College life puts a lot of strain on young adults. It is vital that students get the fuel that their bodies and minds require to deal with the academic, social, and other pressures they face. A balanced diet, including vegetables and fruit, is critical. Exercise and sleep also are necessary to maintain physical and psychological health.
However, these good habits may not be enough. To ensure that you are consuming the necessary nutrients, you might want to consider taking vitamins and other dietary supplements. Numerous health-promoting substances are available, though it should be noted that the body absorbs food-based nutrients better than pills.
At a minimum, people are advised to take a daily multivitamin. The ingredients should include Vitamin C, which make you more resilient to illness by improving the immune system; and folic acid, which may lessen your vulnerability to hypertension and heart disease. Multivitamins also typically contain other essential substances like Vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, iron, magnesium, folic acid, niacin, thiamin, and riboflavin.
Look for a multivitamin with a heavy dose of Vitamin D3, which maintains bone density, aids the immune system, and promotes heart health. Student-athletes need this vitamin for strength and agility, and to reduce muscle pain. Vitamin D also can relieve hypertension, as well as depression symptoms like anxiety and insomnia. It is even considered helpful in preventing cancer.
Other nutrients in multivitamins have been shown to protect brain cells and the central nervous system. Multivitamins vary a great deal, so it is important to read the labels. Keep in mind that many nutritionists believe the government’s “minimum daily requirements” for some vitamins, minerals, and enzymes are insufficient. Some of the top-selling multivitamins either lack some needed nutrients or contain inadequate amounts of them. Higher-priced products tend to have greater concentrations of the key ingredients.
In addition to Vitamin C, students may want to consider other antioxidants to help ward off diseases and illnesses. These substances are said to maintain the strength of cells, leaving them less susceptible to cancer and other afflictions.
One of the most widely recommended antioxidants is Co-Enzyme Q-10, which reportedly prevents the sort of inflammation that causes heart disease and arthritis. Those taking cholesterol-lowering drugs need to keep in mind that statins reduce the amount of co-enzyme Q-10 that naturally occurs in the body.
Other antioxidant supplements include reservratrol, which also is found in wine; bioflavonoids such as quercetin, which are natural ingredients of certain plants; and green tea extract. Vitamins A is considered an antioxidant because it protects the eyes and lowers cholesterol. Vitamin E strengthens blood vessels, while folic acid and beta-carotene also have disease-prevention qualities.
The omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, marine phytoplanktin, and flax seeds are a form of polyunsaturated fat. This is the good kind of fat, which has been proven to be vital to good health. Because most people do not get enough omega-3 acids from food, supplements are widely recommended.
Authorities say this so-called brain food strengthens cell membranes, and reduces triglyceride levels in the liver that can lead to diabetes. Other benefits include regulating immunity, reducing blood clotting, stabilizing blood sugar, and controlling the kind of inflammation that can lead to cancer or cardiovascular disease.
You need calcium to maintain bone density and strong teeth. While this substance can be obtained from a number of food sources, including dairy products, most people are believed to have calcium deficits. Taking Vitamin D and magnesium with calcium is advised, because they help the body absorb the nutrients. Magnesium also improves the functioning of muscles and nerves, and helps to maintain a regular heart rhythm. It is thought to aid in preventing heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Young people may not think they need to worry about such ailments, which are more often suffered by older people. However, establishing good habits early in life might result in a healthier future. Taking dietary supplements can fill in the nutritional gaps in the diets of college students, who too often try to survive on burgers, pizzas, and fast food.
In addition to the supplements recommended for everyone, some kinds of pills are especially important for certain people. For instance, nutritionists advise women to take iron supplements, while men need greater amounts of selenium. Students whose families have histories of eye disease might want to take multivitamins that contain lutein.
Some companies that sell supplements make unrealistic claims, and no one should believe that taking vitamins will cure any disease. However, dietary aids have been shown to strengthen cells and decrease the likelihood of contracting an illness. The medical and pharmaceutical industries, which want people to buy prescription drugs, have an interest in suppressing the demand for vitamins. Scientific studies of supplements funded by these industries and their supporters should be interpreted with a wary eye.
You need to do your own research, relying on unbiased information from reliable sources. As one herbal dispenser noted, “each individual is responsible for his or her own health.” Be should be sure to not exceed prescribed doses of any substance, as it can be counterproductive or cause other health problems.
Getting started on a regimen of supplements at an early age could pay large dividends not only during the college years, but also throughout your life.