No time to be sick?

tissues

Source: BestProducts.com

By: Vivian Siu, Healthy Aggies Nutrition Intern

Can you believe it’s week 7 already? With the second wave of midterms, work, internships, and everything else in between, what could be the cherry on top? It’s the feeling that you’re about to catch a cold or even worse, the flu. For me, the last thing I’d want to do is rest since I know I’d fall behind. Well, what should you do then if you find yourself with a cold or the flu? Here are some tips to help you avoid getting sick or to help you recover!

  1.     Get some rest and relax – lots of it.

As a busy college student, time is of the essence. Resting doesn’t always seem like a good use of time because that’s time that could be spent studying, working, or hanging out with friends. However, it’s important to allow your body to rest, in order to help it fight off any infections. Another benefit of resting is that you lessen the chances of passing your cold to someone else by decreasing the exposure rate to others. It’s important to relax as well, because stress can prolong the length of your illness and make you feel worse.  

  1.     Stay hydrated!

Most people believe that drinking more fluids “flushes out” the cold, but in actuality, it rebalances the electrolytes and blood volume in your body. When the body is dehydrated, the body doesn’t perform as well causing our blood to thicken. Which then makes the heart focus on improving blood circulation, instead of focusing on fighting the infection. In addition, drinking hot fluids can help soothe sore throats and congestion. Specifically, hot tea has natural bacteria-fighting compounds, and chicken soup contains an amino acid, cysteine, that is known to remedy nose congestion and persistent coughs. But if you’re looking for something more simple, just add lemon slices to your water!

  1.     Wash your hands often.

As simple as this may sound, it makes a big difference. How often do you find yourself touching your eyes, mouth, and nose? Well, these are all openings for bacteria to get in which can cause you to get sick. Bacteria from your hands can also transfer to objects such as door handles which increases the risk of infecting other people.

  1.     Eat nutrient-dense food.  

If you’re like me, I tend to lose my appetite when I’m feeling sick. However, during times of sickness, it’s even more important to have enough nutrients so you provide your body with enough energy and resources to fight off the infection. Here are some foods that I incorporate into my diet when I’m feeling sick.

  • Fruits

My personal favorite are citrus fruits because they’re so refreshing. Many people tend to go for vitamin C supplements when they’re feeling sick. However, fruits like oranges, kiwis, and lemons contain flavonoids, which can boost your immune system and speed up your recovery.

***Note, if you experience symptoms of an upset stomach, you might want to avoid citrus foods because the acidity can further irritate your stomach.

  • Ginger

Put it on anything and everything! Personally, I’m not a fan of ginger tea because of the spicy burn that accompanies it. My go-to meal is chopping up the ginger and adding it into rice porridge. I swear-by this remedy because it instantly helps me breathe better. This is because ginger is a natural expectorant, meaning it can help break down and remove mucus; thus, it clears up your sinuses and helps you breathe better.

Everyone gets sick. But eating nutrient dense foods and being active can help prevent you from getting sick often and, along with plenty of rest, help you feel better faster. Another preventative measure is to get your seasonal flu shot. For UC Davis students, you can schedule an appointment to get your flu shot over at the Student Health and Wellness Center. For more information, visit their website here.

 

Valentine’s Day Alternatives?

chocolate heart

By Michele Lum, Healthy Aggies Intern, UC Davis

It’s that time of the year again, where loved ones show their appreciation toward each other by enjoying a romantic dinner together or exchanging sweets. Sweets can have a negative impact on your health, so does that mean you shouldn’t eat any on this special day? Absolutely not. Although it is recommended to avoid consuming too many sweets on a daily basis, it is okay to treat yourself once in a while. At the same time, it’s good to keep some alternatives in mind. Here are 5 easy ways you can make your Valentine’s Day healthier and more meaningful.

