Tag Archives | health

Health Is Wealth: Sleep Is Never For The Weak

Image by Hernan Sanchez, unsplash.com

It is never too late to make use of your bed because sleep has always been one of our necessities to maintain a healthy and wholesome lifestyle. Getting enough quality sleep at all times is vital. There are many health benefits you can get from having an adequate amount of sleep.

Your mood and feeling for the day depend on the number of hours of sleep you get at night. During sleep, our body is working to maintain our mental and physical health. Moreover, our body is repairing itself. Take note that a good sleep can also increase your brain function.

Experiencing repetitive sleep deficiency can harm you over time. It can increase your risk of developing health problems, and can also affect how well you react, work, learn, and think. Lastly, sleep deficiency can significantly affect your productivity.

Performance Maximization

Sleep affects not just your health but also your performance. Having the right amount of sleep can enhance your performance not just in work, but also in your day to day activities.

Sleep deficiency leads to functional limitation and reduced exercise performance. It may also affect your safety and security. For example, drivers who are drowsy have a higher risk of getting into car accidents.

Improves Immune Function

Our immune system is vital because it is the key to human health. It protects our bodies from substances that can cause sickness and diseases. Moreover, the immune system is sensitive to strenuous activities, a stressful lifestyle, change in diet and inadequacy of sleep.

A study found that people who slept less than 7 hours were more likely to develop a flu or cold than others who slept for a full 8 hours. Sleeping at least 8 hours may help lessen the risk of getting sick.

Increase In Productivity and Concentration

Sleep is important for reducing stress levels. It is also useful for increasing brain activity, thus, helping you finish your tasks quickly, effectively and efficiently. Without sleep, you tend to be unfocused and make more mistakes. It can also cause headaches at work and increase your stress level.

Takeaway

Most of us don’t put much importance on sleep because we don’t exactly understand the result of not having enough. Once you learn what happens to your body during sleep, you’ll understand its importance. Sleep is crucial to your physical, emotional and psychological health. At least 8 hours of sleep is critical!

This article was contributed by guest author Rachel Minahan.

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5 Facts You Need To Know About Healthy Eating

Image by Ali Inay, unsplash.com

Being a student is an easy excuse to succumb to the unhealthy way of eating. Well, for one, you can blame your deadlines for not allowing you to cook healthy food. Am I right? It is perfectly understandable, and no one can question why you prefer to study more and eat less healthy foods.

Business at its Finest
Homework, quizzes, exams, term papers, thesis… It’s as if your teachers and professors have conspired against you. Don’t they want students to get a comfortable night’s sleep?

It’s way too easy to just grab a pack of cheesy poofs, a can of beans, a jar of chocolate, or instant ramen! The convenience is key because you don’t spend much time preparing it which means you will have more time to study.

Perilous Eating Habits
Grabbing the closest pack of instant ramen may seem to be the logical choice to have more time, but, in the long run, this can have a negative effect on your body.

Instant Ramen
Instant noodles are high in sodium and loaded with preservatives to increase shelf life. Ever wonder why they last so long in your cupboard without expiring? Binging on instant ramen can even lead to high blood pressure and urinary tract infections.

Cheesy Poofs
This junk food and others of its kind are of course, satisfying. But don’t make a habit out of satisfying your hunger with this. These are high in sodium and filled with preservatives to make them last.

Chocolates
There is nothing wrong with chocolates. They are awesomely delicious and bring out good feelings in you. The problem is the amount consumed. Its high sugar content will be enough to fuel your day, but too much of it can lead to obesity and diabetes. You might want to include other snacks like Twinkies and cupcakes in this category.

How to Eat Healthy Even if You Are Busy
It is always easy to blame the lack of time. But the thing is, we really have a way to work around it. There are healthy foods that don’t take much time to prepare. If you just think intently about eating the right types of food, you can even prepare your meals in advance!

Here are some ways to help you manage a healthy eating habit.

