If you read magazines or newspapers, go online or watch TV, it’s hard to avoid being bombarded with ads trying to sell you supplements guaranteed to help you “live life to the fullest”. Many of these are completely unnecessary if you’re relatively healthy, especially if you’re regularly eating a healthy balanced diet, which should give you most of the nutrients you need.
There are a few nutrients though that are particularly difficult to get from the average diet, and which can make a big difference, especially to the average hard-working and hard-playing student. What exactly these supplements are is the subject of much debate. These are worth considering though:
Omega 3 fatty acids strengthen our cardiovascular system, balance our brain chemistry, reduce depression and improve our mood, and basically help our whole system to function better. They’re found in fish, like tuna and salmon, as well as in olive oil, avocados and leafy greens such as spinach.
Magnesium boosts energy, improves quality of sleep, balances blood pressure and helps prevents headaches and cramps. Eating plenty of spinach, beans, nuts, seeds and avocados helps, but even so, most people still don’t get enough.
Vitamin D, especially Vitamin D3, strengthens bones, boosts the immune system, improves digestion and supports our muscles and nerves, amongst other things. It’s naturally found in oily fish, egg yolks, milk, orange juice and sunshine (yes, that’s right – a few minutes of sunshine a day is good for you), although it’s still difficult to get enough from these sources.
Probiotics support digestion (a struggling digestive system is the root of many health issues) and boost the immune system, just for starters. They’re found naturally in good quality yoghurt and fermented foods, if you eat those regularly.
To cover most of your bases at a lower cost, you could take a multi-vitamin, although these often don’t contain most of the elements above.
If you’re not including these foods in your daily diet (and in some cases, even if you are), it’s a really good idea to invest in the right supplements to support your system. Ask your local pharmacist for brand recommendations within your price range and buy the best quality you can afford.