Do you have to sit a lot? Flexibility & Function

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By: Reed Phinisey

The start of fall quarter brings a lot of different assignments and studying but more importantly it requires you to sit a bunch. Now I know you are thinking, “Oh gosh. One of these sitting is the new smoking guys”.

I’m not here to scare you but rather bring to light some of the harmful effects of sitting and give you some easy to implement strategies that can help in preventing the damage that sitting can wreak on our bodies.

Sitting can bring a multitude of changes. However, I’m going to focus on flexibility. Staying in a static position, such as sitting, results in changes to our length/tension relationship. Length refers to the muscles being shortened and tension refers to the muscles in opposition to the muscles being shortened.

EX: In a seated position the hip flexors are shortened and the result being the hamstring and glutes becoming outstretched.

This length/tension relationship results in the quads becoming dominant and the hamstrings/glutes becoming weak relative to the quads. A proper length/tension relationship is necessary for proper joint mechanics, injury prevention and daily movement. Sitting causes many such disturbances throughout the body. If ignored they can lead to injury of associated tissues and actual changes to our posture long-term. (Google Janda’s Upper/Lower Cross Syndrome)

Sadly modern life requires us to sit during some parts of our day but with some intention and effort we can reduce its long term effects on our flexibility.

Try these (4) Exercises 1-2x a day for 10-12 reps to break up those long study sessions:

  1. Glute Bridge – https://exrx.net/WeightExercises/GluteusMaximus/BWLyingHipExtension

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  1. Lying Hip Flexion – https://exrx.net/WeightExercises/HipFlexors/BWSimAltLyingLegRaise

Lying hip

  1. Cat/Cow – https://exrx.net/Stretches/ErectorSpinae/CatMovement

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  1. Broomstick Rotations – https://exrx.net/Plyometrics/BroomstickTwist

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If you have any questions, visit the Fitness and Wellness Office in the Activities and Recreation Center.

 

 

Keto diet? Should I try it?

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By Alana Olson, UC Davis Nutrition Peer Counselor

The ketogenic (“keto”) diet is an eating plan that is very low in carbohydrates. The goal is to push the body into using stored fat as its energy source. Most cells use glucose as their preferred fuel, but in its absence, they will start to break down fat—a process called ketosis.

Without carbohydrates, these diets are high in fat and protein, which can be an issue. Some individuals end up choosing foods that are high in saturated fats, sodium and cholesterol (think meats, butter, bacon, cheese) because many other foods are restricted due to carbohydrate content. We know that this is not good for long-term health.

The keto diet was originally developed as a method of treating symptoms associated with epilepsy but is now being used, by the general public, as a means of losing weight. Though some studies have indicated that the ketogenic diet may be an effective way to lose weight and possibly improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes, its effects are generally pretty short-term. It is also very restrictive and tends to be hard to maintain over an extended period of time. Cutting out food groups can lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially for individuals without sufficient knowledge of nutrition.

Following a strict ketogenic diet can also result in a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis, in which the body stores too many ketones (acids produced as a byproduct of burning fat) and the blood becomes too acidic, causing damage to the liver, kidneys, and brain.

Weight loss and good health are most successfully attained when one follows a well-balanced and realistic lifestyle that can be followed over an extended period of time. It is also important to remember that since we are all different, what works for others may not work for us and vice versa. If you are considering going on a ketogenic diet, talk to your healthcare providers about the costs and benefits of doing so based on your own individual nutritional needs.

Source Consulted:

Campos, M., MD. (2018, July 06). Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you? Retrieved from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketogenic-diet-is-the-ultimate-low-carb-diet-good-for-you-2017072712089

A new school year begins…

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Welcome to academic 18-19!  As you dive into the hectic Fall quarter, keep in mind that taking time to care for yourself goes a long way towards emerging at the other end having accomplished your goals.  There are so many resources around you on campus and in the community to help in times of stress.