1. Break Your Fast
When you skip your breakfast, you will have strong hunger pangs a few hours after breakfast time. This will make it difficult to resist the vending machine. If you had just eaten your breakfast, you’d be able to resist that pack of cheesy poofs.

2. Bring A Snack
If you already have a handy healthy snack, you wouldn’t bother buying junk food. How long does it take you to make a sandwich? If you can make a healthy sandwich in less than 5 minutes, what is keeping you from making it? Maybe the answer is that you don’t have the necessary ingredients in the kitchen – which leads us to number three.

3. Do Your Groceries in Advance
If one weekend you decide to fill your pantry with loaves of bread, slabs of ham, bacon, eggs, lettuce, tomatoes, some sandwich dressing, cheese, and sandwich bags, it will take you less than 5 minutes to prepare a sandwich the following day.

4. Make A Meal Plan in Advance
Planning your meals weekly will spare you having to make a quick decision when you are hungry, and will make grocery shopping a lot easier. Whenever you feel the urge to eat, just refer to your planner and follow your schedule.

5. Contemplate Your Health
A few years of unhealthy eating can lead to serious illnesses and can cut years off your life. We all want a long, healthy, and productive life – so take your health seriously.

Summary
Well, life is short. Our unhealthy eating habits can make it a lot shorter. Unwise selection of the food we consume can lead to chronic illnesses, which will ultimately take their toll and subtract years off our lives.

Stop making excuses about the lack of time and start making healthy food decisions. This will make a great difference in your life.

This article was contributed by guest author Kristin Ryals.

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10 Easy Ways to Start Exercising and Sticking to It in 2017

Image by JOHN TOWNER, unsplash.com

Everybody who’s ever tried exercising knows that it’s hard to stick to a daily routine, no matter if it includes running, lifting weights or yoga. The solution to this problem is to change the way you think about sport. Once you make it a part of your day, just like brushing your teeth, things will fit into place.

Until you’re good at it, chances are you’ll find a number of excuses to avoid working out. So here are some tips to help you get started and keep going.

1. Be Realistic about Your Goals
First of all, don’t mistake resolutions with goals. For example, your resolution could be to lose 10 pounds, but your goal is to exercise half an hour a day.

Don’t come up with higher goals than you can accomplish. This will only set you up for disappointment when you realize that you can’t handle them. Start slow and keep things real. If you only have 15 minutes, start with that.

2. Put Yourself First
Keep in mind that although we may be tempted to help out a friend that has a paper coming up, skipping on your workout is not the way to go.

If your school schedule allows you to fit all you want to do, that’s perfect; if not, always prioritize your own needs before everyone else’s.

3. Find What You Like
If you’re not used to working out, begin by doing something that you either love or you’re good at. If playing football is a hobby, make it a part of your day; if it’s swimming, check out the campus pool.

Step by step, you’ll start incorporating more and more types of exercises, but for now, do what you like.

4. Establish a Dedicated Workout Area
Although living in a dorm doesn’t offer too much spare space, see if you can’t place a yoga mat and some weights somewhere. As long as your brain perceives the space as a sport-friendly environment, it will be easier to stick to exercising.

A cardio machine in your home won’t take up as much space as you think and the health benefits are definitely worth it!

5. Take Your Friends With You
The same colleagues you go for a drink with could soon become your workout buddies as well. Exercising with a friend will be more exciting. Besides, you’ll support each other as you try to meet your goals.

Surely you have a friend who’s trying to lose some weight or get in shape, so make a team!

6. Don’t Stress Your Body
If a certain activity is too much for your muscles, take a step back. It’s possible that your body isn’t in the best shape, so if you lift heavy weights, you might hurt yourself.

Begin with simple exercises, and once your body gets in shape, switch things up a little. Just remember to adjust gradually to the intensity of the workout.

7. Include More Movement
Getting in shape doesn’t happen only in the gym; it can also be done between classes or during breaks. Instead of taking the bus, walk. Walking will help your muscles develop and have a more defined shape, especially your calves.

