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Student Health Services


Nourish Your Body

Although living a nourished life encompasses a wide variety of health topics, maintaining proper nutrition is an important component. Most medical practitioners and nutritionists agree that the best way to eat healthy is to maintain a well-balanced diet.

  • Meatless Monday

    Meatless Monday is a simple concept that can make a big difference in our personal health and the health of the planet. Backed in science and research by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for a Livable Future, replacing meat with plant-based choices just once a week can offer many health benefits and help you reduce your carbon footprint and conserve precious environmental resources.

    Monday is a good time to start healthier eating habits. Eating more fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains can help you stay healthy and live longer, and many people who start their week with Meatless Monday tend to eat healthier all week long.

    So, choose to eat nutritious, meatless meals just one day a week. If you can’t go meatless for a whole day, choose to eat at least one meatless meal a week.

    Go Meatless for Your Health

    Consuming less red and processed meat and more plant-based foods can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, chronic kidney disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers and obesity.

    • Eating less meat and more plant-based foods, such as vegetables, beans, and nuts, can improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease.

    • Skipping even a half serving of meat every day and replacing it with a plant protein like beans or tofu can decrease your risk of getting type 2 diabetes.

    • Substituting plant-based foods for meat can help you maintain a healthy weight.

    • Cutting back on red and processed meat and eating more plant-based foods can promote kidney health.

    • Beans, nuts, soy and other vegetables can give you all the protein you need in one day.

    Go Meatless for the Planet

    Reducing consumption of meat can help contain production of greenhouse gases that impact the climate. It can also help lessen the demand for precious environmental resources such as land, water and energy.

    • Livestock production creates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation sector – all the cars, trucks, planes and trains in the world.
    • Livestock production uses 75% of the earth’s agricultural land.
    • Producing ONE quarter-pound beef burger uses 425 gallons of water – enough water to fill 10 bathtubs.
    • Producing ONE quarter-pound beef burger uses up enough energy to power an iPhone for 6 months.
    • Skipping one serving of beef every Monday for a year saves the equivalent emissions to driving 348 miles in a car.

    Clemson Dining Services makes it easy for you to choose to go meatless any day of the week. They offer nutritious vegetarian and vegan options and a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in their dining locations every day.

    Healthy Eating Guide: Food Swaps and Dietitian Advice
    Meatless Monday Recipes
    Learn More About Meatless Monday
    Sustainability Efforts at Clemson

    Source: Meatless Monday

  • Benefits of Eating Healthy Foods

    A balanced diet will give you the proper building blocks your body needs to get through the day. The various benefits of a healthy diet include:

    • Feeling more energized and refreshed

    • Being more focused

    • Maintaining a healthy body weight

    • Having an increased resistance to certain illnesses and diseases

    Balance, variety and moderation are key.

    These three words are the guide to healthy eating.

    Balance: Each food group contains different essential nutrients that meets your needs. This means you should be sure to eat from all the food groups, which includes fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein foods. 

    Variety: This term focuses on eating a diverse selection of different foods within each of the food groups to ensure that you are getting all the different nutrients your body needs. This includes choosing to eat things like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat or fat-free milk/milk sources, and lean meats and other sources of protein.

    Moderation: This term ensures that you are getting your nutrients in the right proportions that your body needs. As you aim to eat from each food group, it is important that you balance each of the groups to make sure you are not consuming too much of one thing. If you’re not sure about how to moderate your diet, visit MyPlate for guidance.

  • Healthy Fats

    Fats is a word that typically has a poor connotation; however, your body does need fat—and that’s where your healthy fats come in. When choosing what you eat, try to limit your fats to:

    • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
      • Sources: Fatty fish, walnuts, vegetable oils, flaxseed and eggs
    • Monounsaturated Fats
      • Sources: Nuts, oils, avocado and peanut butter

    Omega-3s can help lower your cholesterol and support your heart health, and monounsaturated fats can improve your cholesterol levels, as well.

  • Sugars

    Essentially, added sugars are empty calories and lack essential micronutrients, while natural sugars are more energy- and nutrient-rich. According to the American Heart Association guidelines, men should eat no more than 150 calories from added sugars a day, and women no more than 100 calories (for perspective, one typical can of soda contains around 150 calories of sugar). 

    In order to control sugar intake into our bodies, we must find smart ways to avoid sugar. Here are a few ways to moderate your intake:

    • Choose fruits over sweets. For someone with a sweet tooth, this can be very difficult, but fruits contain natural sugars that are much better for one’s body and are overall a healthier, more nutritious choice for satisfying a sweet craving.
    • Buy products labeled “no sugar added.” These products offer the solution of continuing to eat a habitual meal or type of food but refraining from consuming the extra added sugars.
    • Limit the amount of sugar added when baking. This method allows one to physically control the amount of added sugar in their diet. 

    Again, moderation is key, so a sugary treat once in awhile is totally fine!

  • Food for a Better Mood

    Adjusting to the challenges of college can be demanding. With the semester in full swing, it’s natural to feel anxious, overwhelmed or stressed. Fortunately, there are a lot of healthy ways to manage stress, including tapping into social support, getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep, and talking to a mental health professional.

    The food you eat can also make an impact on your stress levels. Sugar, caffeine and alcohol can increase levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, in your body. Other foods, meanwhile, have the power to positively influence your stress levels, decreasing cortisol and releasing calming hormones in its place.

    Of course, addressing mental health issues or chronic stress isn’t as simple as grabbing an apple in between classes – your stress levels are impacted by everything from your environment to your genetics to your sleep schedule. But research shows the foods you fill your plate with can affect what’s in your head.

