Coffee V. Tea

Coffee Versus Tea

Analyzing the health pros and cons of America’s two favorite warm drinks

By: Mariah Deyo


I can get up and get moving with my day without a cup of caffeine! Scratch that, literally. For me, getting up in the morning  is a feat near impossible without the knowledge of cta nice warm caffeinated drink on the horizon. I have been a coffee consumer since age 7 when my dad let me sneak sips of coffee from his mug before school. It wasn’t until recently that I began consuming tea in the morning, which got me to thinking- what are the health benefits, if any, that are associated with drinking tea and with drinking coffee? Thus, I began my research.

As the deep-rooted java drinker that I am, I began my studies with coffee. Coffee was first discovered in the forests of the Ethiopian plateau by a goat herder Kaldi. He noticed that whenever his goats ate the “berries” from the cocoa tree, they were so energetic that they could not fall asleep. So, as the legend goes, he brought some of these magical fruits back with him, creating the drink which many have grown to love. Monastery’s in Ethiopia began to consume this drink to keep them awake during long hours of prayer, and similarly coffee replaced alcohol for breakfast in Europe after they found it made them more energized and ready to take on the day.

Regardless of how the jitter juice came to be, research found that there are plenty of positive health benefits to drinking coffee. Coffee consumers were found to have lower risks of liver disease, decreased likelihood of Alzheimer’s, and lower risk of type 2 diabetes. Additionally, coffee contains antioxidants which enhance cognitive function and memory. As for the health downfalls, any coffee consumer has experienced “the jitters” following too much coffee; conditions including heart palpitations, anxiety, and nausea. Additionally, over 1000 chemicals have been found in roasted coffee, with 19 of which being known carcinogens. For those of us who often enjoy a dark chocolate mocha from the Cabin in Davies, or possibly a delicious frappucino from Starbuck’s- be aware of the amounts of fats, sugars, and calories that you are consuming. Depending on how quickly you metabolize, heightened cholesterol and weight gain might come consequently to overconsumption.

Now, onto the history of tea. Two legends exist upon where tea first originated. Based in China, 2737 B.C.E., Emperor Shen Nong was evidently boiling water in his garden when a leaf from a wild tea tree fell into his pot. After tasting his water, he discovered he enjoyed the flavor and conducted research on its health properties. The next legend goes that in India, Year 520, Prince Bodhi-Dharma left to preach Buddhism in China. To prove the Zen principles, he vowed to meditate for 9 years, however he fell asleep. Allegedly, when he woke up, he cut off his eyelid and a tea tree sprung up on the spot to “sanctify his sacrifice”. Whatever the case may be, tea has been the most popular beverage second to water for centuries.

Similarly, to coffee, tea is filled with antioxidants and cancer fighting properties. The different types of teas are proven to inhibit a variety of health benefits. Green tea reduces esophageal cancer, black tea lowers levels of the stress hormone, cortisol; and white tea inhibits the growth of fat cells. However, too much consumption can cause heart palpitations and restlessness. Additionally, as tea contains fluoride, there is an increased risk of bone brittleness and osteofluorosis, an access of fluoride found in the bones. Depending where the tea is from, there is additional concern for pesticides to be found in the tea as well.

Rejoice coffee and tea connoisseurs! Both coffee and tea are shown to be beneficial to our health and rarely detrimental to it. Coffee content varies in each beverage, with an 8 oz. coffee containing 75-165 mg and an 8 oz. tea containing 26 mg. Your choice in your breakfast brew is up to you, whether you chose bitter or sweet, iced or hot. Regardless, we can keep our tea kettles whistling and our coffee makers running.