Another option is to have an afternoon at a pool instead of going for a movie. You’ll burn calories and have a blast with your friends.

8. Download an App
Nowadays, there’s an app for everything, and some of them are so much fun that you’ll grow addicted to them. Running will get your blood pumping, and your lungs will get more oxygen; still, running from an army of zombies will certainly boost things up.

If you’d like to keep track of how much time you’ve exercised today, or how many calories you’ve lost, there’s an app for that as well.

9. Keep a Journal
We’re not saying that you should start obsessing over how much time you’ve spent in the gym, or if you’ve eaten the exact number of calories today, but a journal will help you out.

Writing down your daily activities will make it easier for you to realize how far you’ve come and thus, you’ll feel better about it.

10. Find a Group
Sports groups are the way to go if you lack the motivation to stick to an exercise routine. Knowing that there’s always someone waiting for you will make it harder to skip training.

Plus, you’ll make new friends, and surely some of their energy will give you that extra strength to run another mile.

Like I’ve said, take things slow and see how much free time you can “steal” from your busy schedule to work out. Meanwhile, don’t forget to eat lots of fresh fruits and vegetables! These will keep you energized.

This article was contributed by guest author Evelyn Kail.

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Tips for Restorative Sleep

We know how complicated student life can be. With term papers, exams, essays and all that work you need to turn in before the semester ends, getting a good night’s sleep can be easily overlooked. Obesity, heart disease, stress and poor judgment are only a few of the many negative effects of sleep deprivation, which can affect your overall academic performance. However, with the right habits and by making a few tweaks to your daily routine, you can get the restorative sleep you need to become the top student in your class!

Follow these tips for restorative sleep by the Virginia Spine Institute, and get your academics back on track:

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5 Important Habits to Enhance Your Mental Well-Being

Image by ambroochizafer, pixabay.com

Image by ambroochizafer, pixabay.com

If you’ve ever met a mentally resilient person, and you’re not one yourself, you may have felt envious of their seeming ability to roll with every punch, tackle every obstacle with ease, and allow even the most scathing criticism to simply roll off their back. While there’s no magic bullet for mental resilience, there are some tried-and-true habits that most mentally strong people stick to that help to bolster their resilience. If you’re aiming to become more resilient, developing these and other habits is a good way to start.

1. Be persistent in pursuing your goals.

One reason mentally resilient people are so tough is that they’re focused on achieving an end result, and they relentlessly pursue their objectives. Be sure to set realistic targets, as unattainable goals can end up having the opposite effect. With the finish line in sight and your eyes on the prize, it’s easier to let insignificant details roll off your back and keep your pace towards your goals.

2. Look at every situation objectively.

Understanding that people are all fundamentally the same, yet they bring unique backgrounds, experiences, and circumstances, all of which alter their perspectives – thus making them unique – is the basic tenet of objectivity. The ability to analyze any situation with an objective mindset greatly enhances the ability to find the positive in any situation and develop win-win solutions for overcoming practically any challenge.

3. Practice mindfulness.

Change is inevitable, and those who cope best with changing circumstances are best able to weather the worst storms. By embracing change, you can maintain an optimistic outlook on every situation knowing that wherever change leads you, you’ll work it out.

4. Get a rewarding internship or side job.

Rewarding work is a great opportunity to boost your resume, but it’s also a great way to boost your mental health. Perhaps you could intern or volunteer for a local nonprofit. Helping out those in your community will make you feel good and will be a great life experience. If you want to make some extra cash while in school, there are plenty of opportunities through the sharing economy that are flexible and will help you maintain a positive outlook. For example, you can get paid to hang out with animals as a dog sitter or dog walker. Having these rewarding work-related experiences are sure to give you a boost throughout the school year.

5. Treat your body well.

Mental resilience doesn’t come only from mind tricks and new ways of thinking; it’s also heavily reliant on how well you take care of your physical health. That means getting enough quality sleep each night, eating a healthy diet rich in vitamins and nutrients, and taking part in regular physical activity. Find a workout or form of exercise that you can do at home, and you won’t have to talk yourself into keeping your commitment to yourself each day.