The Student Health and Counseling Center has your back for anything healthcare related as well as excellent advice on Self Care for the Busy College Student.  Check it out!

We are the Healthy Aggies, a group of students passionate about nutrition and living a healthy life. We emphasize striving for a balanced diet as a way to achieve wellness, and we promote health as a life time goal!  We host nutrition and food activities all around campus to advocate for health!

Where to find us:

UC Davis Farmers Market, Wednesdays, 11am – 1:30pm, Oct 3 through Nov 7.  We have some fresh local produce for you to sample.  Stop by and pick up a recipe and taste UC Davis’ own olive oil and vinegars.

Free Nutrition Drop-in services at the Aggie Compass, Memorial Union.

Mondays:  2 – 4pm with Rheanna

Tuesdays:  11am – 1pm with Zona

Wednesdays:  12 – 2pm with Joel

Thursdays:  1 – 3pm with Alana

Fridays:  11am – 1pm with Haley

We would love for you to stop by and share how you fit healthy eating into your busy schedule.  The peer counselors are graduating seniors in Nutrition studies and are ready to answer any questions you have or share how they make healthy eating happen!

Instagram  Watch for our contests!  Engage with our posts.

Facebook We look forward to seeing you there!

Sign up for our newsletter so you don’t miss a thing!

Tips for Staying Cool this Summer

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By Rebekah Shulman, Dietitian Assistant

Summer is finally here! Whether you’re staying in Davis or traveling elsewhere, these tips on how to stay cool in the summer heat may come in handy over the next couple months, especially if you don’t have AC.  Here are seven quick tips to beat the heat and stay hydrated this summer.

1. Fill a spray bottle with water and keep it in the refrigerator to use as a quick refreshing spray after being outdoors.

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2. Avoid caffeine and alcohol, as these will promote dehydration

3. Instead of large, hot meals, try lighter, more frequent cold meals or snacks.  Choose salads, fresh raw food, vegetables and fruit.  Avoid eating meat and protein-heavy foods , which can increase metabolic heat production.  Large meals will also produce more heat for your body to process.  Here are a few cooling summer recipes to try out:

Easy three ingredient popsicles

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Berry Watermelon Fruit Salad

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Easy Gazpacho Recipe

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4. Keep blinds and curtains closed during the day to keep hot air outside. Open windows at night to enjoy the cool evening air.

5. Rinse your wrists and/or feet with cold water before you go to sleep, which has a full-body cooling effect.

6. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink.  Monitor your urine color to ensure that you’re staying hydrated.

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7. Wear sunscreen when you’re exposed to the sun; SPF 15 at the minimum, but preferably SPF 30 or higher.

In addition to staying cool this summer, don’t forget to relax and de-stress from finals madness!  Have a great summer, Aggies!

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Why should I eat locally?

By Jessica Bonilla, Dietitian Assistant

Have you ever wonder why we can eat certain fruits, such as bananas and pineapples, that don’t grow in the area naturally? Or how are we able to get certain vegetables all year round even when they’re not in season? Surprisingly, the food industry has been taking care of this issue for decades, and the seasons and distance are no longer an obstacle to get the food we want at any point of the year. However, not all of us are aware of the implications that these actions may have in the long run because we don’t see it directly.

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Clearly, there are fruits and vegetables that are not produced in the US due to the environment and soil conditions (for example tropical fruits, such as mango and papaya) which only grow in very specific areas. This type of produce is usually imported from other countries, which implies huge expenses in transport, conservation techniques, and huge carbon monoxide emissions.

By consuming locally, we can avoid this mass production, which is not based in seasons, natural cycles and biodiversity and that encourages cultivating only a few types of fruits and vegetables. Here are five reasons why you should buy locally:

  • Fresh fruit and veggies

Seasonally fresh fruits are picked up when they are at their peak and therefore will have a more optimal flavor versus the fruits that have traveled thousands of miles and got harvested way before they were ripped.

