I thought I’d share some of the questions that were raised by students at Greeley High School in Chappaqua, New York, after my recent lecture there. It’s always fascinating to find out what issues are on the minds of young people, and what topics concern them when it comes to health and nutrition. Hopefully this information will be of value to any student headed off to college.
Q: Do we need fat in our diet?
A: We certainly do! Vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin D, vitamin E and vitamin K are known as fat soluble vitamins. Fat is essential for allowing these vitamins to be absorbed by the body. Without fat, you’d quickly find yourself vitamin deficient. Fats should be moderated, but not avoided altogether. For instance, 1% organic milk is better for you than skim milk.
Q: What are healthy vegetables?
A: If you want to get the most out of your vegetable servings, some vegetables are supercharged with nutrients. Veggies like broccoli, spinach, asparagus, and string beans are worth noting. Also, remember that it is important to eat both cooked and raw vegetables. Cooked vegetables provide iron, B vitamins like folic acid, and calcium. Raw veggies provide enzymes and fiber.
Q: How much water should I be drinking?
A: Research indicates that we should drink one ounce of water per day for every two pounds of body weight. So if you weigh 140 pounds, you should get at least 70 ounces of water per day. Soft drinks, tea and coffee don’t count; they tend to dehydrate you. Try to drink plain bottled or filtered water as much as possible. Water with a pH of 7.0 or higher will provide better hydration. A twist of lemon or lime gives it a nice kick!
Q: What is the best exercise?
A: There is no one exercise to point to and call best for everyone. I suggest a combination of weight training, cardio, and stretching or yoga. It is important to be consistent and moderate with exercise. Too much can be just as unhealthy as too little.
Q: What are healthy late-night snacks?
A: It’s important to
not eat too much at night. Overeating so
close to bedtime can lead to sleeping difficulties and poor digestion. However, if you need something to tide you
over on those late nights, try one of the following:
- Carrot sticks, celery, or cucumber with a low fat ranch or guacamole.
- Fresh fruit
- Spelt pretzels or rice crackers
- Dark chocolate (70% or higher cocoa content)
- Handful of raw nuts