by Landy Erlick ’19
Global Health and Nutrition, or SLS19, is part of the Science of the Living Systems general education department. It’s also extremely interesting and edifying. I’ll be honest, I originally enrolled in the course purely to fulfill a requirement. Ever since the very first lecture, however, I have found the subject matter creeping into my daily life, and I think one topic is particularly relevant for your next d-hall venture: micronutrient deficiencies.
Each time you choose white rice over brown rice, cereal over vegetables, and glowing blue PowerAde over a glass of water, not only are you falling prey to “the freshman fifteen” – and every year after that – but you are also increasing your risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies. Though more common in developing countries where access to a variety of fruits, vegetables, and grains is limited due to poverty or seasonality, micronutrient deficiencies are present in industrialized, rich nations, too. Most students don’t have the discipline to take multiple supplements every day, so it’s important to reach our necessary vitamin intake by filling those ceramic plates with an array of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits, animal protein, cheese, and even some grill-order eggs.
Admittedly, it’s unlikely that a college student in the Northeast will develop scurvy, but the disease is not just limited to pirates sailing the seas in the 1700s. Whether you are a vegetarian, vegan, or just prefer a daily sundae over a salad, it’s important to observe your eating habits and take notice of the categories in which you’re lacking. Even though it takes a severe micronutrient deficiency to express symptoms like night blindness or anemia, eating well from a young age boasts many benefits, especially in the battle against obesity. In fact, in recent years, over-nutrition has become more prevalent than under-nutrition. That is a daunting statement.
It only takes a few minutes to look into food sources for important vitamins. Google is your friend. Of course, your diet is your choice, moderation is key, and a balanced life is a healthy life. So, eat the slice of pizza at 3 a.m. – you are in college, after all – just also keep in mind that an apple a day really might just keep the doctor away.