The new year is upon us and with it comes renewed dedicated to good health. Healthy eating, more exercise, less sugar, more sleep…. the list goes on and on. One action many people take to help hedge their bets for better health is adding a supplement to their healthy regime to get all the vitamins and minerals they need. But not all supplements are the same and finding a high quality one can be confusing. We’ve broken down the basics of what you should look for in a supplement, and what you should avoid.
Look for a whole food supplement
While there are numerous vitamins and supplements on the market today, they basically fall into two categories: whole food or synthetic. Here is the difference and why it matters. Whole food supplements are made from food sources like fruits, vegetables, plants, or herbs. They typically juiced, pulverized or dehydrated to create the whole food supplement. Whole food supplements are more nutritious because you’re not just deriving the vitamin from the food (like vitamin C from an orange) but ALL of the nutrients in that whole food, as it naturally occurs in the food itself. Synthetic vitamins, on the other hand, contain isolated nutrients that are typically created in a lab and may be derived from ingredients that are not necessarily food at all and are contained in a non-food shell. While not all synthetic supplements are bad, a whole food supplement clearly provides the superior nutrition.
Keeping it real
Most savvy consumers know that nowadays, many foods contain artificial coloring, preservatives, fragrances and flavors, but do you really want that in your supplement? A product with the specific intent on providing nutrition? Processed foods like chips and other snacks are one thing, but why would you consume these types of items in your supplement? Be sure to look for a supplement that doesn’t contain artificial coloring, preservatives, fragrances or flavors to get the healthiest, cleanest supplement possible.
That goes for other fillers too
As long as we’re talking about finding a high-quality supplement that avoids fake stuff, let’s also mention that a supplement shouldn’t have dairy, egg, yeast, soy, corn, processed sugar, or starch either. Again, when you look at the ingredients of your supplement, the ingredients should be whole, real, and not fillers; that simply detracts from how nutritious the supplement could really be.
Made in the USA
There are some wonderful products and foods that come to us from all over the world. However, when it comes to your vitamins and supplements, its best to stick to those manufactured in the USA. Why? The website healthychild.org states, “Be extra cautious about supplements manufactured outside the United States. Herbal products from some European countries and elsewhere are highly regulated and standardized, but toxic ingredients and prescription drugs have been found in supplements manufactured elsewhere, particularly China, India and Mexico.” That doesn’t mean all other countries put out inferior products, but why take a chance? The F.D.A. requires that companies verify that every supplement they manufacture is safe and accurately labeled. Best to play it safe; this is your health we’re talking about here!
When you’re shopping for a high-quality supplement of any kind, such as a seaweed supplement, know what to look for and why the cheapest is not always the best. Be a diligent label-reader. Look for fillers, artificial additives, etc. and avoid those supplements. Make sure your supplement is made with whole foods, and look for the “Made in the USA” notation. If getting healthier is part of your new year’s resolution for 2018, adding a supplement is a smart choice to make, as long as it’s the right one.