Hydration

Hydration plays a critical role in how well your brain and body function. There is increasing evidence that even mild dehydration can lead to cognitive impairments. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the average person should drink 64 ounces of fluid per day. People who are physically active, or work in the heat, need to drink more.  

It’s not always easy to remember to drink water. We suggest carrying a reusable water bottle. 

Managing Stress during Finals Week

Decorative image. Cover of Manage Stress Workbook.

Finals week can be a period of high stress and our bodies respond by releasing stress hormones. These hormones help keep us alert and ready to deal with what is happening or about to happen. According to the 2018 Penn State Student Health Assessment, 31% of students reported that stress affected their academic performance in the last 12 months.  

The Manage Stress Workbook has stress management exercises to help you throughout finals week.  The exercises include breathing exercises, mindfulness meditations, and progressive muscle relaxation.   Visit the stress management website to learn more or pick up a workbook from HPW in 001P or 020 Intramural Building.  We are open Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m.- 5:00 p.m. 

Eat more fruits and veggies

According to a recent student health survey at University Park, only 4.4% of undergraduate students reported eating the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables (Penn State University, 2018, American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment).  Look at this guide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to learn about how many cups are recommended for your age.  You will find simple suggestions to help you eat more fruits and veggies.

You can also sign up for a free session with a registered dietitian or talk with a peer educator in the nutrition Wellness Service.  Read more about these free resources.

Decoding Vitamins and Supplements

If you have decided to make eating a balanced healthy diet a priority, you have taken an amazing step toward improving your health. However, it can be difficult to evaluate if you’re getting enough vitamins and minerals to achieve optimal health. There are more supplements available in supermarkets and drug stores than ever before. Do you really need them? 

According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, “Nutritional needs should be met primarily from foods. Individuals should aim to meet their nutrient needs through healthy eating patterns that include nutrient-dense foods” (1). Exceeding recommended levels of some vitamins and minerals is not only unnecessary but can also cause health issues (1).  

Supplements can be beneficial in certain circumstances where an individual is lacking vitamins and minerals caused by some health conditions.  For example, if someone is lactose intolerant and cannot eat dairy, a calcium supplement will likely be beneficial to help them meet their calcium needs.  Your doctor can order tests to determine if taking a vitamin or mineral supplement would benefit you. Only use supplements if your doctor has recommended them (2).  

If you’re concerned that your diet is not providing you with proper nutrition, consider scheduling an appointment with a registered dietitian. Schedule an appointment online through myUHS or call 814-863-0461. 

References: 

1.        “Vitamins Minerals and Supplements: Do You Need to Take Them.” Edited by Taylor Wolfram, Eat Right. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics., 6 July 2018, https://www.eatright.org/food/vitamins-and-supplements/dietary-supplements/vitamins-minerals-and-supplements-do-you-need-to-take-them  

2.       Vitamin Supplements: Health or Hoax? American Heart Association, 12 June 2015, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Vitamin-Supplements-Healthy-or-Hoax_UCM_432104_Article.jsp#.W0YL7opKiUk