 

  • Opt for Dark Chocolate

 

Dark chocolate has a lot of health benefits! Quality dark chocolate, which are those with a high percentage of cocoa, has less sugar and can be pretty nutritious. It contains fiber, iron, magnesium, and a lot more. It is also a good source of antioxidants, which help decrease inflammation in our body. Short term inflammation can lead to acne and long-term inflammation can lead to chronic diseases. If dark chocolate is too bitter for you, milk chocolate isn’t the worst option. Just be aware that it contains less nutrients and has more added sugars and creams. Going off of that, white chocolate contains no cocoa solids meaning it has none of the nutrients that dark and milk chocolate do, and is loaded with sugar and cream, making it the least healthy of the three.

2)    Chocolates that Pack a Healthier Punch

Chocolate covered fruit is another way to go. You can buy a box of strawberries or blueberries and dip them into melted chocolate; this way you can receive the nutritional values of the fruits while enjoying the harmony of flavors. If you don’t have enough time to buy fruits and melt chocolate, there’s always the option to buy fruit/nut coated chocolate.

3)    Buy Other Kinds Valentine’s Gifts

Rather than buying chocolate for your Valentine, maybe opt for a stuffed animal or roses. The stuffed animal can keep your partner company while you are out. It has also been said that plushies are able to help with anxiety and depression. The roses can spread their fragrant scent around the house and are also very appealing to the eye.

4)    Cook a Healthy Meal Together

What better way to spend time with your loved one than to cook together? It would be more economical than going out to a fancy restaurant and it could be healthier too. A lot of time for adults or college students, different things like work and school can get in the way of seeing your significant other. Spending those few hours together to cook would be a great and fun way to catch up. It will also help you learn about each other’s food preferences and different skills in the kitchen. Want to make the meal more romantic? You can set some flowers on the table, light some candles, and maybe play some Italian music.

5)    Go on a walk or hike together

Conveniently, this year’s winter in Davis is a lot warmer than usual. You should take advantage of that, grab a water bottle, put on a pair of sneakers and head out to enjoy nature’s beauty alongside your beauty. Maybe you can stroll around the arboretum or even downtown. It would be a cute way to work off some of the calories gained from the sweets or your romantic meal ; it is also the perfect time to spend time talking to each other.

Keeping these tips in mind can help enhance your Valentine’s Day experience and make it more meaningful. If you’re a late planner these tips don’t seem feasible for you, then it is perfectly fine to go out and purchase sweets for your loved ones, just remember that everything is safe in moderation.

What is happening behind all of those temporary walls in the Activity and Recreation Center (ARC)?

Guest Post by:  Deb Johnson, Director, Activities and Recreation Center, UC Davis

This may be a question you are asking yourself or hearing others discuss. We promise you that the growing pains you are experiencing with our expansion project will be worth the wait.

“Wait” is a word that is tough for all of us to swallow with our impacted schedules.  We are aware that our facility is crowded and we are working to provide a space where you will not have to wait for equipment to open up to complete your workout in a timely manner.

To meet the growing needs of students, the campus is expanding the ARC by 16,300 square feet in the existing central courtyard area.

Expanding the ARC facility will include improvements such as:

  • More strength equipment (free weights, racks, benches and Olympic weightlifting platforms)
  • More inviting and open spaces to create your own work-out space
  • The addition of new cardio equipment and increased number of our patrons favorite pieces
  • A new boxing studio
  • New day use lockers throughout first and second levels
  • Outdoor exercise space
  • Expanded cycling studio
  • Expanded cardio loft on the second floor with the addition of views facing outside
  • Enhanced energy efficiency of the building
  • The addition of Wi-Fi

The expansion will result in shorter wait times, allowing ARC members to complete their workouts and return to class, studying or work.

Student fees will not increase to fund the expansion. The project is funded from the FACE/LLEAP initiative that was passed in 1999 to build the ARC. The referendum was designed to allow for the building to be operated, maintained and renovated as it aged. Therefore, the project is being built without any increase in student fees.

We would like to ask for your help!

For the next month, we will be testing out four new pieces of cardio equipment.

