How the FDA Plans to Change Nutrition Labels

We recently talked about reasons to be aware of one’s sugar intake, and it looks like the good folks over at the FDA have been reading our blog. Among other changes, the FDA has proposed including an “added sugars” line item to food packages to help people keep track of the extra sugar they’re ingesting. Check out the infographic below to see all ways in which nutrition labels would change (via livescience):

foodlabel

What are your thoughts on the new nutrition label? Do you think this will change how people eat? Who do you think will be impacted most by these changes? Leave a reply below, and let us know what you think!

 

The College Student’s Mortal Enemy

As you have secretly suspected all along, the college student lifestyle is slowly killing you. What might surprise you is that the culprit isn’t that Genetics test you’ve been dreading, but actually the sheer amount sitting you do on a daily basis. This may sound extreme, but studies have linked a higher amount of daily total sitting to higher mortality rates, particularly among inactive adults.

“Clearly,” you say, “this just means I need to hit the SRC every day, and I’ll be good to go.” While that’s a great idea for a host of other reasons, studies show that consistent, vigorous workouts don’t have much effect on the damage done to your body from sitting all day in class, at the library, and in front of the TV.

Before you drop out of school and start looking at joining the circus, here are a few things you can do mitigate the sitting damage.

Maintain Proper Posture

Isn’t it refreshing to know that all those people that told you not to slouch weren’t trying to nag you, but were actually concerned for your mortal safety? Good posture has many benefits for the mind and the body, such as:

  • Improved organ function
  • Reduced tension/pain in the neck, shoulders, and back
  • Increased concentration and mental performance
  • Humped shoulders prevention
  • Increased height
  • “Beer belly” prevention
  • Increased confidence

If you look like the picture below, then you’re doing it right.

sitting

 

Stretch While You Sit

Staying active throughout the day is the best way to guard yourself against the harms of the sedentary lifestyle. Finding creative ways to exercise throughout the day is a great place to start. Another great option is chair yoga. Below are some moves you can try if you feel yourself getting stiff in your seat. Any stares you receive will almost certainly be out of admiration.

yogasitting

Remember  never push your body to a point that causes pain. You’ll still get the benefit of these poses even if you are not very flexible. The best part is, if you do yoga on a regular basis, your flexibility and strength will increase.

There may not be any way to avoid sitting for several hours a day as a college student, but by staying active and giving a few of these tips a try, you might just make it out of here alive.

Busy College Students: You Too Can Exercise!

Every summer I get into the best shape of my life. I have all those extra hours to devote to super structured workout plans; life is grand. Once classes begin and my Google calendar gradually becomes a multicolored depiction of the overcommitted college student, all that working-out momentum I build up over the long break tends to peter out, and exercise time gets squeezed out by other responsibilities. Does this sound like a familiar scenario? If you’re out there sadly nodding your head, there’s hope! Although you might not have time to do an entire P90X video, there are many great ways to incorporate exercise into your busy day.

  • Turn your morning trip to school into your workout. Riding your bike to school will give you exercise, with the added benefit of turning time spent waiting at a bus stop into extra sleeping time.
  • Power walk between classes. As always, beware of crooked bricks!
  • Opt to take the stairs instead of the elevator. Walking up stairs raises your heart rate and strengthens your glutes, quads, and calf muscles. Jogging up stairs has a multiplicative effect on all of these benefits.
  • Wake up early to workout. I wouldn’t suggest skipping any sleep, but if you can tweak your schedule to accommodate morning exercise, this is a great way to start the day. Try sleeping in your workout clothes if motivation is an issue.
  • Workout at work or while you study. Give your brain a break while you put your body to work. Find one of the walking workstations on campus. Also, checkout this link for a whole host of office workout ideas.
  • Sneak a workout in during your down time. Binge watching Orange is the New Black doesn’t have to be a static experience. Do some push up, sit ups, or squats while you watch.
  • Set aside a specific time for working out and make it sacred. The best way to make sure the other colorful time blocks don’t squeeze out  your exercise is to give it a colorful block of its own.

The ultimate goal is to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise 4 times a week. It doesn’t have to come all at once; you can break that time into segments as short as 10 minutes. Be sure to take advantage of technology as well. There are tons of smartphone apps designed to help you have a good workout in short period of time, such as Sworkit. Other great places to look are YouTube and Your Favorite Internet Search Engine. Your schedule might be trying to ruin your exercise aspirations, but with a little imagination, experimentation, and flexibility, you can still meet your personal fitness goals.

Who Knows Where Those Hands Have Been?

UPDATED HandwashingInfographicSCA

Handwashing is one of the most effective methods for preventing the spread of diseases, but as you may have noticed from the graphic above, people don’t wash their hands anywhere near as often as they say they do.  Any surface touched by someone with unwashed, bacteria-laden hands becomes infected, making the world we live in a veritible minefield of disease.  But before you start stockpiling hand santizer and lock yourself in a bomb shelter, check out these easy methods for keeping your hands clean.

