Tag Archives: diet

Avocado Facts

The avocado, also known as alligator pear, is a fruit that is thought to have originated in South Central Mexico. Recent discovery has shown avocados to have been present in Peru up to 15,000 years ago. Avocados grow on a tree in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. Mexico produces the most avocados with California being the second. Avocados are known for being one of the healthiest superfoods because they are very nutrient-dense healthy fat and are bursting with health benefits. Keep reading to find out why avocados are May’s featured superfood of the month!

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Benefits of Avocado:

  • high in dietary fiber
  • lowers risk of prostate cancer
  • helps lower cholesterol
  • contains twice the potassium as a banana
  • contains vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin
  • great source of healthy fat
  • stabilizes blood sugar levels
  • can improve eyesight
  • low pesticide levels because of their thick skin
  • helps with weight loss
  • good for sexual health and fertility
  • great for beauty treatments
  • can protect unborn babies
  • may help relieve symptoms of arthritis

Avocados can be transformed and used in various ways. Whether it be in guacamole, spread for toast, or a face mask, the benefits surpass just including them in your diet! Enjoy avocados and the perks that come with this healthy fruit, today!

Link to Ways to Use Avocado


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March Superfood: Kale

Kale, the dark green leafy cabbage is March’s featured superfood! Kale is a superfood because it is one of the most nutrient-dense vegetables on the planet, carrying powerful antioxidants like quercetin and kaempferol.  Kale is a member of the cabbage family and is related to cruciferous vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. Curly kale, or Scots kale, is the most popular type of kale although there are a variety of kale to choose from.  Leaves can be purple or green in color with a curly or smooth shape.

Ways to Prep Kale

Although it may sound silly, there is serious science behind massaging your kale before you eat it.  Cruciferous vegetables and leafy greens contain intense disease-fighting phytochemicals, or messengers that deliver antioxidants, hidden in the fibrous stems.   Massaging, chopping or blending kale will break the nutrient-dense cell walls and will release antioxidants that heat can’t perform alone.  Massaging your kale will also soften the fibers of the leaves.

Kale-Friendly Ideas:

  • Blend kale into a smoothie
  • Incorporate kale with your salad greens
  • Bake kale until crisp to make kale chips
  • Wilt kale into your favorite curry
  • Stir kale into your favorite soup

What are the Health Benefits?

A single cup of raw kale (about 67 grams or 2.4 ounces) has 33 calories, 6 grams of carbohydrates, and 3 grams of protein.   

  • Vitamin A: 206% of the RDA (from beta-carotene).
  • Vitamin K: 684% of the RDA
  • Vitamin C: 134% of the RDA
  • Vitamin B6: 9% of the RDA
  • Manganese: 26% of the RDA
  • Calcium: 9% of the RDA
  • Copper: 10% of the RDA
  • Potassium: 9% of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 6% of the RDA

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A Healthy Diet Starts Now!

Article Written by Erin Jung, Sophomore and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

College students are notorious for their not-so balanced diets. We tend to reach for fast food, take out, packaged snacks, and microwavable meals. While these items are wonderful for convenience and are found at a reasonable price point, our health can often suffer from our less-than-stellar lifestyle choices.

There are several reasons as to why we should start caring more about which foods we’re fueling up on at this time in our lives. Some choices will have an immediate impact, while others can change the course of our health for years to come. Eating healthy can provide sustained energy over each day, and it can also improve our mood. Farther down the line, the right diet can help prevent a number of different diseases, including cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, Miami’s dining halls consistently have healthful options available at all times of the day. It can be tempting to fill up on calorie dense-nutrient poor foods, but with a little bit of self-discipline, every student has the potential to put the right foods on our plates for a delicious and balanced meal.

So what are some of these healthy habits that we should be implementing now? Here are some things that all college students should at the very least consider practicing at this stage of life.

Eat a filling breakfast

It’s very cliché, but breakfast indeed is the most important meal of the day. Our brains and bodies require energy in order to take on the day ahead, and the most promising way to supply this energy is by eating a hearty breakfast. Yes, it may be easier just to grab a granola bar on the way to class, but this alone will not keep most students full and focused for very long. An inexpensive yet filling choice is oatmeal, as it’s extremely versatile, and you can add toppings of your choice to make it even tastier.