  • Alpine Runner: Climb heights of famous landmarks with an incline much steeper than a traditional treadmill.

alpine

 

  • Spectrum: Adjustable stride 13” to 30”

spectrum

  • A7xi Ascent Trainer: Advanced Sprint 8 High Intensity Interval Training program

ascent

  • Rower:  Magnetic resistance, with distance rowing and high-intensity training programs

rower

 

You can find these pieces located at the Main ARC Entrance off La Rue Road on the first floor.  Please try them out and complete the comment card about your experience to help determine if we should add these new pieces to our cardio loft.

We would also like to know if there is equipment, you really enjoy that you want to see more of at the ARC or something we are missing altogether.  This is a great opportunity for you to share your ideas directly with our director, Deb Johnson.  Please email her at dmjohnson@ucdavis.edu.

Keep an eye out for those big blank walls across from the climbing wall, as they will soon have renderings of what is to come so that you too can be excited about the opportunities coming your way.

 

Importance of Study Breaks

studying

By Kristen Lok, Nutrition Student, UC Davis

As college students returning to school, many of us have made goals to improve our academic performance in this new year. However, knowing how to budget our time and focus between studying and other responsibilities is not as easy as it sounds. Furthermore, it takes a toll on us physically and mentally. Taking breaks from the hustle of the college student life allows us to recharge, boost our productivity and increase our focus. But how to make breaks the most effective? How long should breaks be? Find answers with these 7 study break tips!

 

  • Be Active

 

Exercise has been proven to recharge the mind, and reduce stress and fatigue.  The break doesn’t have to be strenuous; low intensity exercises such as stretching, walking or doing jumping jacks all have the same effects.

 

  • Take a Nap

 

Naps improves memory, increase productivity and creativity, and reboot mind. Taking short 25-30 minute naps are most effective for a quick energy boost.  

 

  • Avoid Opening Social Media

 

Scrolling through social media during study breaks doesn’t allow you to maximize your rest time. Opening social media increases the chance of losing track of time and fails to boost energy.  

 

  • Meditate or Deep Breathing Exercises

 

Meditation and deep breathing de-stresses and clears your mind. These practices will allow you to return to any task relaxed and focused.

 

  • Stay Hydrated

 

Drinking water has been proven to increase academic performance. Staying hydrated increases memory, keeps one focused and reduces anxiety. So, keep a water bottle close by when studying or go get water during study breaks to combine activity with staying hydrated.

 

  • Make a Study Plan

 

Creating a schedule or plan for your day will allow you to better balance your time. Break studying and projects into smaller tasks.  Having set times for these smaller pieces allows a decrease in stress and more efficient performance.    

 

  • Study in 50-60 Minute Intervals

 

Working for long periods of time reduces focus and effectiveness. Taking 10-15 minute breaks after every hour of studying allows your mind to refocus and recharge.

Practice implementing these tips to create a pleasant environment and maintain a healthy mind this winter quarter!  

Kitchen Hacks: Which Ones Work?

Rustic Kitchen Display

By: Joely Zeng, Nutrition Peer Counselor, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness Center

Wondering if the kitchen and food hacks you see on Facebook videos and Buzzfeed articles actually work? I’m going to test five popular hacks and give my opinion on if its a successful tool to aid you in your future cooking endeavors or not.

My criteria is based on:

  • How easy the hack was
  • Effectiveness
  • How often can this hack be used

The Hacks

1. Remove strawberry stems with straws

D3A6CEB6-1644-4BAB-8E73-19DDB067C7F3Overall Score: 3/10

Unfortunately the hack just doesn’t really work! I tried two types of straws in which the red one was slightly wider and stronger and two sizes of strawberries, but both straws just simply pierced through the strawberries. Three points are given for the easiness of the hack and the possibility of using this hack often. It’s also possible that maybe the straw size just has to perfectly match the width of the stem for the hack to work, but no higher score can be given as it just wouldn’t be an easy hack anymore. 

