Ditching the diet and grabbing the greens

 

Forget love — most of us are in a committed relationship with food.

Let’s face it, there’s no denying that everyone loves food. But with the rigorous demands of university, it can be hard to meet one's daily nutritional needs.

Grant McNaughton, first-year social science student, expresses the struggle of maintaining a healthy diet. 

“I think being at school negatively impacts my food choices," he says. "When I’m really focused with school work I won’t eat, which is really bad. I also eat more unhealthy when I’m at school."

Time tends to be a rare commodity while at school and it can put a strain on students’ relationship with food. Being busy with school can make individuals skip meals, rely on caffeine or turn to junk food. All of these things may hinder one's ability to focus.

Simply explained in the term “hangry," the popular emotion is actually a real thing. Science says that if your blood sugar is moderately low — below 40 mg/DL — you may become confused, irritable, dizzy, angry, upset or unable to concentrate. 

“Eating regular meals throughout the day makes sure you have enough blood sugar and energy to function and stay focused throughout the day," explains Andrea Docherty, registered dietician and sports nutritionist. "It’s really important to have regular meals and make sure they’re balanced in terms of getting enough protein, vegetables and carbohydrates.”

Furthermore, if students are busy studying at the library all day, healthy snacks will maintain blood sugar levels and be conducive to studying. Docherty advises students to snack on things like nuts, plain greek yogurt, fruit or whole-grain crackers because they will help keep students' satisfied and maintain blood sugar levels. 

Regularly having these snacks can add various benefits to one's day like staying energized, regulating mood, improving the immune system and affecting higher brain functions that control learning, memory and intellectual functioning. All of this can improve academic performance. 

David Massara, second-year BMOS student, agrees with this sentiment. 

“Eating healthy is the gateway to success," he says. "It’s just as important as getting enough sleep and important as your mental health. If you don’t have decent eating habits it will be harder for you to achieve a balanced lifestyle.”

At the end of the day, it's important to remember that your health comes first. Despite the upcoming stress with final papers and exams, it’s important to make time to eat right. 

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Vivian Cheng is a third year medical sciences student and Culture Editor for Volume 111. When she's not writing or editing, you can find her curating another playlist or thinking about puppies. You can contact her at vivian.cheng@westerngazette.ca.

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