This article was contributed by guest author Jennifer McGregor.

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Health Tips To Know Before Heading To College

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

Image by Christopher Campbell, Unsplash.com

College is an exciting time in a student’s life — a movement toward adulthood and its unique freedoms. Along with the privilege of greater freedom, however, comes greater responsibility, including caring for your own health for what may be the first time. Do you know how to stay healthy while away at school? What steps should you take to stay well?

To help answer these questions, here’s a look at some of the top tips to know in order to care for your body while in college:

1. Watch what you eat. Your diet plays a major role in how you feel day to day, but when you’re busy with a heavy class load, a hectic social calendar and other new activities, you might be tempted to grab whatever is fastest and easiest — even if it’s a candy bar. That’s why you need to decide now to prioritize a balanced diet. One great way to do this is by choosing to make more of your own food. When you shop for your own groceries and make simple, healthy meals at home, you can better control what you eat.

2. Drink lots of water. When you lead a busy lifestyle, it’s easy to get dehydrated. Keep a re-usable water bottle with you, drink often and fill it up at drinking fountains on campus in order to keep refreshing your body’s water supply.

3. Stay active. Exercise is about much more than losing weight. The truth is, getting your body moving is important for everything from mental clarity to emotional stability. Whether you participate in pickup sports, join a gym or spend a big chunk of time each day walking all over campus, stay active.

4. Locate your nearest health clinic. Maybe you have an awful migraine from studying all night, or think you may have the flu. It’s important to know where the closest urgent care center or health clinic is in order to maintain optimal health. Your college will likely have this information on hand.

5. Get your sleep. When you’re facing high-pressure deadlines, upcoming tests or the opportunity to party all night, it’s all too easy to miss out on sleep in college — but don’t make this mistake! Missing sleep can mess with your brain function and increase headaches or even weight gain. Instead, try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

6. Skip the drugs, drinks and smoking. When you want to stay healthy, choose to avoid drinking, drugs and smoking, all of which can damage your body over time. Skipping these substances helps reduce your risks for various diseases — both now and in the future.

7. Limit sugar and caffeine. Think chugging energy drinks or soda will give you the extra boost you need? Think again. As much as possible, skip these stimulants that typically make you crash a few hours after your temporary high.

8. Protect yourself in the sun. Heading to the beach with friends on spring break may be a college cliché, but it’s a fun one. Whenever you’re soaking in sunshine, however, make sure you take protective measures. Wear sunscreen, and re-apply it regularly. Likewise, skip the tanning beds completely as they can increase your skin cancer risks.

9. Have fun. There’s no denying stress is bad for your body, so do yourself a favor and find things to enjoy in college. Just as important as studying for tests and sticking to a budget is making time to unwind and relax. Whether it’s getting out with your friends for coffee or going for a walk, make time to de-stress. It’s one of the best things you can do for your health.

When you’re young, you might not always feel the urgency for taking care of your health — but your college years are the perfect time to implement healthy habits that continue for the rest of your life! Set good patterns today so you can enjoy maximum energy and mental clarity well into the future.

This article was contributed by guest author Dr. Abhijit Shinde.

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5 Tips for Staying in Shape on Campus

Image by Colonnade Boston on Flickr

Image by Colonnade Boston on Flickr

Staying healthy on campus can be tough with so many ways for students to get lazy and ignore their health. Cafeteria food isn’t exactly known for its health benefits, and going to a grocery store to pick up food can be a pain, especially after a long day of classes. On top of that, who has time to go for a run or the money to spend on a set of weights? Luckily, most campuses offer a wide range of activities and groups that can help you stay in shape no matter your schedule. Here are a few tips and tricks I’ve learned.