Say “no” to fast, fried food

While everything is okay in moderation, fried foods do not offer us any substantial nutritional benefits. In fact, lots of people complain about feeling sick or sluggish after eating these kinds of foods. Every once in a while it’s okay, but as we get older, we really need to focus on fueling our bodies with whole, unprocessed foods.

Sticking to water

You’ve all heard it a million times, but there’s a reason why people push the importance of drinking water – our bodies love this stuff! Soda and juice are high in sugar and quite frankly a waste of calories. Get yourself a high-quality, reusable, insulated water bottle to keep your water cold all day. It’s definitely worth the investment—you’ll save so much money by choosing not to buy plastic water bottles each day before class! If you like a sweeter taste to your water, try adding fruits to your water for a healthy alternative. You can find infused waters in Commons locations all across campus.

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The key is to start small, implementing one or two of these tips at a time. With consistency and persistence, every college student can start eating better now to set the stage for the future of our health.


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National Nutrition Month: College Eating Habits

Article Written by Sarah Erb. Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

     Making sure to eat breakfast before my 8:30am is always the last of my worries on a Monday morning.  My biggest concern? Making sure my pants aren’t inside out before I walk into a lecture hall. So why fuss about what I eat while I’m in college?  I need fast, easy, and filling food.

    Without eating before your 8:30am, your body goes all morning while your brain and stomach are searching for fuel! Your stomach is rumbling before class is even over and by ten o’clock you have a hunger headache. Sometimes are bodies are giving us warning signs to tell us something is up. Usually, when your body needs some nutrients to go about its day, it will tell you! It may just be screaming via tummy rumble. Your 10:00 am headache may also be disrupting your concentration because you are dehydrated. Not getting enough water can make our minds cranky and affect our mood. Being hungry and dehydrated can cut into our study time and hold us back from completing daily tasks.

     Fast and easy foods for us college students usually mean something hot and greasy, something uptown with friends or between classes. Being ‘full’ and being ‘stuffed’ are two different things. If you’re feeling stuffed after eating then you probably should try slowing down while you eat your next meal. Make sure you have a glass of water to sip on in between bites. Talk and enjoy what you’re eating. Make sure to note how what you ate makes you feel later. Are you feeling greasy, sluggish, and bogged down? Maybe it is because of the grilled cheese, fries, and soda combo you chose to splurge on. The simplest (and grossest) way to tell if you’re being healthy on a daily basis: check your bathroom schedule.  Drinking eight glasses of water a day will have you using the latrine frequently! After a few of these eight ounce glasses, urine will be the desired pale yellow color. Looking at your bowels is another way to access your health from the past few days. If you haven’t had one of these in awhile then maybe it might be time for some fiber! Try whole grain bread options, or experiment with eating dark green leafy veggies.

Being healthy doesn’t have to be a stress on top of all our schoolwork! Carving out time in our days to fuel our bodies (and minds) with food will go a long way. We all want to get A’s but our bodies are also telling us signs of how well we are treating them! Eat breakfast, drink water, and remember to listen to what your body is asking for.


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National Nutrition Month: Improve Your Immune System

Article Written by Sarah Hagedorn, Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

Improving your immune system can start with foods and vitamins you consume in your diet. This article will give you 5 steps in working toward the improvement of your immune system!

Step 1

Start every meal by loading your plate half full of fruits and vegetables.

Step 2

Choose whole grains. Pass up refined grains. What does this mean? Whole grain is 100% untreated grain. This includes foods such as 100% wheat bread, oats, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and whole-wheat tortillas.

These whole grains have more nutrients and vitamins. Plus they can help prevent weight gain because whole grains are digested slower than refined grains (white bread, white rice, bagels). This means less of the bread you love to eat will be stored as fat. Look for 100% whole grains on the label.

Step 3

Choose lots of Vitamin C. Foods high in vitamin C include lemons, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, broccoli, oranges and many more.

Step 4

Eat healthy fats. All fat is bad right? No! Bad fats include trans and saturated fats. Healthy fats are monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats; they are found in olive oil, nuts/seeds, and avocados.  Bad fats would be fats found in hamburgers, fries, and other greasy food examples.