How Your Diet Affects Mood and Brain Function

Your Brain on Food: Understanding How Your Diet Affects Mood and Brain Function


If we’re all being honest here, eating healthy is hard when you’re in college. First off, its more expensive than processed and boxed foods. Its more work, you actually have to cook fresh foods, like planning and cutting and prepping everything and then turning on the oven and using it, not to mention how much extra time that takes compared to throwing a TV dinner in the microwave. Or if you’re like me you’re constantly on the go so it’s rare you have time to sit down and eat a full meal, your snacking in between classes and other activities. The worst part is we don’t think about how much our lazy or rushed eating habits affect our mood and brain function, and when you’re a student your brain needs to be functioning at full capacity.



It’s simple as Harvard Health puts it, your brain is like your car, it runs the best when you’re pumping in premium fuel. As soon as you start filling your tank with lower grade fuel chalked full of fillers and preservatives your car just simply doesn’t run as well. Similarly, when you are eating whole unprocessed grains, fruits and vegetables or foods that are high in vitamins and minerals your mood is better and your body can run easier but if you’re constantly ingesting processed foods with refined sugars it can take a toll on your brains ability to run cleanly.


The nutritional value in whatever you are eating is absorbed by healthy bacteria normally present in your intestinal tract, also in your intestinal tract are millions of nerve endings that release a neurotransmitter called serotonin that helps to regulate sleep, appetite, mood and can help inhibit pain. The bacteria, like any living organism, flourish on fresh healthy and unprocessed foods, if the bacteria are receiving healthy amounts of vitamins the nerve endings will be more active and release more serotonin more frequently which often improves mood and lowers the risk of depression. When the bacteria in your gut are happy! Studies have shown that people who follow traditional Mediterranean diets or Japanese type diets (diets that contain modest amounts of lean meat, are high in fresh vegetables, nuts, fish and healthy oils, and low in dairy) compared to a typical western diet that is high in processed grains and refined sugars have a 25-35% lower risk of suffering from mood disorders like depression.


That being said, it would be great if we could all just drop our bad eating habits and start fresh on a happy brain diet but that is unrealistic for majority of people, not just college students.


One way to gradually work up to a happy brain diet is by slowly cutting out foods or groups of food that can poorly effect our bodies. Harvard suggests cutting out dairy, or going grain free, it’s also always good to cut down on your sugar intake.


Another way to look at it is immediate feeling versus the long term feeling. Yeah, it will feel great to eat that chocolate bar or bag of chips right now and you’ll likely experience a short term emotional lift but thinking more long term, even that night or the next day for example it won’t feel great anymore. Whereas eating an apple or some carrots is more sustainable and will give you more energy and improve your mood over a longer period of time.


Maybe cutting things from your diet just isn’t in the cards for you, and that’s okay! Try adding nutritious foods to your already existing diet. For example, add salmon to your shopping list, or foods that are high in probiotics like yogurt. Yogurt is the best way to get probiotics next to taking a probiotic supplement, similar to a daily vitamin. Berries like blueberries are great for mood improvement and can help prevent cancer.  Nuts are another option, especially cashews and work when you find yourself eating on the go. Chances are if you begin to incorporate these foods in you”ll begin to favor them and eat less of the unhealthy foods.


Next time you’re at the store before you pick something off the shelf think to yourself “would my brain like that?”


Sources and Helpful Links:

Heart Health

5 Tips for Being Heart Healthy pexels-photo-416443.jpeg

Unfortunately, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, attributing to 1 in every 4 deaths. Since February is heart disease awareness month, here are five strategies for keeping your heart healthy. ☺

1. Exercise

Exercise has so many benefits, including preventing conditions that contribute to heart disease, such as high blood pressure, cholesterol, and diabetes. It is recommended that you get 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily. Remember that it doesn’t always have to be strenuous exercise, even going for a walk, housekeeping, gardening, or taking the stairs counts towards your total. Do what works for you!

2. Eat Heart Healthy

Eating mostly fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help limit your risk for heart disease. Limit eating foods high in fat as well, such as red meat, deep fried foods, and foods high in sugar which can lead to conditions that increase risk of heart disease.

