.

  • Overnight oats

This might require a little bit of prep. Take ½ a cup of oatmeal, ½ a cup of milk, and mix it together in some kind of mason jar or any container. From there, you can add whatever you want to it! My favorite combinations are chocolate, peanut butter, or mango and coconut. Once you’re done, refrigerate it overnight, and stick it in your backpack in the morning. Don’t forget a spoon too! The whole grains council states that oatmeal is great for breakfast since it’s high in fiber and helps prevent heart disease.

  • Frittata

Everyone loves eggs in the morning, not everyone has the time to make them. Luckily, frittatas can be made ahead, and are good not only for breakfast, but for any time of day. Once you make the frittata, cut it into wedges and refrigerate. Heat it up in the morning however you like, and you’ll be on your way. Here’s a link to a great, simple and easy frittata recipe as well: http://spoonuniversity.com/recipe/fontina-frittata

Breakfast doesn’t have to be a chore. Plan ahead! You don’t want to skimp on nutrients. Your brain will thank you later when you’re trying to use it to memorize all those formulas.

Resources:

http://spoonuniversity.com/recipe/fontina-frittata

http://www.livestrong.com/article/404122-the-importance-of-eating-a-healthy-breakfast

http://healthyeating.sfgate.com/brain-food-breakfast-6820.html

http://kidshealth.org/en/teens/healthy-snacks.html

http://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/easy-ways-enjoy-whole-grains/grain-month-calendar/oats-–-january-grain-month

http://www.healthyeating.org/Milk-Dairy/Nutrients-in-Milk-Cheese-Yogurt/Yogurt-Nutrition.aspx

 

 

3 Easy (and Healthy) Dorm Room Desserts

chia

By Bree Weeden

These sweet treats are easy as pie – and much healthier!

Banana Chia Pudding:

Ingredients:

  • 1 banana
  • ¾ cup non-fat milk
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • Optional: 1 tsp vanilla and/or cinnamon

In a bowl (or mason jar if you’re feeling special) smash the banana with a fork, then add milk and chia seeds and mix well. Cover and refrigerate overnight (at least 8 hours).

Peanut Butter Rice Cereal Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cups puffed rice cereal
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Combine peanut butter and honey in a bowl and microwave for 1 minute. Stir in cereal until thoroughly mixed, then transfer to a glass dish and cool in the fridge for half an hour. Top with melted chocolate chips.

Microwave Baked Apples

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Core the apple to create a makeshift bowl. Fill hole with brown sugar and cinnamon, then place in a deep dish and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, or until the apple is soft and your dorm smells like warm apple pie.

Keeping a few of these key ingredients in your dorm cupboard will allow all sorts of creative desserts that are much healthier than other alternatives—let your inner chef explore and whip up some of these snacks for studying! If you create any of these dorm desserts, tag us at @ucdhealthyaggies on Instagram or Healthy Aggies at UC Davis on Facebook!