Step 5

Drink and eat your calcium. Choose yogurt, milk, almond milk, coconut milk, soymilk, or low fat cheese every day.  Calcium is essential for our bodies to consume while we are young. Right now, our diet and physical activity determines how healthy our bones will be in later life.  Think about your bones and pour yourself a glass of milk!


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What’s Wrong with My Typical College Diet?

Article Written by Abby Larson, Junior and SAND (Student Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) Member

      The average college lifestyle is not conducive to healthful habits. Erratic schedules, inconsistent sleep, limited budgets, and constant temptations are characteristic of college life added to the already present challenges of a healthy diet.  In this blog I’ll detail some college staples and easy changes to flip the “freshman fifteen” to “freshman fit”.

Pizza

Organization events, Uptown, delivery services… pizza is everywhere for college students.  It’s easy, fast, and delicious.  Pizza varieties tend to be carb- and fat-laden, and deficient in important nutrients. Rather than the greasy, processed variety, try making pizza using whole wheat tortilla or naan bread with tomato sauce and topped with feta cheese, spinach, chicken, and basil. Substitute any other toppings for a pizza that’s just as satisfying without the guilt.

Ramen

Ramen is notoriously simple to make. The flavor pack for the chicken variety contains an alarming 1,820 mg of sodium, and the FDA recommends consuming at most 2,300 mg per day. With a lot of sodium and little other nutritional benefits, ditch the flavor pack for seasonings such as garlic, pepper, or fresh herbs along with vegetables and a protein, like chicken, beef, shrimp, or an egg.  

Ramen frequently takes the form of a midnight meal. The timing of meals is as important as the meal itself. Indulging late at night usually doesn’t involve nutrient-dense foods, and on top of this, these calories are more likely to be stored as fat in your body.

Dining Halls

In dining halls, it’s easy to fill your plate up (maybe two or three times) with all the mac and cheese, fries, and chicken strips that fit.  Doing so can result in overeating certain nutrients like trans-fat or carbohydrates and missing out on others like fiber or vitamins.  Instead, make the most of the meal plan swipe by going in with a plan and filling up on the healthy options. A balanced plate of vegetables, fruits, protein, and dairy leads to a more satisfying, and nutritious, experience.

In college, and in life, unhealthy and healthy options are available. By thinking about what you chose to eat and making healthful food choices will help you begin to make lifestyle changes. Preparing food by oneself takes a little more preparation and work but improves the taste and nutritional quality. Ultimately, healthy choices involves lifestyle changes that promote balance and variety. Making small changes can lead to significant improvements.


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February Superfood: Beets

Beets are February’s superfood of the month! What is a superfood you may ask? A superfood is defined as a nutrient-rich food considered to be especially beneficial for health and well-being. This nutrient-dense root beatable is the perfect source for vitamins and health benefits. Their rich pop of color can brighten up your plate and your day with its deep red and purple zing. Beets are young, firm little red ball-shaped plants that are known to have a unique earthy sweetness. This earthy sweetness can deliciously be paired with shape flavors like goat cheese or lemon.

You Can’t Beet the Health Benefits

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Boost stamina
  • Fight inflammation
  • Supports detoxification
  • Rich in folate, which reduces the risk of birth defects
  • Anti-cenver properties
  • Rich in vitamin C, fiber, iron, and essential minerals such as manganese and potassium
  • Supports brain and bone health

How to Eat Beets

Did you know that the leaf on the beat root is edible? The leaf is part of the healthiest part of the plant. Beet greens actually have more iron than spinach! Whether thinly sliced or grated, beets are perfect to eat fully raw or cooked. Before eating the beet root, be sure to peel its paper-thin skin off, which can be done when it’s raw. Beets are high in carbohydrates and have a high sugar content, so it is important to eat them in moderation.

Cooking Beets

Beets are phytonutrient, and high temperatures may diminish the many nutrients that beets contain. Be are to cook beets lightly–steaming vegetables is one of the top ways to cook vegetables to retain nutrients. When roasting beets, it is recommended to roast it with the peel and then rub the peel off afterwards.


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