Did you know? Healthy eating plays a crucial role in your ability to deal with times of extra stress — a balanced diet will help you stay focused, alert, energetic, and healthy.

Stress may weaken your immune system and increase your body’s need for certain nutrients. Carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals are all important for energy, mental concentration, and emotional stability.

Be aware: if you live off of fast food or frequently skip meals, you are more likely to perform poorly or get sick during stressful times.

Any discussion about eating and stress must also include caffeine and sugar. Many people use high sugar foods to keep their energy up and caffeine to keep going when they need rest. Too much caffeine will contribute to poor quality sleep and add to the negative effects of stress on the body. Sugar will satisfy you in the short term, but leaves you hungrier and with less energy after an hour or two. Whole foods will provide you with energy that will last for several hours.

The UGA Health Center (UHC) wants to support you in succeeding and enjoying your experience at UGA. Experts at UHC offer knowledge and programs concerning stress management and college life.

Written by: UHC CAPS and Communications