Essential Health Tips for College Students
I think that it is safe to say that the stereotypical college student pushes it to the limit. Experiencing too little sleep and are highly stressed, they tend to be over-caffeinated, have poor nutrition, and spend long hours studying and/or partying. Of course this varies from individual to individual. ‘If I would’ve known then, what I know now,’ this would be my advice to college self.
Drink more water. Water is essential for nearly every metabolic function in the human body, and is critical in maintaining good health. Water makes up a large part of the body by volume and weight. When your water intake is less than your output you can become dehydrated. Dehydration can cause fatigue, poor concentration, headaches and mood changes. A good rule of thumb is to consume half your bodyweight in ounces (so if you weigh 150 lbs, you should be drinking 75 oz of water daily). It’s worth the splurge to purchase a water bottle that is fun and high quality.
Favorite: Hydroflask. It is not only stainless steel and BPA free, but it is also vacuum sealed and insulated so it is incredible at regulating both hot and cold temperatures. Plus, this company is based out of Bend, OR.
Eat Healthy (or as healthy as possible). Recognizing that cafeteria and fast food is a common go-to for college students, I would encourage limiting these outings, eating from the salad bar or choosing whole foods (foods that do not have multiple ingredients and whose labels don’t read like your chemistry 101 textbook).
Favorite: Keep healthy snacks on hand, like hardboiled eggs, nuts (or nut butters), avocados, berries, carrots, etc.
Even under the best circumstances, it can be difficult to eat a well rounded diet that is sufficient in key nutrients. In college, this is more the case than ever. Vitamins and supplements can be a great insurance policy in supporting our immune health, brain health, and basic health. My top recommendations for college students are as follows:
Multivitamin with extra B’s: We’re not talking Flintstone vitamins. Also, multivitamins are NOT an excuse for skipping meals or for eating too much junk food. A high-quality multivitamin can cover the basic nutrient requirements. B-vitamins are particularly critical for the college lifestyle. If I were to suggest only one supplement it would be this one.
Favorite: Minimal and Essential (Vital Nutrients). 1-2 caps daily with food. This has a combination of potent antioxidants (Vitamins A, C, E) that help prevent cells against damage. Also, it contains a higher dose of B vitamins that help maintain healthy metabolism. Additionally, B vitamins as essential to our nervous system and support our cognitive function, memory, stress response and emotional well-being.
Probiotics: The friendly microbes in our intestines have been termed ‘probiotics’ and they comprise the beneficial types of bacteria. These microbes are essential for good digestion, absorption of nutrients and for maintaining a healthy and strong immune system. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods like kefir and yogurt but in not in the recommended quantities that a supplement can provide. Adult dosage (yes, you are an adult): 10-25 billion organisms per day, and a blend that contains 3 or more different types of species. Take with breakfast. Because it is best to rotate between probiotics every 6 months, I am recommending two favorites.
Favorites: Vital 10 (Klaire Labs). 1 cap with breakfast. This is a blend of 10 probiotic species developed specifically for the maintenance of a healthy intestinal microbiota.
HLC Maintenance (Pharmax). 1 cap with breakfast. This formula promotes optimal intestinal health in adults and children while also supporting healthy gut microflora balance.
Vitamin D3: This is also known as the sunshine vitamin. Vitamin D plays a role in building bones, preventing cancer, maintaining heart health, fighting infection and elevating mood.
Favorite: d-mulsion (Pharmax). 1 drop = 1000IU, 2 drops in the Summer and Fall, 4 drops in the Winter and Spring.
Fish oil with higher concentration of EPA and DHA: Fish oil contains concentrated amounts of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s have many powerful benefits such as decreasing overall inflammation, protection for the brain as well as providing protection to cells at their membranes. There have been studies on the benefits of fish oil on elevating mood, increasing memory, relieving joint pain, and promotes healthy skin.
Favorites: Ultra Pure Fish Oil 700 (Vital Nutrients). 2 softgels with a meal.
Algae Omega (Nordic Naturals). 2 softgels with a meal. This is a vegetarian sourced version of omega-3s.
The list could go on and on, but keeping it simple is also important. These recommendations address multiple and common concerns of a college student. If specific symptoms should arise like difficulty sleeping, increased fatigue, depression, anxiety, menstrual concerns, etc. please consider making an appointment with your healthcare provider.
If you have specific health questions, now is a great time to come in for an appointment before heading off to school. We can create a personalized supplement list for your needs. We also have an online dispensary through Fullscript, which is a great options for college students as you can fill and refill your supplement order online and have them shipped directly to you.
Last but not least…
Have fun! Do what you love. Surround yourself by those that enrich your life. Laugh often. Move your body.
Favorite: Get out in nature! Bring friends or go solo.