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Watch What You Eat

Watch What You Eat
Staying healthy in college, the natural way

No matter how prepared we think we are coming in, college is a whole new animal. The diverse social interaction, the academics, the new environment, and the stress of college are forces of nature that hit us head-on whether we’re ready or not. If we aren’t ready, that could mean constant trips to the health center, rough mornings or the omnipresent “freshman flu.” Instead of over the counter medications, many of which mask illness symptoms instead of fixing them and may actually do more harm than good in the long run, there are thousands of different herbs and natural supplements out there to prevent and cope with the spectrum of health issues.


Bacteria tend to get a bad rap; however, probiotics are healthy bacteria that live in your gut and are essential to several processes that keep you healthy. According to an article by Honor Whiteman by in Medical News Today, there are over 1000 species of bacteria that make up the tens of trillions of microbes that live in our gut in what is called your gut microbiome.

“The intestines are the only organ in the body that doesn’t need your brain” Perry Hill, product educator at Garden of Life says of our gut micro biome. He points to the bacteria’s diverse functionality for this reason. He also explains that not only do they assist in digestion, but they also regulate inflammation, the thyroid, blood sugar, and send signals to the brain that regulate mood. Hill also said that 90 percent of the body’s immune system comes from the bacteria in the gut.

Hill says that when we eat processed food, drink alcohol, take antibiotics or do other things that harm our bodies, our gut micro biome is damaged in a way that hinders good bacteria from surviving and throws off the balance of microbes in our microbiome. This can cause issues such as depression, inflammation issues, and even autoimmune illnesses.

That’s where probiotics come in. Probiotics add the necessary strains of bacteria into the body to balance out the negative effects of damages to the gut micro biome. Thus, they fight infection and illnesses; promote healthy mood, regular digestion, and a whole other host of benefits that make these supplements crucial for any college student’s arsenal.

Probiotics come in all shapes and sizes, but when it comes to which brands are better, Hill says: “Your micro biome is like a rainforest, the more diverse strains of bacteria, the better.”

Garden of Life carries a variety of probiotics; however, their newest addition is the Dr. Formulated series of probiotics, many of which are once daily and contain 30+ billion strands of healthy bacteria, and they’re highly portable, as they don’t need to be refrigerated. These formulas are specialized to fit genders and a variety of specific health needs, so there’s something for everyone.

Ultimately probiotics are a must; there are many brands out there, so check out your local health food store to find the best one for you.

Hangover Pills

Yep, they exist. Again, variety of supplements and it’s important to figure out which works for you. Some are taken in supplement form and others like Party Smart One Pill For a Better Morning can be taken during the night of debauchery. This product contains herbal ingredients such as chicory root, grape extract, and andrographis extract. Either way, every little bit helps, so load up on these for back to school.

Adrenal Support

According to, the adrenal glands are a part of the endocrine system that regulates the body’s response to stress (hello test days) and regulate the metabolism.

A typical ingredient in many of these adrenal support supplements is Ashwaganda, which, according to Dr. Josh Axe (, is often called Indian Ginseng, for its natural ability to increase energy and endurance and combat “adrenal fatigue” or chronic stress.

Sleep Aid

Sleep, good grades, and social life: the adage goes that you can only have two. News flash: YOU NEED SLEEP. According to an article by Kevin Loria at, there are numerous benefits of sleep such as increased happiness and an increased ability to learn, essential to a successful college experience. If you find yourself unable to sleep due to racing thoughts or a looming paper deadline, consider taking a natural supplement to help you relax and catch some zzzs. Candice Browning, manager of Feel Rite Fresh Markets, 2141 Delaware Ave., recommends Rescue Remedy products for stress and sleep.

“It’s like four deep breaths” Thressa Spangler, employee at Feel Rite 3912 Maple rd. in Amherst, said.

Another one of the many options is melatonin, which according to Web MD, is a natural hormone that regulate sleep cycles. This comes in supplements in a variety of doses and it is important to pick the one that works best for you.

Aspiring athletes might like tart cherry juice concentrate. According to Michele Turcotte, MS, RD in an article on, tart cherry juice is not only loaded with antioxidants, but can decrease muscle damage.

Again, there are thousands of different products out there to suit your daily needs. It is important to get the right information and try different products to see what works for you. Taking these, along with healthy diet and exercise may be the key to staying healthy and sane while navigating the best four years of your life.

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