The positive effects of physical activity and nutrition on stress and academic performance

The positive effects of physical activity and nutrition on stress and academic performance


TERESA: Hi, my name is Teresa Lageson,
and I’m a health solutions student here at ASU. JENNA: Hello, I’m Jenna Heller, a
registered dietitian here at ASU. TERESA: Today we will talking
about the positive effects of physical activity and nutrition on stress
and academic performance. What is the connection between what
we eat and how our brain functions? JENNA: What we eat is both the fuel
and the actual building blocks for not just our physical health, but also our
mental and emotional well-being as well. For instance, studies show that students
who eat adequate fruits and vegetables experience lower symptoms of
anxiety and depression. That’s just the start to what we know
about how food affects our mood and well-being. When you’re not eating adequately,
just not enough in general, there’s not enough energy that’s
available to the brain. Both cognition and sense of emotional
and mental well-being can really suffer from not having that fuel available. TERESA: Fruits and veggies are always good. What other types of foods do you recommend
for our hard-working Sun Devils? JENNA: There is an abundance of
evidence that shows that eating a generally well-rounded and adequate diet
that’s centered on, of course, fruits and vegetables, but also things like
whole grains and the more nutritious protein options, such as emphasizing
legumes, seafood, and nuts and seeds, as well as choosing more of the healthier
fats, like those in olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds, can have a lot of
benefits for both our physical well-being, of course, but also our
mental and emotional well-being. TERESA: We know ASU students love their
Starbucks and Dutch Bros and other coffee shops, but they can overdo the
caffeine during late-night studying, right? JENNA: Absolutely. I really encourage your students to be
mindful about their caffeine intake. A lot of students are increasingly getting
caffeine from a few different sources. These can include things like coffee,
espresso drinks, energy drinks, sodas, and workout supplements. And when you’re not considering what
we’re getting from each of those sources, that can make it really easy to
overdo if you’re not being very mindful. Consequences of too much caffeine
can include poor sleep quality, even when people feel like they still fall asleep. Also things like jitteriness, and
increased feelings of anxiety. Using caffeine judiciously, such as
avoiding it in the evenings, making sure you’re not getting too many different
sources of caffeine, and being a little bit moderate in your consumption, is an
important aspect of the overall diet that can absolutely have a link to
mental and emotional health. Caffeine can never replace sleep. I always want to remind students of that. In many cases, it is also decreasing the
quality of the sleep that students do get. So ensure that your student is being
cautious about their caffeine use, even if they want to enjoy some of
those coffee beverages. TERESA: Do you have any other tips
for our Sun Devil families? JENNA: The benefit of physical
activity for both physical and mental well-being can hardly be overstated. Being regularly physically active can
help to reduce the likelihood of symptoms from anxiety
and depression for your student. And also can contribute to a sense of
improved self-esteem, better sleep, and even studies show
more creative thinking. All of these aspects are really
important to most of the students I talk with here at ASU. I always want to remind students that
physical activity and good nutrition work together to keep you healthy and well.

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