Healthy mind, body, soul require smart food choices

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Nutrition is a major topic for a growing number of students.

By Cassi Armstrong

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

For many students, the latest trend is buzzing; being healthy is now a craze. But with so many different diets, workout regimens and weight loss supplements, it can be difficult for them to determine which type of healthy lifestyle is right.

Biology adjunct Shelly Sheppard says “healthy” labels don’t always guarantee something is healthy, and sometimes what may appear to be a healthy choice can turn out to be a bad decision.

Take for example, nutritional supplements.

“Vitamin companies are part of a billion-dollar industry,” Sheppard said. “Vitamin companies aren’t monitored by the FDA, because the vitamins are not considered a food or drug.”

Since it is extremely difficult for people to get all of their necessary nutrients in the food they consume, many turn to vitamins in order to stay healthy.

However, since the FDA does not monitor the manufacturing of vitamins, producers are able to add any ingredient they feel is nutritious.

“There are no laws on what is actually considered a vitamin,” Shelly said.

To be on the safe side, Sheppard suggests doing some research on the vitamin company before purchasing its products.

She also encourages students to educate themselves about any supplement they take and ask themselves if they really need it.

Juicing is becoming a popular way to enjoy a healthful meal, she said.

“It’s fine to juice, but if you plan on juicing throw the whole fruit in there,” Sheppard said.

This includes the pulp and skin; this maintains the full nutritional value of the fruit.

Sheppard encourages the addition of essential greens, such as kale or spinach. She said blending the fruit and vegetables until they are smooth eliminates any unpleasant taste of the greens.

Many students shuffle jobs, classes and children. To get through the day, some chug coffee, five-hour energy shots, Red Bulls or Monsters.

Sheppard said too much of anything can be a bad thing, and that includes energy drinks.

Sheppard also doesn’t recommend going to an extended class on an empty stomach and coffee.

“You are going to struggle,” she said.

Sheppard doesn’t recommend cutting carbs totally out of one’s diet, despite a recent trend that boycotted them altogether.

A healthful diet that provides energy consists of carbs, fats and proteins, she said.

She advises that people do their own research but also ask their physician about changes to their diet, using supplements or increasing their physical activity.

For more information about health and nutrition, call Sheppard at 210-486-0860.

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