By Sebentile Dlamini
Point Park News Service
Students should drink plenty of fluids, especially water to keep hydrated and drink less alcohol during finals.
Participating in some activity such as walking can help reduce stress levels.
Finally, incorporating a balanced diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables is also an added bonus for good nutrition.
Accredited nutritionists from UPMC Passavant Hospital explain that some college students will not get the proper nutrition during final week of exams. Amanda Frederick, Jaclyn Smith, Caroline Claus and Melanie Westville encourage students to plan their meals according to their schedule in order to reap the benefits of good nutrition habits.
“Resident or commuter students just need to consciously manage their time and meals just like their school work,” said Caroline Claus one of the four nutritionists in the interview.
Due to the stress, students may reach for foods that are quick and easy, but not necessarily healthy. The experts agreed that enough rest, plenty of fluids, exercise and a balanced diet are essential for good nutrition.
“I recommend that students stay hydrated and consume less alcohol during finals,” said Claus.
Food Nutritionist Claus explains that drinking plenty of fluids, especially water is one way of keeping good nutrition during finals. Water replenishes the body, reduces fatigue, removes waste from the body and detoxifies the system. Claus elaborated that one glass of wine or a glass or beer would not harm a student, she would not recommend binge drinking as a method of stress relief.
“One glass of wine is acceptable, but I would not advise drinking eight or nine in a short space of time,” said Claus.
Claus explained that if you binge drink the body becomes dehydrated. The effects of dehydration are tiredness, migraines, muscle cramps, constipation, kidney problems and irregular blood pressure.
Being active and getting in some any type of exercise is strongly recommended by the experts. Nutritionist Frederick explained that exercise is very good because it relieves stress because when a person exercises, their body releases endorphins. Endorphins are the hormones that are responsible for making a person happy and at the same time reduce stress. Frederick recommends walking, running, swimming, sports or any type of activity that will keep a person moving and active.
“I work full time, but any chance to walk anywhere, I into my daily routine,” said Frederick.
The four experts unanimously agreed that eating at five servings of fruits and vegetables, protein, complex carbohydrates and good fats are essential for good nutrition. All these components are part of a healthy balanced diet. A balanced diet gives energy in order to study, provides the right amount of vitamins, minerals and nutrients the body needs and promotes well-being of the mind and body.
“I always tell my clients that they can never eat enough fruits and vegetables,” said Smith.
The experts also recommend that students should plan out their meals and can choose to eat three meals or six small meals throughout the day. Claus passionately explained that students should never miss meals because it confuses the body’s metabolism and end up overeating at the next meal.
Students should also consciously try to eat less refined sugar and carbohydrates. The experts explain that every once and a while it is alright to eat junk food, but it should be done in moderation. Westville explained that too many refined sugars and carbohydrates are digested too quickly and gives the body a sugar high, but the body crashes later. The body crashing leads to exhaustion and sometimes irritability.
Lastly, the nutritionists believe that healthy eating is affordable for students on a budget. Students should make an effort to educate themselves about the pricing of food and learn how to make simple, quick and healthy meals. For example, Smith was explaining that grilling salmon, baking sweet potatoes is a healthy filling meal and is inexpensive. The salmon is a lean protein and has good fats and the baked sweet potato combined is a carbohydrate and vegetable.
“Healthy eating is affordable, even for college students who are struggling. It’s just a matter of using reliable sources to educate yourself, “said Westville.