3. Know how to manage stress

Being able to manage your stress in a positive way will help you in so many aspects of your health, not just mentally but physically as well! High stress levels can contribute to high blood pressure. If you often find yourself tense and on edge, try different strategies to relax yourself and relieve some stress.

4. Get Quality sleep

People who are lacking in sleep or have poor quality sleep can have negative effects on your mood, mental alertness, energy level, and overall health. Make sure you are practicing good sleep hygiene such as having a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and evening, and looking at a screen before bed.

5. Get regular health screenings

Making sure you get regular check ups with your primary physician is important in knowing where your health is at and what you can do to improve it. Catching warning signs is important, and preventing heart disease is always better than managing heart disease.
Living a heart-healthy lifestyle improves your overall health, gives you more energy and focus throughout the day, and helps prevent other health conditions. For more health information, see:

the Rest Nest

We are fast approaching the middle of the semester and I am already SO. STRESSED. Anyone else?!laptop

Luckily for UWEC students, a magical place specifically designed to help us de-stress has just recently opened on the 5th floor of our very own McIntyre Library, and it’s totally FREE!


The Rest Nest is located in 5011 and has the absolute best view of the river- don’t believe us? Come check it out for yourself! We also have fun stuff to help you relax like two massage chairs, a foot massager, a giant bean bag chair, floam, kinetic sand, putty, a zen garden, a meditation board, coloring pages and supplies, fun lights, and puzzles, with relaxing music on top of all of that! mm

 We will also be hosting 30-minute activities called Meaningful Minutes, in which members of our staff will put together a short, guided program for an even deeper relaxation. Watch for Meaningful Minutes scheduling and program announcements on our Facebook page, which you can “like” by searching “UW-Eau Claire Student Health Service, Health Promotion, SWAT”!   

Our staff consists of trained peer support specialists from both the Student Wellness Advocacy Team and SPARC (Suicide Prevention and Research Collaborative) who are there to support and to connect you with on-campus resources.



            Sundays 4PM-6PM

            Mondays 11AM-1PM and 7PM-9PM

            Tuesdays 11AM-3PM

            Wednesdays 12PM-4PM and 7PM-9PM

            Thursdays 1PM-3PM

            Fridays 11AM-1PM


Check out the Rest Nest, Blugolds, and remember- relax, recharge, and repeat!

Buying on a Budget

The Best Ways to Buy on a College Budget Holiday Edition


The Holidays are a time of giving no matter what sort of celebrations you engage in or choose to observe and if you’re a college student that can make this time of the year nomonetstressful. We’ve all had those “I don’t have any groceries…or money” moments and when you can barely buy food it can be tough to buy gifts for the one’s you love and appreciate. If you find yourself in this situation or just want to save a few bucks this season you’ve come to the right place!

With some creativity, holiday spirit and only a little money you can check off getting a gift for everyone on your list.


Skip the Black Friday Stampedes and Shop the Dollar Store or Other Discount Store

The dollar store is deals galore. Have someone who likes sentimental gifts? Stores like The Dollar Tree have super cheap picture frames that you can personalize with sharpies, stickers, glitter, holiday bows or anything you might have laying around and then either print a picture of you and that person together or have one developed at photo kiosk (which is also only about 50 cents for a 4×6 print) and voila! You have a unique and thoughtful gift that only cost you a few dollars.

The Dollar store also has things like cups and wine glasses you can also personalize or maybe grab a few little trinkets that reflect on an inside joke or fun memory you share with that person.

Merchandise at places like The Dollar Tree also changes week to week and with the seasons, so shop around a little and be creative with what you can do with only three or four dollars per person! Other stores to check are Dollar General, Big Lots or the clearance aisles at craft stores like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby



The way to ANYONE’S heart is through their stomach, and the cost of one batch of special and delicious cookies or holiday treat divided by the number of loved ones on your list will come out to a number your budget can handle!

One of my favorite treats to make around the holidays is easy, cheap, and cute to hand out as a gift!