  1. Don’t give up the sports you played in high school.  You played those sports in high school because you enjoyed them, so why give them up because you’re in university? Most universities have clubs or intramurals for different types of sports – and some even for sports played overseas.
  2. Don’t be afraid of the campus gym. Walking into the gym for the first time might be intimidating, but consistently going helps to break down those boundaries you might have initially had. Develop a schedule that includes time for the gym, and it will most certainly help with relieving stress and creating a healthy body.
  3. Get workout or sports buddies. Friends will keep you motivated when you find yourself not wanting to get out of bed. Having them there will help you have fun while getting a good workout.
  4. Take advantage of the campus. Most campuses have trails for running or biking that are easily accessible to students. During your spare time, take advantage of these resources. They’re close by, and nothing beats fresh air.
  5. Have long term goals. Create fitness goals that you would like to complete by the end of the semester or the end of the year. This will help you stay motivated to exercising, and you’ll be able to see how your body progresses as the year goes on.

It’s easy to ignore your health while at university, but the long term effects can be detrimental to your body. Whether it’s through eating healthy, staying in shape or both, make sure you find a routine to properly take care of yourself. While you may not notice it short term, your body will love you in the long run for taking good care of it!

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Why College Students Have Vitamin B12 Deficiencies

Image by Peter Hellberg, Flickr

Image by Peter Hellberg, Flickr

When there are finals to study for and frat parties to attend, our health usually takes a back burner during college. Whether this happens intentionally or unintentionally, severe consequences are usually the result.

No One Worries About Vitamin Deficiencies

For many college students, the extent of our concern for nutrition extends to:

  • What seems most edible at the dining hall
  • Which foods can safely be prepared in a microwave
  • How many restaurants deliver
  • The best foods to keep you awake during a late night cram session
  • The easiest things to eat while walking to class
  • Whatever sops up alcohol the quickest

Even if you are the exception to the norm and actually try to eat healthy, there is still a very real possibility you aren’t doing enough.

Nutrients are complicated. They need to be consumed at certain times with certain other foods and at a certain rate each day. College students have enough to deal with—worrying about the recommended daily intake for zinc isn’t high on anyone’s to-do list.

But it’s a pretty safe bet that you will, at some point, think about vitamins. The question is…will you think about them now while you can still do something to guard your health or will you only acknowledge them when you are faced with a deficiency?

Vitamin B12 Takes the Cake

A vitamin B12 deficiency is one of the most common forms of nutrient shortages. This is especially true for college students.

Let’s take a look at some of the most probable reasons for a vitamin B12 deficiency in college.

  1. Your poor eating habits started a long time ago. For most of us, our hectic schedules started back in high school. We’ve been eating poorly for a long time. Vitamin B12 is a water-soluble vitamin, meaning you need to consume it each day. However, the liver is capable of storing some of the nutrient for a short period of time.

    Unfortunately, the liver can only store vitamin B12 for a maximum of five years. That means, by the time you reach college, there is a good chance your B12 levels have already been depleted.

  2. You’re still eating unhealthy foods. Vitamin B12 is only found in animal products — beef, pork, lamb, seafood, milk, eggs, etc. It isn’t present in Ramen Noodles, Pop Tarts or Easy Mac. If your diet revolves around those things (and a microwave), you’re doing serious damage to your body.

Getting Help

Let’s be real. You aren’t going to snarf a steak dinner every night of the week. Even if your schedule allowed for a sit-down healthy meal on a regular basis, your wallet sure wouldn’t.

It is probably safe to say you won’t be able to get enough vitamin B12 from your diet alone. You’ll probably need supplementation.

There are two forms of supplementation: oral pills and vitamin injections.

Oral pills might seem like the lesser of two evils. After all, who voluntarily agrees to poke themselves? But for many, vitamin B12 injections are actually the better option.

Oral pills need to be taken once a day (sometimes twice). Vitamin B12 injections, on the other hand, are usually only a once-a-week dose. You’ll only need to remember your supplement once a week, rather than every day.

If you want to talk to someone about the different forms of supplementation, ask your doctor or campus nurse.

Fix it Now!

A vitamin B12 deficiency is only one nutrient shortage you need to worry about. If you are short on B12, you are probably missing out on other essentials too.

