Friday, October 27, 2017

Important Vitamins Every Fit Girl Should Know About (SPONSORED)

Hello, beautiful! I partnered up with the company care/of to bring you this amazing collab about one of my favorite things in the world: vitamins, of course!

Call me nerdy, but I LOVE reading up on different vitamins, minerals and supplements and the positive effects they can have on your body. So, naturally, when I learned about care/of's personalized approach to vitamins, I just HAD to get my hands on a subscription.

care/of takes an individualized approach to vitamins and minerals by offering a quiz to determine what vitamins, minerals and other supplements might benefit you and your lifestyle. It takes every aspect of your life into consideration, from what state you live in, to whether or not you eat fish, to how much alcohol you drink, and then offers its personalized recommendations in the form of a "pack."

When you subscribe to care/of, you then get mailed thirty of those individual "packs," aka a month's supply. care/of makes taking your vitamins simple because instead of opening four bottles in the morning and carefully counting out the right dose, care/of does the hard work for you - all you have to do is tear open the pack and swallow!

Between my specialized diets (from vegetarian, to vegan, and now pescatarian) and various health concerns, I've learned a lot about vitamins over the years and what they can do for you. Some people, like one of my favorite YouTubers, Nikki Phillippi, even believe that vitamins can rescue you from serious illness when all else fails. I'm not sure how far my faith in vitamins goes exactly, but I do think they're an important addition to (note: NOT replacement for!) a healthy diet.

care/of's personalized vitamin quiz also taught me a lot about vitamins and their various properties. For example, I learned about the important role of vitamin D in our bodies - and how difficult it can be to get it when you live above the equator. After I learned that, I did some more research and found out some shocking statistics. Did you know that at least 10% of people living in the U.S. suffer from vitamin D deficiency (according to Google)? I certainly didn't!

If you're interested in fitness and health even a little bit, vitamins should be on your mind. Whether you're a hardcore vitamin enthusiast or just getting started, I hope you'll learn something new from the information I've compiled about vitamins. But first, let me tell you about my personalized packets from care/of and what I take every day to keep my body healthy and strong...

What's in my pack...

Every morning when I tear open a packet of care/of vitamins, six pills tumble out for me to take. Those pills supply me with the vitamins I need to make up for deficiencies, strengthen my bones and overall just take care of my body in a positive, healthy way! 

So, what's in one of my morning vitamin packs from care/of? I'm going to tell you, of course, but first a word of caution: since care/of focuses on an individualized approach to vitamins, my pack will most likely look different from yours. It's in no way a medicalized recommendation for what you should or have to take to be healthy and happy - your body is your body, and only you (and your doctor, who you should always consult before taking a new supplement) know it best!

That being said, each one of my care/of packs contains each of the following:

  1. Three capsules of calcium. Calcium is important for everyone, but especially important for women, since our risk of osteoporosis is higher than the risk for men. I take calcium because I don't eat much dairy, even since quitting being vegan, and our body doesn't absorb plant-based sources of calcium as well as it absorbs the calcium from animal products.
  2. One capsule of vitamin B12. Vitamin B12 is one of those pesky vitamins you can only get from eating meat and dairy - and since I don't eat meat and don't love eating dairy, I don't always get the amount of B12 I need to stay healthy and happy.
  3. One capsule of iron. Often, when women don't eat meat, they don't get enough iron in their diets - especially since iron is another vitamin that isn't absorbed as well from plants as it is from meat. Since I'm pescatarian, I take an iron supplement instead of digging into a steak to keep my levels where they need to be. NOTE: please consult your doctor before taking iron supplements, since you can overdose if you're not careful! 
  4. One capsule of probiotics. There's lots of emerging research to support the importance of this gut-healthy bacteria in our immune system. However, as a woman, let me just say that it's especially important to keep that healthy bacteria in balance! I started taking probiotics two years ago, when I had my first yeast infection (of many) - and ever since then, I truly believe that probiotics have helped both my digestion and my vaginal flora function at their best.

While everyone's vitamin regimen is different (and uniquely personal to them), this is simply what I like to take to look and feel my best. 

The Top 10 Vitamins (and Minerals) for College Girls

Now that we've talked about what's in my personal pack, I'm going to share with you the benefits of ten major vitamins that all college girls should know about. When I say you should "know about" a vitamin, I don't necessarily mean that you should take it as a vitamin supplement - but you should at least understand its importance in your diet and take care to ensure you're getting enough of it in your life.

  1. Vitamin B. Technically, there's many varieties of Vitamin B - but they're all equally important to keeping your body working its strongest (not its hardest). Vitamin B performs many essential functions for women, but I'd especially like to point out that it keeps your energy up and your hormones in check, warding off hormonal mood swings and mental health changes like depression.
  2. Vitamin D. Vitamin D was your parents' perennial favorite excuse for getting you to go outside as a kid - and for good reason. 42% of Americans are deficient in this crucial vitamin, meaning they don't reap its bone-strengthening, osteoporosis-fighting properties. 
  3. Calcium. Bad news, ladies: as early as your twenties, you'll start losing bone density. And that yogurt you're eating right now? It's not enough calcium to get you through, despite what all those Got Milk? commercials led you to believe in your childhood. So, do your bones a favor and start popping those little white pills, please! (With a doc's permission, of course.)
  4. Iron. While iron is an important component of your blood, be careful with this mineral, since there's such a thing as "too much of a good thing" when it comes to iron. Chances are, if you have heavy periods or don't eat meat, you could stand to get some extra iron in your diet. Otherwise, skip this supplement and keep on doin' you, boo!
  5. Folic acid. Technically, folic acid is a type of B-vitamin - but I'm treating it separately to stress its importance for young women! Folic acid prevents 70% of birth defects, meaning it's super important to start stocking up while you're still young and sprightly. While many bread products are fortified with folic acid nowadays, it's still not a bad idea to choose a multivitamin containing folic acid if you're someone who likes a multi.
  6. Omega-3 fatty acids. You've heard a lot about omega-3s in the news lately (hint: it was probably in an article about avocados), but why do you need to eat omega-3s? Well, despite their importance, your body can't make omega-3s on its own, so it needs a dietary source of this fat instead. There's plenty of omega-3 fats in foods like fish, but if you'd rather keep Swimmy in a tank than cook him for dinner, companies like care/of also produce supplements...they even sell a vegan substitute for the traditional fish oil! 
  7. Magnesium. If you care about your body at all, make sure you're getting enough magnesium in your diet! If not, you might be at higher risk for painful inflammation and risky health concerns like heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  8. Probiotics. Probiotics are quickly emerging as a new vitamin trend, but they've always been an important supplement for women to take at any age. The healthy bacteria in a probiotic wards off unpleasant health conditions like yeast infections, urinary tract infections and constipation. As Dr. Shel, MD, writes on his blog, "When you have a healthy gut, not only is your digestive system in order, but your immune system is stronger, too." Not to mention that the gut, as your body's number one producer of serotonin, is closely linked to mental health as well! 
  9. Biotin. Want shinier hair and stronger nails? Thank biotin, aka vitamin H, for that supermodel glow you see on magazine covers: biotin improves your body's infrastructure of keratin, the protein that makes up your hair and nails. Many women nowadays are taking biotin in the hopes of growing longer hair faster, but I happen to think the health benefits alone are reason enough! 
  10. Antioxidants. Protect your skin, heart, eyes and brain by stocking up on antioxidants - aka vitamins A, C and E. These vitamins eliminate harmful free radicals to reduce the effects of aging and ward off disease. So, three cheers for these three antioxidants! 

Want your first month of vitamins at half price? Use the code HM50 at