Vitamins: A student how-to

(Image courtesy of Unsplash)

By Katinka Pim

Living with the threat of Coronavirus, and in being in the depths of winter, it is important we all take extra care to be as fit and healthy as possible. We know the basics; eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of rest, but is there more we can be doing? Perhaps providing that extra boost for your immune system when not feeling your best? I have been taking vitamins for a number of years, and I believe they help with just that. I am going to try and provide a basic ‘How To’, however I always recommend doing your own research and seeing what fits you best! Any major changes to supplements should always be done in-line with a GP's advice. B12 - commonly known to be in meat, poultry or eggs, so if you are vegetarian or vegan this is an especially important one to take. It can also be found in marmite and nutritional yeast and is a supplement even your average meat-eater is low in. So it would be great to add to your list of dailies! Omega-3 - again commonly found in fish, this is similarly important for vegetarians. In supplement form it is most commonly found in fish oil (so if you are not a big fan of your seafood then this is a great supplement for you!) alternatively you can also buy Omega-3 made from algae. Magnesium - especially important if you are prone to headaches, migraines or cramps, magnesium is a supplement that can help with all that. It is naturally found in things such as spinach, beans, tofu, nuts, and also pumpkin (try using your pumpkin pulp from this halloween to make something delicious!) Vitamin D - more important than people realise, only in the last couple of decades have scientists understood the importance of this vitamin. Most significantly, it fights disease, reduces depression and even aids weight loss. Naturally found in fish, egg yolk and milk, for those not eating these you can buy cereal and plant-based milks with fortified vitamins as well. The NHS website recommends taking 10 micrograms of vitamin D throughout autumn and winter. If the idea of buying all these vitamins is slightly overwhelming, then try buying a multivitamin, with all the ingredients above (aside from Omega-3, which is usually sold separately), and as Healthline suggests, with added Calcium, zinc, iron and folate. I know as students we may not financially be able to afford such vitamins daily, as they can be expensive. My recommendation in that case is buy what you can, a multi-vitamin (with the vitamins listed above) or most significantly an ‘immune’ vitamin C and D — then hold on to them. And if/when you begin to feel under the weather, or are under a significant amount of stress or are sleeping poorly, use them as a supplement. Healthline says experiencing stress, sleeping poorly and not getting regular exercise, even with a perfect diet, leads to not being able to absorb your nutrients properly. So try it out, head to Holland and Barret, Boots or other local shops, and take that first step to further looking after your own health.

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