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Leading a Healthy Lifestyle

Eating Right

Diet and Your Health

Regular Exercise


Eating Right

With the busy schedule and tight budget associated with university life, many students find it hard to eat regular, nutritious meals. However, developing and maintaining healthy eating habits and understanding the basics of a nutritious diet is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle.


First, Some Quick Tips for a Healthier Diet:

  • Eat a variety of good foods
  • Stick to "real", whole foods
  • Eat healthy fats and stay away from trans fats
  • Limit salt, alcohol and caffeine
  • Choose whole grain products
  • Swap salt for things like curry & chili sauces, herbs or hot peppers
  • Ask for dressing and sauces on the side 
  • Spice up your salads with chick peas, kidney beans, lentils or mixed greens
  • Opt for rice or baked potatoes instead of French fries
  • Share large portions
  • Drink LOTS of water
  • Remember- Everything in moderation!

A Quick Lesson in Basic Nutrition:

  • According to Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating, there are four food groups: Grain Products, Vegetables & Fruit, Milk Products and Meat and Alternatives. Each day, it is important to try to consume the recommended number of servings from each of these groups. For information about which sorts of foods belong to which groups, what makes a ‘serving’ and the number of daily recommended servings from each food group, please follow the link on the right to the Canada's Food Guide website.
  • Remember, the amount of food that any person will need each day from the different food groups will depend on factors such as age, body size, activity level and sex.

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Diet and Your Health

What is cholesterol & why is high cholesterol dangerous?

  • Cholesterol is a waxy, fatty substance that is both made by the liver and is consumed in the diet in animal products such as meat, dairy products and eggs. Because cholesterol has many important functions in the body, a certain amount of it is necessary in the blood. However, when blood cholesterol levels get too high, cholesterol can be deposited on the walls of your blood vessels. This can lead to artherosclerosis or a hardening and narrowing of the blood vessels, potentially clogging the blood supply to your heart muscle. Once this happens, problems such as angina (chest pain), heart attack or stroke can result.

Having a healthier diet can help lower your blood cholesterol:

  • Try developing a diet which includes more grains, vegetables and fruits.
  • Try cutting back on foods which are oily, salty or fatty. Also, if you plan to drink alcohol, try to keep to 2 or fewer drinks a day.

What is blood pressure and why is high blood pressure dangerous?

  • Blood pressure is basically the force that moving blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. When the doctor tells you your blood pressure reading, it is given as a ratio of two numbers: your systolic pressure over your diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is basically the high pressure felt in the arteries as the heart beats. The diastolic pressure refers to the lower pressure occurring between your heartbeats.
  • An ideal blood pressure reading is often considered to be 120/80, but there is an acceptable normal range. It is generally best if the systolic (top number) is less than 130 and if the diastolic (bottom) number is less than 85. Having ‘high blood pressure’ means that your blood pressure values are greater than the normal range of values.
  • High blood pressure is dangerous because over time, it can result in strokes, heart attacks and kidney failure.


Having a healthier diet can help prevent high blood pressure:

  • Eat a diet rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Try choosing foods, drinks and condiments which are low in salt, low in fats and cholesterol and smaller in portion size. Also, make an effort to keep alcohol consumption down to two servings a day.


To reduce salt intake:

  • Rinse foods before cooking or eating them
  • Use no-salt seasonings 
  • Do not cook with salt
  • Make your own breads and sauces whenever you can
  • Use fresh or unsalted vegetables
  • Buy water-packed tuna and salmon.

To cut back on fatty and high cholesterol foods:


  • Try baking, broiling, steaming, roasting or poaching foods instead of frying
  • Cook more fish and chicken instead of red meats
  • Drain meats and trim off excess fat
  • Avoid cooking with butter, lard, bacon etc.
  • Use only small amounts of vegetable oils

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Regular exercise

Regular exercise can help:


  • Relieve Stress
  • Help you lose weight and keep it off
  • Lower high blood pressure
  • Improve self-image
  • Reduce risk of having a heart attack

-You don’t have to do hard exercise every day to get any benefit. Fitting in about 30 minutes of physical activity such as walking each day can help you stay in shape.


-If you find it hard to stay motivated on your own, try incorporating exercise with social activities: find a walking partner or group, go to an aerobics class, join a recreational sports team.


The best sort of exercise to keep your heart healthy is aerobic exercise. Some aerobic activities include:


  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Running
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
  • Cycling

Remember, sometimes even the little things go a long way:

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator
  • Go walking at the mall
  • Take care of that house or yard work you’ve been putting off
  • Park farther away from the university, work or the store to give you more walk time
  • Walk or bike instead of driving when the weather is nice
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