  1. WASH YOUR HANDS BEFORE EATING

The idea here is to eliminate germs before they have the chance to enter your body.  To properly wash your hands:

  • Apply soap to wet hands.
  •  Work into a lather for at least 20 seconds (protip: hum happy birthday twice if you need a timer).
  • Make sure to scrub the backs of hands, between fingers, and under nails.
  • Rinse with running water.
  • Dry hands with clean towel or air dry.

You can use hand sanitizer as an alternative, but remember, santiters do not eliminate all types of germs and are not effective when hands are visibly dirty.  Handwashing before you eat is just the start.  To ensure maximum safety, you should also wash your hands:

  • Before, during, and after preparing food
  • Before and after caring for someone who is sick
  • Before and after treating a cut or wound
  • After riding on public transportation
  • After using the toilet
  • After using shared gym equipment
  • After handling money
  • After changing diapers or cleaning up a child
  • After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
  • After touching an animal, animal feed, or animal waste
  • After touching or taking out garbage
  • After any other potentially gross things you do that I couldn’t think of

    2.  DO NOT COUGH INTO YOUR HANDS

Coughing is, among other things, your body’s way of expelling bacteria and other unwanted organisms.  Don’t sabotage yourself by putting those germs right back onto your body.  If possible, try coughing into a napkin or into the crook of your elbow (like a vampire).  This is also a good way to avoid infecting common areas and surfaces.  What a good neighbor!

    3.  DO NOT SNEEZE INTO YOUR HANDS

Basically the same as #2, but important enough to get it’s own section.  Seriously, don’t do it! Because no one wants to touch this.

    4.  DO NOT PUT YOUR FINGERS IN YOUR EYES, NOSE, OR MOUTH

I know, a classic case of “easier said than done”, but it’s the key component to hand awareness.  The mucous membranes of the eyes, nose,  and mouth (also known as the “T Zone” – draw a T on a face if you don’t get it) are the only entrances on your body for bacteria that cause respiratory and gastrointestinal disease.  Simply put, if nothing infected touches your T Zone, it’s near impossible for you to get sick.

If trusting other people to keep their hands clean is your only game plan, consider following these four rules! It will go a long way towards protecting yourself from the bacteria culture that is our world. Stay healthy, Heels!

Resources:

http://www.sca.com/en/us/press/press-releases/archive/2012/men-caught-dirty-handed-when-it-comes-to-good-hygiene-/

http://www.cdc.gov/features/handwashing/

http://www.henrythehand.com/faq/

How I Learned to Stop Fearing the Rhinovirus

Runny nose, itchy throat, feeling all sneezy?  That’s right everyone, it’s cold season again.  Catching the common cold is no fun, but luckily your friends at Healthy Heels have you covered with all the information you need to get yourself back in tip top shape.

First things first, how do you catch a cold?  Rhinovirus, the usual cause of what we call the “common cold”, is spread by coming into contact with someone who is already infected.  This can occur through direct contact, touching contaminated objects (like doorknobs or keyboards), or coming into contact with sneeze droplets in the air.  The virus normally enters the body through the nose or mouth, so touching an object exposed to the virus and then your face is a sure fire way to get sick.  Once the cold virus enters the body, it attaches to the lining of your nose or throat.  Your immune system responds by sending white blood cells to attack the virus, inflaming your nose and throat, and producing a bunch of mucus.  You probably recognize this as miserable-swollen-face syndrome (obviously not a technical term!).  Other common cold symptoms include itchy or sore throat, sneezing nasal congestion, watery eyes, and mucus drainage.

Getting wet or chilled won’t cause a cold, but may make you more susceptible to catching one because your immune system is suppressed.  Other factors that make you more likely to catch a cold are excessive fatigue, emotional distress, and allergies with nose or throat symptoms.  Colds are contagious for 3 days after symptoms initially develop, so if you start to get the sniffles make sure you’re washing your hands frequently and try to avoid direct contact with other people.

If you’ve already caught a cold, there isn’t a proven cure, but you can treat the symptoms.  Over the counter medicines that might be helpful are anti-inflammatories like Tylenol and Advil to help the fever, aches, sinus pressure, and sore throat.  If you’re into holistic remedies, try gargling salty water to relieve throat pain, sleeping with an extra pillow under your head to drain your sinuses, and blowing your nose gently and often.  For more home remedies, you can head here.  Remember, the cold is caused by a virus, so taking antibiotic medication will do nothing for you.  Colds generally last around 10 days.  If your symptoms persist longer, or are more severe (high fever or muscle aches) chances are you actually have the flu and it’s time to call your doctor.   You can always schedule an appointment at Campus Health by calling the appointment line at (919) 966-2281.

So there you have it.  Everything you need to know to fight the common cold.  Be well, Tarheels!

 

References:

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/understanding-common-cold-basics

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/which-medicine-help

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/flu-cold-symptoms