A bag full of carrots on the soil in Dambulla

  • Reduces carbon footprint

Local produce doesn’t have to travel long distances, which will result in a reduction in energy consumption and greenhouse gases. Also, it will be cheaper because transport charges are not added.

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  • Support local businesses

Money invested locally will help farmers and the money will stay at our local community, which will benefit all of us directly.

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  • Increase your creativity

By having a wide variety fruits and veggies every season, you will be able to challenge yourself to cook differently and to use your creativity.

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  • Increases education and makes you more aware about where your food comes from

We are usually disconnected from the food process. We don’t know how and where our food is produced, and this perception can affect the agricultural process and the way we consume foods.

Serving Sizes: a visual guide

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By Rebekah Shulman, Dietitian Assistant 

When’s the last time you measured out half a cup of ice cream, ate exactly 15 chips, or leveled out two tablespoons of peanut butter? You may be surprised about what a serving of these common foods actually looks like.  While using measuring utensils and counting calories isn’t necessary to maintain a healthy diet, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the recommended serving sizes for the foods you’re eating on a daily basis, particularly if they’re calorie dense.

Below are some visual representations to think about the next time you reach for a pint of ice cream, a bag of trail mix, or a jar of peanut butter.

Peanut Butter

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Serving size = 2 Tablespoons

Pasta

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Serving size: ½ cup, or a tennis ball

Ice Cream

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Serving size = ½ cup, or a tennis ball

*This means that there are 4 servings per pint!

Trail mix

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Serving size: ¼ cup, or a golf ball, or a small handful

Almonds

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Servings size: 1 oz or 24 nuts

Potato Chips

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Serving size: 1 oz or 15 chips

Granola

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Serving size: ¼ cup or an egg

Oreos

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Serving size: 2 cookies

Salad dressing

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Serving size: 2 Tablespoons

Did any of these surprise you? It’s unnecessary to obsess over exact measurements, but being mindful of your portions can help you reach your health goals. As you can see, many “healthy” foods are higher in calories, fat, and/or sugar than you may think. Furthermore, eating smaller portions leaves room for a larger variety of foods within your daily intake, which can help you reach your macro- and micro- nutrient requirements.

 

Are you a supertaster?

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by Jessica Bonilla, Dietitian Assistant

It has been demonstrated that there are different ways in which people perceive the intensity of food. A supertaster is someone that can perceive the intensity of a flavor stronger than the average person. Supertasters tend to taste certain foods, such as vegetables and black coffee, very bitter.  Actually, it’s believed that only 25% of the population are supertasters, (the majority of them being women) and that their preferences for sweet and bitter foods is highly reduced. Non-tasters, on the other hand, have a reduced palatability and sensitivity compared to the average person. Lastly, regular tasters, which comprise around 50% of the population, are in between supertasters and non-tasters and have average sensitivity.

Sensitivity is determined by the number of taste buds on the tongue: the more taste buds you have, the stronger the perception of the flavor. Supertasters have a high amount of taste buds while non-tasters have only a few. These taste buds, which are small bumps that are located in the surface of the tongue, allow us to perceive five different elements: salty, sweet, umami, sour and bitter.

It’s still not known why exactly why women are more likely than men to fall into the category of supertaster. One theory suggests that this is because women, when pregnant, may prevent possible toxins going into the baby and protect it by being more sensitive to bitter and acidic flavors.

Supertasters tend to be described as “picky eaters” and usually don’t consume a wide variety food. A way to increase veggie consumption among them is by combining them with other foods in purees and smoothies. It is believed that supertasters are thinner and to have a lower body mass index (BMI) compared to normal tasters and non-tasters because they tend to eat less, however, there is still not enough evidence to support the idea taste intensity is related to weight gain.

To determine if you are supertaster, you can make this easy test at home by counting the number of the papillae on your tongue HERE.