About uwecswat

The Student Wellness Advocacy Team (SWAT) is a group of peer health educators who educate the UW-Eau Claire campus on a variety of health and wellness topics. Our goal is to educate and inform about the myths, facts, or the unknowns surrounding your health and wellness. Submit any questions you have under the "contact" tab!

5 Reasons why you should stop drinking soda

Five Reasons Why You Should Stop Drinking Soda

 

Soda is one of those unnsodaecessary things that has reared its ugly head into our lives. It’s served in every restaurant, found in every convenience store, I walk into my grandma’s house and one of the first things she’ll ask me is “Do you need a soda or something?”. It’s everywhere, and it’s hard to fight the temptation of a ice cold coke, or whatever your preferred type might be. The average American drinks 45 gallons of soda each year, that’s nearly 500 cans in 365 days, and just under 2 cans per day. It’s hard to fight the craving but there are multiple reasons why you should think twice before grabbing an ice cold can of pop.

 

 1.     The Health Risks

 

Drinking soda contributes greatly to America’s obesity.  Studies have shown that drinking two cans of soda per day can increase your risks of obesity by 32.8 percent and 54.5 percent if consuming diet soda. The risk is higher because the sugar substitutes used to make diet sodas have been shown to increase hunger overall throughout the day after consumption.

Consuming even one soda per day will increase your chance of suffering from diabetes by 40 percent claims the American Heart Association. There is also research being done every day about the increased risk of multiple types of cancer in individuals who have drank at least one soda per day for a majority of their life.

Numbers and scary life threatening health issues aside, the more common knowledge is that soda can be very harmful to your teeth and bones, which is true. One can of soda can contain up to three different types of acid, one of the main types being phosphoric acid that has many uses aside from being an ingredient in soda, such as stripping dirt and chemicals from steel in preparation for being painted. If someone handed you a Dixie cup of metal stripping chemical how willing would you be to drink it? Not that drinking soda is that extreme of a scenario, but it’s something to consider. Additionally, the many different types of acid can damage the protective coating or enamel on your teeth and increase the rate of decay. Similarly, it has also been proven to decrease bone mass throughout your body because the acids sucks the calcium out of your bones making them thinner, weaker, and more brittle which can put you at risk for more health problems such as osteoporosis.

 

2.     It’s not worthwhile caloric intake

 

The average can of soda is about 250 calories, and within those 250 calories there are little to no vitamins or nutrients, so basically you’re wasting 250 calories of your daily intake on something that really isn’t benefitting your body or energy level in any way. It’s mostly sugar and caffeine which don’t even have a recommended daily intake according to the FDA.

 

3.     You’ll still feel thirsty

 

While a cold can of Coke might feel mentally refreshing it’s not really helping your body hydrate. Soda contains caffeine and caffeine is known to be a diuretic, which causes your body to not retain any of the fluids it intakes to hydrate your body causing dehydration which can lead to many other uncomfortable symptoms like head ache and fatigue but will also leave you feeling thirsty and like you need to drink more.

 

4.     It’s addictive

 

Caffeine doesn’t make something taste any different so why do they put it in soda? One reason and one reason only, caffeine is addictive. Soda companies use it to get their consumers hooked and dependent upon their product so they keep buying it. Not only does caffeine do things to your body that aren’t great like I mentioned above but it causes you to become dependent upon it which can be unhealthy.

 

5.     It hurts your wallet

 

How much our soda drinking habits cost us is not something we really think about or want to think about for that matter. However, looking at the cost for some people is more eye opening than the health issues that “could” happen, because it’s an effect we can easily see and measure in our own habits.

 

Let’s do some figuring; say you buy soda from the vending machine at work or school, likely one before lunch and one for the afternoon at $1 each (the average cost of a vending machine soda), that costs you $2 every day, doesn’t seem like a lot but if you add it up its nearly $730 per year on something that has no nutritional value and can be detrimental to your health. How many other things are you comfortable dropping nearly a thousand dollars on? Probably not very many things.

 

Maybe that’s not selling quitting soda for you, here’s another way to look at it, the average 12 pack of soda costs a little over four dollars and contains 250 calories of little to no nutritional value. A gallon of milk contains 16 servings that’s four more servings than the soda, contains calcium and many other vitamins and minerals in only half the calories at about 110, and costs less at only about three dollars.

Kicking the poor habit could improve your health and your wallet why wouldn’t you at least consider the idea?

 SHS

 

Sources

https://www.qualityhealth.com/eating-nutrition-articles/10-reasons-stop-drinking-soda

http://www.madsenmed.com/blog/2017/7/5/-the-average-american-drinks-how-much-soda-per-year

https://health.clevelandclinic.org/sodas-tea-coffee-can-make-bones-brittle/

https://www.livestrong.com/article/519798-what-kind-of-acids-are-in-sodas/

https://jokideo.com/funny-soda-meme/

 

 

 

 

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Meet a SWAT Member!

Meet Mariah!22549526_10212439192067958_2063591055960246928_n

Year in school: Freshman

Hometown: Baraboo, WI

Major: Business Undecided

Favorite healthy snack: Clementine’s, Dried Mangos

Favorite way to exercise: Hiking, Running

If you were a crayon, what color would you be?: Robin’s Egg

Interesting fact: I have a huge family!

 

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.

 

ceca

 

 

Sources:

http://www.ncausa.org/About-Coffee/History-of-Coffee\

https://nationalcoffeeblog.org/2017/05/04/nervous-about-caffeine-dont-be/

https://www.mightyleaf.com/history-of-tea

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/tea-a-cup-of-good-health

http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/12/20/chart-of-the-week-coffee-and-tea-around-the-world/

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.

 

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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.

 bans

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:

 

https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/nutritional-psychiatry-your-brain-on-food-201511168626

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness/6-foods-to-eat-for-a-mood-boost/2017/04/06/432820a0-188c-11e7-9887-1a5314b56a08_story.html?utm_term=.cf745dded48d

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:
http://uwec.readsh101.com/
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/HealthyLiving/How-to-Change-Bad-Habits-and-Live-a-Heart-HealthyLifestyle_UCM_434369_Article.jsp#.Wo22tajwY2w
https://www.goredforwomen.org/fight-heart-disease-women-go-red-women-official-site/live-healthy/

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!

sand

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.

cats 

Hours:

            Sundays 4PM-6PM

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

            Tuesdays 11AM-3PM

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

            Thursdays 1PM-3PM

            Fridays 11AM-1PM

a1 

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

 

Bake!  

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.

 

 

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