Donna Louie, a nutrition teacher with a PhD in biochemistry, teaches Integrative Physiology: Nutrition for Health and Performance at CU Boulder. She believes there is a societal problem of not consuming enough fruits and vegetables.
“We’re not getting enough fruits and vegetables and that’s including college kids as well.”
She says that a balanced diet with fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and protein will nourish the body with nutrients. If a diet lacks nutritious fruits and vegetables there are consequences.
“The consequence is that they’ll be lacking and deficient of certain vitamins and minerals. So, fruits and vegetables have of course vitamin C, as well as B vitamins, as well as other minerals. And lacking these certain vitamins will lead to certain diseases.” Louie said.
Some of these diseases and consequences can directly affect the college student’s developing brain.
“So people who don’t eat dark green leafy vegetables, they lack omega 3 and that’s good for developing the brain. And adolescents and college kids are still developing their brain. So lacking omega 3 will lead to not being fully developed so people get depression, cannot function well, cannot focus, and they might also have skin problems, a lot of inflammations, like pimples. So these essential fats are needed for your skin as well as for your cells. And to lower the inflammation inside you so you won’t get allergies, and autoimmune diseases, those are all related,” Louie said.
Louie believes that there are a lot of a lot of misconceptions in the media about what to eat and what not to eat. She says that these conceptions, like limiting fruit because they have too much sugar, are misleading and harmful.
“People are cutting out carbs and they’re just focusing on protein and maybe people are cutting out fruits because fruits have sugar but no, fruit has a lot of things as well. A lot of nutrients, vitamin c, phytochemicals, fiber,” Louie said. “I’m fighting against the media about no carbs, no carb diet, no carb everything!” Louie said.
She advises to always choose foods that are nutritious and healthy.
“I would say to focus more on those to give you a well balanced diet that is full of nutrients, in terms of vitamins and minerals and healthy fats. And not only that it gives you a well balanced diet, but that it gives you the carbohydrates that you need to maintain your body because carbohydrates is the primary source of energy for yourselves.”
Many students live off campus and without a meal plan they struggle with the task of eating a healthy dinner every night. Most students have packed schedules and don’t have the time or energy to create and cook a healthy meal.
It doesn’t make it any easier that most restaurants in college towns cater to late night snacks like 7/11, Walgreens or Fast Food. However she suggests easy ways of replacing a snack with a piece of fruits in order to more easily achieve these benefits.
“Instead of eating a granola bar why not eat a banana? Instead of getting a cookie why not have some fruits?” Louie said.