Do you think about what you drink?
When most people think of staying healthy, they think of eating the right foods and exercising, but they don’t really consider the importance of what they drink. Consuming drinks with too much caffeine or not drinking enough water can really take a toll on our bodies. The degree of alcohol consumption also plays a big roll in staying healthy while in college.
Caffeine is found in many of the beverages that college students consume, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, and many carbonated beverages such as colas. According to the Health Central Incorporation, a nutrition guide for teenagers and young adults, there is no human requirement for caffeine in the diet. However, moderate consumption of caffeine is not associated with any health risks. Three eight-ounce cups of coffee a day, or 250 milligrams of caffeine, is not considered to be a health risk.
Although caffeine is safe to consume in moderation, it can affect a person’s nutrition negatively. Caffeine acts as an appetite suppressant, which may affect a person’s eating habits in a negative way. It is also a central nervous system stimulant, which can lead to a fastened heart rate, nausea and vomiting, restlessness, anxiety, depression, tremors, and difficulty sleeping.
“I started drinking coffee a few weeks ago to stay awake while studying,” said Kerry, a freshman at QU. “Not too long after that, I started having trouble sleeping, which has never happened to me before. I guess I never really put two and two together.”
Health Central also warns that abrupt withdrawal of caffeine may cause headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and vomiting. They recommend reducing caffeine gradually to prevent these symptoms from occurring.
Another common misconception about unhealthy beverage consumption has to do with alcohol. Most people are aware of the fact that alcohol can be dangerous when consumed too quickly or too often. However, the long-term effects of alcohol are unknown to most college students.
According to HealthyWay. com, a website that provides nutritional information, the presence of alcohol impairs the absorption of essential nutrients because it can damage the lining of the small intestine and the stomach where most nutrients are digested. Alcohol also requires some vitamins in its metabolism, and interferes with the absorption and storage of some specific vitamins in the body.
The U.S. Dietary Guidelines suggest that if you drink alcohol, you should limit the alcohol intake to less than 5% of your daily caloric intake, preferably not more than 1 to 2 ounces of alcohol daily. This is equal to 1-1/2 ounces of 80 proof liquor such as brandy, whisky, gin, or vodka; one 4-ounce glass of wine; or one 12-ounce glass of beer.
If you choose to indulge in consuming large quantities of alcohol in a short period of time, you will most likely experience the inevitable hangover the morning after. Although the only proven cure for a hangover is time, many students claim that some of the following have worked for them.
“I always drink at least two glasses of water before I go to bed,” said Dara, a freshman. “It prevents dehydration, which is the main cause of the way a hangover makes you feel.”
Sophomore James said, “I always stick with drinking a cup of coffee when I wake up in the morning and taking some aspirin. Everyone knows about that remedy, it’s been around forever.”
Now that you know what not to drink, you’re probably thinking, what can I drink?
The best beverage that you can consume to stay healthy is water. Drinking eight eight-ounce glasses of water a day can keep you healthy and trim, according to the Weight Watchers dieting program.
Water helps keep the digestive system in motion as well providing the proper hydration your body needs. Also, plain water has no calories.