Technically, you should work on improving your overall health—getting enough of all the essential nutrients. But if you are only going to focus on one nutrient—make it B12.

Even a mild deficiency can seriously damage your college career. Those who don’t get enough vitamin B12 experience…

  • Exhaustion (the frat parties and weekly cram sessions are tiring enough, thank you very much)
  • Light-headedness (if you are walking up eight flights of stairs to get to your dorm room because someone hurled in the elevator, you don’t want to get tippy)
  • Rapid heartbeat and breathing (the attractive co-ed sitting in front of you in Econ 101 is distracting enough)
  • Pale skin and a sore tongue (totally not cool on the dating scene)
  • Easy bruising or bleeding (unless it is Halloween, you don’t want to look like someone beat you with a baseball bat)
  • Diarrhea or constipation (ew!)

If left unchecked, these issues will only get worse. Since vitamin B12 is responsible for maintaining the nervous system, you can expect to experience mental damage including depression, mania, dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. We’re pretty sure those issues would put a damper on your future career.

Chances are we lost some of you when we first suggested you add one more thing to your overflowing college responsibility plate. But if you’ve stuck around this long, it means you acknowledge the possibility that your diet is pretty lousy. If so, then it is time you did something about it!

Before You Go on a Trip

Image by hyperakt, Flickr

Image by hyperakt, Flickr

There are few things more exciting than having the opportunity to pack your bags and set off to explore a new place! While nobody really plans on getting sick, injured, or pickpocketed while on holiday, it’s best to be proactive and prepare for events which might pose an inconvenience to your adventure. Before you leave, check out this list of things that will keep you covered in case something goes wrong:

Keep copies of important documents.
Make two photocopies of your passport, flight tickets, hostel or hotel reservations, credit card, and driver’s license. In the event that any of these items are misplaced or stolen, you will still have access to your personal identification. Leave one set of the copies with a close friend or family member, and take one the other set of copies with you. Make sure to keep them separate from the original documents. You can also keep an electronic copy by e-mailing yourself a scan of the documents.

Update your address book
In case you have to make an emergency call, look up the phone numbers and contact information for your insurance company, credit card issuers, or health professionals, and put them in your phone before you leave.

Consider getting travel insurance
Nobody plans on getting ill or injured while on holiday, but unfortunately, it can happen. As someone who once ended up in a Belgian hospital with a broken nose, I’d recommend taking the extra cost into consideration – you never know what will happen.

Read a guidebook
Abandon any pretensions of not wanting to do anything “touristy” and embrace being a tourist wholeheartedly. You’re not a local, it’s not a secret, and it’s time to do your research. Travel websites like Lonely Planet and other travel blogs will not only help you navigate your way around the city and help to tailor your trip to your specific interests – they will have a lot of useful information about the culture, laws, and customs of your destination.

Bon voyage!

5 Ways to Stay Healthy at University

Image by epSos.de, Flickr

Image by epSos.de, Flickr

Do you know what really causes the “freshman fifteen?” Hint: it’s not just about what you eat! What you drink has a lot to do with unhealthy weight gain, and being sedentary and sleep-deprived just pack on the extra pounds. Due to the myriad of social and academic obligations of university life, the variable schedule of the average student can wreak havoc on one’s diet, sleep pattern, and exercise regimen. Staying healthy, however, will boost your mood and energy levels, which will bolster your academic performance and help you to maintain a positive mindset. Here are some basic ways to stay healthy at university:

1. Sleep well

Good sleep is essential for your physical and mental wellbeing – it will help maintain your metabolism, improve your memory, and heighten mental clarity. Poor sleep, on the other hand, reduces your energy level and ability to concentrate, and results in higher levels of irritability, anxiety, and depression. Moreover, sleep deprivation causes an increase in appetite, which may result in weight gain. Try to establish a regular sleeping pattern of eight hours each night, going to bed and getting up at the same time.

