Nutrition is beneficial to grades and health
When students spend so much of their time going to class, working or staying up late to study, sometimes there’s never enough time to stop and cook a decent meal.
Some students end up turning to a fast fix like junk food and learn to rely on caffeine and energy drinks to get them through all-nighters. While this might make students think they are saving more time for studying, by taking on unhealthful eating and drinking habits, they are ultimately hurting themselves.
“Nutrition is not only a healthy behavior that affects students physically. It also impacts their learning and ultimately their success at the University,” said Gail Gillan of the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center.
If university students took time out of their studies to learn to eat smarter, the benefits would improve their health, studying abilities and their success in school.
According to several health websites like Livestrong.com, instead of snacking on a bag of Cheetos or power bars, it’s better to snack on nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, pecans and flax seeds, which are full of memory-promoting nutrients such as Vitamin C, B6 and omega-3 fatty acids. If a student has a sweet tooth, chocolate produces endorphins, which enhance the mood and improve focus and concentration.
There are also certain fruits and vegetables which are known to improve brainpower. Based on an article from Livestrong.com, “certain superfruits like blueberries, strawberries and blackberries contain flavonoids and antioxidants, improve learning capacity and vegetables such as Brussels sprouts, carrots and spinach and avocados which contain monounsaturated fats increase blood flow to the brain and boost brain power.”
“The complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables help us in learning, while carbohydrates that cause glucose levels to fluctuate, do not,” Gillan said.
According to Livestrong.com, other types of carbohydrates such as whole grain bread, cereal, brown rice and pasta can provide relaxing effects on the brain, reduce anxiety and aid in a student’s ability to focus without worrying, which improve their studying abilities. At the same time it’s suggested students avoid certain refined grains mostly found in processed foods, which causes sleepiness.
“Also certain proteins like fish such as salmon, tuna and halibut that contain omega-3 fatty acids improve learning ability and problem-solving skills as well as boost mental alertness,” according to Livestrong.com.
As far as drinking habits, green tea is full of antioxidants, which stimulate the brain and have a calming effect.
Gillan said most students make healthful choices around nutrition that help them academically. She said according to last semester’s Wellness Survey, 60 percent of students indicated fruit and vegetables are in their diet most of the time.
“However, 33 percent still eat high calorie/high fat foods and 28% eat fast foods at the same high levels.”
While eating fast food might seem like a time saver, investing the time and learning to eat healthy is worth the while in the long run.