    9 Foods To Boost Your Mood

    Consistently incorporating stress-reducing foods works best in the long term – in other words, one snack isn’t going to instantly erase your anxiety. But research suggests working these foods into your regular meal plan can help lead to a calmer state of mind.

    Fiber Rich Vegetables

    Fiber found in non-starchy vegetables, like artichokes, asparagus and leafy greens (for example kale and spinach) can act as a gut-healthy prebiotic, which is essentially food for your good gut bacteria. One review of studies published in Nutritional Neuroscience in 2020 found that regularly consuming fiber was linked to a reduced risk of anxiety, depression and stress.


    Fresh fruits are also fiber-rich prebiotics, but bananas in particular may have powerful effects on your mood. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which is key to helping your body synthesize serotonin and dopamine, two neurotransmitters that trigger the feelings of happiness and calm.

    Fermented Foods

    A happy gut also involves eating plenty of probiotic-containing foods, like kimchi, tempeh, miso, cultured yogurt, sauerkraut and kefir. In a 2015 study among young adults published in Psychiatry Research, researchers found a correlation between a higher frequency of fermented food consumption and lower levels of reported social anxiety.

    Lean Meat

    Tryptophan is an amino acid that the body converts to niacin, which turns into calming serotonin. This nutrient is required to support the health of the adrenal, or ‘stress’ glands and the production of positive neurotransmitters, such as serotonin. Tryptophan is most commonly found in turkey and chicken. (If you don’t eat meat, soy and chickpeas are also rich in L-tryptophan.) In a 2015 study of young adults published in the Archives of Psychiatric Nursing, researchers found that eating a diet high in tryptophan over four days resulted in decreased anxiety and symptoms of depression.

    Nuts and Seeds

    Nuts and seeds pack a one-two punch for your mood. Not only do they contain tryptophan, but also they’re rich in gut-loving fiber. Nuts and seeds are a great way to diversify your fiber intake to support a healthier and happier gut! Try sprinkling flax or hemp seeds on your cereal, topping a salad with walnuts or almonds, or adding tahini (a sauce made from sesame seeds) to a veggie wrap at lunch.

    Fatty Fish

    Fatty fish like salmon and sardines show up on just about every so-called superfood list because of their high levels of omega-3s, which are great for your brain. A diet low in omega-3s may predispose you to mood disorders like anxiety and depression, according to a 2018 review of research published in the journal Frontiers in Physiology. The good news? The research concluded that adding omega-3s to your diet is a powerful potential strategy to help prevent and treat mood disorders.

    Chamomile Tea

    A hot cup of tea just sounds soothing. Research shows that chamomile tea in particular can meaningfully reduce cortisol levels. Participants with generalized anxiety disorder who ingested 1.5 grams of chamomile a day for 45 days showed reduced symptoms of anxiety in a 2018 study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.


    Garlic may reduce stress in the brain. A promising 2018 study conducted in animals (Archives of Physiology and Biochemistry) found that after a 10-day diet of added garlic, the rats in the trial showed less physical symptoms of depression and anxiety and lower levels of stress markers in the brain.

    Whole Grain Breads, Pastas and Cereals

    Not all carbohydrates are created equal. Simple carbs (think: white bread, white rice, candy and cookies) can cause a spike in blood sugar levels, which can lead to mood swings and a rise in your stress response. On the other hand, complex carbs found in whole grains, such as oats, whole wheat bread, quinoa and brown rice help stabilize blood sugar levels and can even lower cortisol levels, according to a 2019 study published in Nutrients.

    Try minimizing these snacks to reduce stress:

    Not eating consistently throughout the day, as well as eating foods that are lower in fiber and higher in added sugars, can negatively affect cortisol levels. If you’re stressed out, work on minimizing the following (or at least try to pair them with some of the foods listed above):

    • Processed foods and packaged snacks high in sugar
    • Processed meats (like hot dogs) high in salt
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine

    Source: Clemson CampusWell

  • Intuitive Nutrition During the Holidays

    Practicing nutritious eating habits year round is critical to bodily and mental well-being, and the holidays are no exception! However, it’s important that we all approach the holidays with an intuitive eating mindset in order to avoid feelings of food guilt.

    Intuitive eating means rejecting the idea of “good” or “bad” foods. Instead, listen to your body and eat food that feels right for you. This can mean loading a plate with lean meats and veggies, or taking an extra serving of pumpkin pie. Keeping a balanced plate full of nutritious foods combined with desirable treats is the best way to find fullness and satisfaction in a healthy way.

    How to Eat Intuitively

    Reject diet mentality: During the holidays, we may feel tempted to restrict the amounts and types of food we consume in order to prevent weight gain. In reality, a diet mindset can result in the body missing out on necessary nutrients and can even lead to an eating disorder.

    Honor your hunger: If Thanksgiving dinner is at 4 p.m., you may feel tempted to hold off on eating until then in order to “save room.” However, by rejecting feelings of hunger, the body can actually be triggered to over-eat. Give yourself permission to eat when you feel hungry and fuel your body with a variety of foods to get the nutrients you need.

    Pay attention to fullness: While eating, consider how the food makes you feel. Take time to assess your hunger levels to decide if you need more. Savor the experience in order to reach a point of satisfaction.

    Eat the foods you want: Depriving yourself of the foods you desire can lead to unhealthy cravings and binge eating. Fuel your body with foods that taste good. Practice guiltless eating to establish a healthy relationship with food you enjoy.

    Respect your emotions: Eating in order to cope with feelings of anxiety, anger, stress or boredom will not ultimately make you feel better. This may worsen your relationship with certain foods and can lead to disordered eating. Consider why you feel the way you do and seek support beyond food.

Student Health Services
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