2. Exercise frequently … and sneakily
It’s easy to lead a sedentary lifestyle at school. What do you do in a lecture hall? You sit. What do you do in the library? You sit. What do you do in the cafeteria? You sit. While university seems to require a lot of sitting, it is important to be active in order to stay healthy. Establish a routine of regular exercise – treat your gym time like an extra class in your schedule, or split your workouts into shorter and more frequent increments that will fit into a busy schedule. If you don’t think you can muster the self-discipline to make it to the gym alone, sign up for an exercise class with a friend. Try something interesting and new – kickboxing, squash, yoga, tennis, or Pilates are all great ways to get moving. Don’t forget the little things that you can do in between workouts to maximize your level of activity – walk to class, take the stairs, and stand up to stretch your legs for every hour you find yourself sitting in the library.

3. Watch your beverages
There are four types of beverages that can have an impact on your health: alcohol, soda and soft drinks, caffeinated drinks, and water.

Alcoholic drinks contain empty calories and no nutritional value whatsoever. The excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages can have serious physical effects – if it isn’t enough that a single shot of vodka contains a whopping 100 calories, studies show that regular consumption of alcohol impairs your ability to absorb nutrients and burn fat over time.

Soft drinks, sodas, and sweetened fruit juices also cause unhealthy weight gain and slow your digestion. They contain high levels of sugar, and their diet equivalents simply substitute the sugar content with chemicals that are just as toxic for your system. Soda should be a treat, not a habit. Substitute your sugary fix with a refreshing cup of tea (chamomile and mint tea promote relaxation and digestion, and sweeter flavours such as strawberry, peach, ginseng, or lemon keep it interesting). You can also switch your soda for a sparkling water.

Keep an eye on your caffeine consumption, too. Caffeinated drinks are often dehydrating – remember to drink two glasses of water for every coffee or energy drink you consume. Also, drinking coffee too late in the day might disturb your quality of sleep at night. Most importantly, watch out for the unhealthy additives in calorie-laden lattes or specialty drinks at your favourite coffee shop – one chai tea latte from Starbucks sounds innocent enough, but even its smallest size packs an incredible 240 calories (not to mention 41 grams of sugar).

Make sure you drink plenty of water. Staying hydrated is essential to maintaining general health and energy levels, and helps to control your weight and appetite, improve your skin, flush your system, and improve your quality of sleep. Try to drink a glass of water every hour and before each meal.

4. Everything in moderation
Don’t be afraid of bread, pasta, and cereals – in moderation, they can be part of a healthy diet. Avoiding them completely can have a negative impact on your metabolism, which is essential to fighting that freshman fifteen. Just keep in mind that dessert should be a treat, not a habit. Make sure you fuel up on nutrient-rich foods with plenty of fibre – whole grains, lentils, spinach, broccoli, beans, and zucchini, among others. Add avocado, lettuce, and tomato to your sandwiches. In the cafeteria, avoid fried or breaded items, and choose the grilled option instead. Add chicken to your salad for a protein boost. Substitute brown rice for white rice, mustard for mayonnaise, whole grain for white bread, and olive oil and vinegar for creamy salad dressing. For motivation and inspiration, look to food blogs and Pinterest recipes to get you excited about eating healthy.

5. What you eat is just as important as when you eat it.
Between classes, assignment deadlines, exams, parties, and going out with friends, it can be difficult to plan a regular meal schedule. Remember to eat breakfast (it starts your metabolism and gives you a boost of energy, which will help control your appetite and prevent overeating throughout the day) and pack healthy snacks to bring to campus (baby carrots, pretzels, apples, and almonds are all great ideas) to tide you over until lunch (a sandwich with a soup or salad is always a healthy option). Avoid midnight snacking, ordering pizza at two in the morning, or grabbing a greasy bite after a night out with your friends – studies show that eating late at night can cause unhealthy weight gain. Stress can also have an effect on how you eat, so try to avoid unhealthy and excessive snacking when you are bored or worried about something, and do not skip meals – a diet of regular meals and nutritious snacks is important to the maintenance of your overall health.