Many college students over eat in college cafeterias, drink too much alcohol, and rely on potentially dangerous, caffeine-packed energy drinks to stay awake while studying; all things that contribute to a lifestyle not recommended by the National Institutes of Health. However, college students CAN have a great time and still stay healthy.
Try to maintain a proper weight – don’t allow eating to become a hobby! Avoid late night eating; A 2005 study by the American College of Sports Medicine determined that eating between 8 pm and 4 am is a major contributor to putting on weight. To help maintain or lose weight, eat something in the morning to get your metabolism going for the day. If you don’t eat breakfast, your body becomes concerned about starvation and slows down your metabolism to help preserve energy. Instant oatmeal and fruit are great selections.
Fiber and protein help you lose weight and stay healthy. These nutrients are difficult to digest, so your body uses up significantly more energy to digest them when compared to carbohydrates and other foods. Proteins also help your body build lean muscle mass. Also, studies show eating slowly and using a small plate leads to eating less food.
You may enjoy the occasional drink at parties and with friends, but be aware that alcoholic drinks are packed with calories; they’ll make you plump! One beer has approximately 150 calories. Instead of being stored as fat, most of the alcohol in your body is converted to a substance called acetate. When acetate levels increase, the body burns more acetate and less fat.
Have the courage to tell your friends you don’t binge drink. Reasons to give them include the fact that it’s unhealthy, it may damage your wonderful brain and your heart, you despise hangovers, friends makes you happy so you don’t need to get ridiculously drunk to have a good time, binge drinking can damage your liver, etc. According to the prestigious Mayo Clinic, rapidly consuming five or more drinks in a row is a primary cause of alcohol poisoning. The Mayo Clinic also reports drinking a lot of alcohol too quickly can affect your heart rate, breathing, and gag reflex, and it may put you in a coma or lead to death.
A study performed by the National Sleep Foundation shows 63% of college students regularly don’t get an appropriate amount of sleep. Research shows people who don’t get an appropriate amount of sleep may have an increase in appetite and consume more calories than necessary. Not getting enough sleep over a matter of days can diminish metabolism and cause problems with hormone levels. Also, sleep helps you to reduce stress. Even if you have a busy schedule, make sure you get eight hours of sleep each night!
The Mayo Clinic reports consuming heavy amounts of caffeine on a daily basis – more than 500 to 600 mg per day – can cause nervousness, insomnia, irritability, restlessness, fast heart beat, upset stomach, and muscle tremors.
Researchers from both the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the University of Queensland in Australia are concerned about the high levels of caffeine in energy drinks. According to their research, individuals who are particularly susceptible to the effects of energy drinks may experience dangerous effects regarding heart rate, blood pressure, and brain function. Manufacturers of energy drinks label them as dietary supplements to avoid the federal regulations that apply to sodas and juices.
The Mayo Clinic reports energy drinks can decrease your feeling of intoxication, which can easily lead to consuming too many alcoholic drinks. Experts suggest people should only consume 16 ounces of energy drinks per day.
If you’ve consumed energy drinks to stay awake for late night studying, don’t try and relax with alcohol. Kevin Clauson, a doctor of pharmacy at Nova Southeastern University in West Palm Beach, stated that his main concerns with energy drinks are “the effects of these drinks when they are combined with alcohol, which can have disastrous consequences.”
Drink plenty of water during the day. Water is essential for the body to properly function. All systems in the body require water. Your body uses water to remove toxins from vital organs and to provide important nutrients to body cells.
A fully hydrated body can metabolize the food you eat to its full potential. Your body needs an adequate supply of water to efficiently burn calories. According to the National Institutes of Health, short-term experiments suggest people can lose weight by drinking water.
Of course, you should get some exercise at least five days a week to maintain a healthy weight and reduce stress. Even though you’re very involved with studying, going to classes, taking tests, and having a social life, you can still stay healthy. Practicing good, healthy habits during your college years makes it easier to stay healthy throughout your life.
Brian Jenkins writes about careers and degree programs in accounting, among other career fields, for BrainTrack.com. He also writes feature articles about the college experience, like this piece you’ve just read.