Christmas Pretzels

1 bag of pretzel rings = $3.00

1 bag of hugs candy kisses= $2.98

1 bag of peppermint striped candy kisses= $2.98

1 bag of m&m’s= $3.19

cellophane gift bags= $0.99

curling ribbon= $0.99

   TOTAL: $14.13



  1. Place pretzels on a cookie sheet covered in parchment paper, and place one kiss (unwrapped) in the middle of each pretzel.
  2. Place in oven set at 200 degrees for about 2-3 minutes or just until kisses have softened
  3. Remove from oven and gently push an m&m into the top of each kiss
  4. Place in refrigerator until firm


Once they’re all done put about 10-12 in each little holiday bag, tie with a piece of ribbon and you’ve just covered everyone on your list for under $4! This will work with any homemade treat and is sure to please! You can also keep baking even more low cost if you bake using ingredients you already have in your cupboards like flour, sugar etc. that you might use to make treats like frosted cookies!


Okay, I know some of you right now are thinking “I have not one creative bone in my body and I am a disaster in the kitchen” and that’s okay! If you are the type of person that relies on buying gifts that don’t involve getting crafty or cooking, there are still ways to keep things low cost.


Take advantage of Holiday Freebies, 2/For, BOGO, and Other Deals


On black Friday retailers LOVE to hand out free things to their guests, items like blankets stuffed animals, lotions and perfumes. Stores also love to have deals that are 2/for, 3/for or Buy one, get one. Bath & Body Works is notorious for things like buy three, get three free on lotion, hand soaps, candles, etc. All of which can be great gifts for Mom, Grandma, siblings, friends or roommates.

If you aren’t willing to brave the sales, here are some tips that will still help you stay within your budget buying online or when the stores are less crazed.

Determine How much you want or can afford to spend

Put a limit on your Christmas spending, maybe you can only afford to spend $50 or you want to keep your budget under $200; then take that amount and divide it up among the people you need to buy gifts for and who you are willing to either spend more or less on. People like your roommates or friends are likely in the same budget boat you are, so buying a smaller or cheaper gift might be more reasonable and you may want to spend more on someone like a parent or grandparent.

Once you put a number on your holiday spending or your budget for a certain person, STICK TO IT. The holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year but the rest of your year won’t be nearly as wonderful if you overspent on gifts.


Know When You’ve Found the Perfect Gift

Sometimes the perfect gift is small, sometimes it’s cheap and often it is only one item. Buying someone only one item doesn’t mean that the reason you bought that gift is any less meaningful that a huge expensive gift or 500 different gifts. If you are determined to only buy one item for each person on your list, you’ll be more likely to stay within your budget. Also if you find the perfect item and by your luck its cheaper than the amount you had budgeted, don’t feel like you need to spend the extra money leftover, save it, or spend on someone else.


One last thought, remember who you’re buying for, most likely it’s loved ones, people you care about and people who care about you. They’ll understand that sometimes money is tight and will appreciate whatever you have to offer even if it is just your love or presence around the holidays.






Healthy Skin

Healthy Skin

By Morgan Karasek

November is National Healthy Skin Month, and with winter rapidly major effects on your skin start to happen due to the temperature. Your skin is the largest organ in your body, and its job is to not only interact with other organs, but also the world around you. It prevents dehydration by holding in moisture, keeps your body temperature constant, contains nerve endings so you feel hot, and it keeps you healthy by protecting your body against harmful bacteria and viruses. With all of these awesome things that your skin does, it is important you take care of it, especially during the winter months when the weather can be especially harmful.

1. Beware of the sun: skin damage can happen during any season, not justeletubbiest the summer like some may think. Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause damage to your skin in the form of wrinkles, discolored areas, benign tumors, and the most dangerous skin cancer malignant melanoma. Use sunscreen, stay in the shade, and wear protective clothing when going out into the sunshine.