2. Make scrambled eggs in the microwave

img_6276.jpgOverall Score: 5/10

May be a bit intuitive but scrambled eggs can be made in the microwave! It’s also quicker and more hassle free than using a pan which indicates that the hack can be used often. The downfall of the hack though is that the taste and texture of the eggs suffered. The eggs didn’t taste like eggs and had become rubbery. Personally, I would rather go through the hassle of using a pan.

3. Open a tight jar lid with duct tape 

IMG_9663Overall score: 7/10

This was actually a hack I’ve never heard of before and good news! The duct tape was successful at removing the lid. However a few points were deducted for trickiness I did not anticipate. For example, I accidentally taped the lid on the right side (pictured above) when it should have been taped on the left side to follow the “lefty loosey and tighty righty” trick when pulling the tape from the roll. Another good thing to note is that the lid might fly off like the cork of a champagne bottle, so make sure you’re not wearing any white shirts!

4. Separate eggs with an empty plastic water bottleIMG_0271Overall score: 9/10

This hack is pretty popular but I’ve never bothered to try it out because I was quite content using egg shells. Overall I was pretty amazed by this hack! After playing around with it, I realized that it was a more efficient method if you’re trying to separate a few or more egg yolks. Also, it’s super fun and difficult to break the yolk. One downfall I found is that plastic bottles aren’t an item I have usually in my kitchen and they’re more wasteful than just using the egg shell.

5. Put a ziploc bag around ice cream to leave it staying soft in the freezerIMG_6426Overall Score: 4/10

I was pretty excited to try this hack because of the raves from my friend! Unfortunately, I was left disappointed. The scooping of the ice cream wasn’t any more soft than my ice cream not placed in a plastic baggie. I did notice that it wasn’t as icy as usual but this may be due to length of stay in the freezer and the higher quality ice cream. Points were awarded for how easy and do-able it would be if the hack worked. I don’t want to give up on this hack though and will in the future compare with different quality ice creams and varying amounts of air left in the ziploc bag to come to a final conclusion if the hack works or not.

Getting physically active, where to start?

a-year-from-now-you-will-wish-you-had-started-today

By:  Reed Phinisey, Coordinator, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness Center

You start where you are!  There is no sense setting a goal that is not realistic.  It takes time to develop fitness and weeks of training is needed to “run a mile” if you are currently sedentary.  One way to break it up is to build a SMART goal.  No, I don’t mean intellectually, well kind of; not the word ‘smart’ but rather the acronym.

S-Specific

M-Measurable

A-Attainable

R-Relevant

T-Timebound

Using such a tool is helpful in developing goals that are individually tailored, and therefore more likely to be achieved. Furthermore, figure on short-term and long-term goals. Here’s an example of a short-term goal:

“I will go for a 30-minute brisk walk twice next week”.

Short term goals are a great tool for building towards a more long-term goal. They relate well and even build off one another.  If you are successful going for two 30-minute walks, you’ll build on that to look something like “I will go for two 30-minute walks each week for the next month”.  Eventually you may increase to three walks per week as you work up to the 150 minutes per week that is the current physical activity recommendation for maintaining health.   If you were not successful meeting your goal to take two 30-minute walks, that’s o.k.  Your next step is figuring out why it didn’t work, and adjusting the goal.  Perhaps you needed to have specified a time that you’ll go for those walks?  The days just got away from you and it didn’t happen.  So now you try “I will get up 30 minutes early to go for a brisk walk twice next week”.  Give that a try.  If it doesn’t work, tweek it again – “I’ll use my lunch break for a brisk walk twice next week”.  Keep trying until you find something that works!  Maybe walking isn’t for you and you decide “I will ride my bike around campus for 30 extra minutes twice next week”.  Eventually you’ll run into what works for you!

Using short-term goals allows us to build adherence towards a program and work progressively towards a larger goal. This progression also allows us to adapt along the way when we potentially do encounter hiccups.

And at the end of the day it’s for you and not for anyone else. We don’t need to compare ourselves with portrayals of what is “fit” or healthy or with our peers but rather find victory in the little things. This doesn’t need to be quantitative (ex: lbs. lost) but it should rather be qualitative (ex: I’m feeling better).

Come As You Are.

 

Making healthier choices eating out

eatout

By: Debbie Dang, Nutrition Peer Counselor, UC Davis Fitness and Wellness Center

As students trying to survive the brutality of the quarter system at UC Davis, we sometimes find ourselves having little time to cook during the week. This forces us to go out and buy foods that are fast and easily accessible. But how can we eat healthy AND optimize our time simultaneously, living this lifestyle? Here are 10 tips to achieve both!

  1. Check what is in the food you’re considering ordering

The first step to eating healthier is to scan the ingredients. Doing this will help you make a decision that supports your nutrition goals.  Keep choosemyplate in mind and look for entrees with a balance of grains, protein and fruits and veggies. If you can’t find one, order a side of veggies.

  1. Go with a plan

People tend to arrive at a restaurant or food joint without a plan. This increases the chance of buying impulsively. Looking at the menu ahead of time can help you decide on a healthier meal and decrease that risk of buying an extra order of fries! So, take a quick study break and peruse the online menu.

  1. Practice portion control

Restaurants will often serve two to three times more than what is considered a serving on their food label. Instead of eating that whole platter, ask the restaurant to box up half of the meal into a to-go box. Or if you’re eating with a friend, share a meal.

  1. Watch your fat intake

Many processed and restaurant foods contain saturated fat in order to increase storage life and enhance the taste and mouthfeel. Eating too many of these fats can increase your chances of coronary heart disease. Avoid eating more than 10% of your calories from saturated fats.  That would be about 22 gms per day maximum.  Sometimes this information is difficult to find at restaurants.  Beware of large quantities of fatty meats, cheese and butter.

  1. Minimize your sodium intake

Salt is used to reduce microbial growth and enhance the taste of foods, but eating too much can be detrimental to your health! A high salt intake can result in hypertension or high blood pressure. Limit your salt intake to less than 2,300 mg/day. When eating out, ask the restaurant to minimize the salt and use herbs and spices to add flavor instead!

  1. Skip the sweetened beverage

Sweetened beverages like boba milk tea or soda have a high sugar content, which can increase your risk for Type 2 Diabetes over time. Skip these sugar-laden drinks and drink water instead! If water is too bland for you, an alternative is to drink water that is infused with vegetables or fruit.  Most restaurants will provide a lemon wedge. 

  1. Substitute some items on your plate

Making simple changes by substituting foods with healthier choices can make a big difference in the long run. For example, when ordering a taco bowl at Chipotle, you can choose brown rice instead of white rice. Or instead of buying a side of fries, ask for a side of vegetables.

  1. Avoid all-you-can-eat buffets

It’s easy to fall into the temptation of all-you-can eat buffets. Eating at a buffet oftentimes invokes students to “eat their money’s worth.” But the foods at buffets are usually high in fat and salt. Overeating these foods may increase your risk for high cholesterol, hypertension, and heart disease! Take the opportunity to load up on veggies at the salad bar.

  1. Ask for sauces and dip on the side

Restaurants will often mix your salads or fries with the sauce for your convenience. Some of these sauces can make your healthy meal unhealthy! Asking for sauces on the side will help you monitor how much you use. 

  1. Practice mindful eating

It takes time for your body to send cues to your brain to tell you you’re full. Oftentimes distractions like your phone or favorite TV series may cause you to be less attentive to your body cues. This can lead to overeating. However, being mindful of your body cues will help you avoid this. To practice mindful eating, eat slowly and without distractions. Listening to how much your body actually wants will help you practice eating only until you’re full.

Try these tips the next time you go out to eat! Choosing healthier choices will be beneficial in the long run and help you take control of your life.