2. Don’t smoke: No, it doesn’t look cool, unless you consider having older and winkled kjbpskin to be cool. Smoking causes your skin to look older. It narrows the tiny blood vessels in your face causing a decrease in blood flow to you skin, lacking it of nutrient that give your skin that healthy glow. Smoking also damages collagen and elastin which are what makes your skin so strong and stretchy. When you damage your collagen and elastin and make repetitive facial expressions such as when you smoke, it causes wrinkles.

3. Eat healthy and drink water: Eating fruits and vegetables proteins and whole wheat grains can help your skin because healthy foods contain vitamins and antioxidants that keep your skin clear and healthy such as vitamin C.miz

4. Manage your stress: distress, the negative form of stress, can cause your skin to become more sensitive and prone to acne breakouts. To prevent this, set reasonable limits to whatever is stressing you out and take time out of your day to do what you enjoy.




Holidays & Alcohol

Holidays & Alcohol

By Callie Hilbert

As we approach the last week of the semester and then the dreaded finals week, the holiday season also approaches!! If you will be celebrating with friends and family after putting a grueling semester behind you, it’s important to remember to be safe for those of you who choose to drink over the holidays. Here are some tips on how to avoid risky situations and be safe when drinking over the holidays. Remember, if you are under 21 your only safe and legal alternative is to abstain from drinking.

1. Plan Ahead

Planning ahead before you go out is essential. Before you go out decide your limits, how much you will drink, do you want to have sex, do you have protection, transportation. It’s also important to make sure you keep your phone on you in case of an emergency, and make sure it is fully charged or bring a charger with you. You also want to make sure you stay with your group and look out for each other.

2. Know how much you are drinking

Knowing how different types of alcohol can affect you is important in planning ahead as well. Some types of alcohol may have stronger and faster affects, and a mixed drink may have more alcohol than you realize. Knowing what a standard drink is can help you determine what your limits are. One standard drink equals 12 ounces of beer, 4 ounces of wine, and 1 once of 100 proof liquor, or 1.5 ounces of 80 proof liquor. Mixing alcohol with energy drinks can be dangerous since caffeine can mask the effects of alcohol which could lead to more risky behaviors. You should also never leave your drink unattended.standard-drink-picture

3. Space, Pace, Sip

In other words, limit yourself to a certain amount of drinks during a certain time-period, aka don’t slam drinks! Moderation is key to safe drinking, and keeping track of how much you are drinking helps you know your limits to prevent risky situations.

4. Skip Drinking Games!

This goes along with pacing yourself. Drinking games may be fun, but playing them can get you very drunk very quickly, just not a good idea!

5. Eat Before Drinking

Blood alcohol content (BAC) is the ratio of alcohol to blood in the body. Your BAC increases as you drink more alcohol, and a higher BAC causes you to experience the negative effects of drinking (blacking out, passing out, vomiting). Drinking on an empty stomach causes BAC to rise very quickly, so it is important to eat before you drink. Eating before, during, and after drinking slows down the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into the blood so you get intoxicated less quickly.

6. Dress Appropriately

We live in Wisconsin, it gets cold! Make sure you are dressing warm whenever you go outside. Often times you hear people say alcohol makes them feel warmer. While consuming alcohol may make you feel warmer, it doesn’t really keep you warm or prevent hypothermia. Instead, drinking alcohol actually lowers your body’s core temperature. So dress weather appropriate!

7. Stay Hydrated!

Make sure to drink plenty of water and stay hydrated before, during, and after you go out. Alcohol is a diuretic so it can cause you to become dehydrated. Alternating between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, bringing a water bottle, or just remembering to drink water throughout the night can help prevent dehydration, and it will help you not feel as terrible the next morning.

Some of us like to celebrate the end of the year holidays and the beginning of the new year with drinking. Being safe and avoiding risky situations will help you enjoy the holidays. For more information, see alcohol resources on the student health services website here; and have a happy holiday!