In the quest for health, just like whole foods are best for our diet, they’re best for our supplements, too. These brands come out on top.
Nutrition challenges are not always a result of what we eat. There are genetic factors that can make nutrient absorption a challenge. There is the nutrition quality of even the healthiest foods. You can chalk that up to climate change and mono-cropping that have depleted soil of its once-rich stock of vitamins and minerals. There are other factors, too, such as pregnancy, illness, or medications that can make us require more supplementation to be our healthiest.
But not all vitamins are the same. And when it comes to the best for our bodies, just like eating a whole foods diet is the top choice, so too is it when it comes to vitamins
Finding the best supplements
There have never been more vitamin choices than today. The wellness market is booming with options. And that’s not always a good thing. Just like there’s greenwashing when it comes to companies’ sustainability efforts, there’s wellness washing, too. This can come by way of packaging that suggests healthy food-based ingredients sources through bucolic imagery, or misleading claims about the source ingredient itself.
A good rule of thumb is to look for products that use isolates and synthetics, which are often noted on the packaging. An isolate means one aspect of a source (like a fruit or vegetable) is extracted to get concentrated levels of a nutrient.
It’s also helpful to be cautious of non-essential ingredients in supplements. These may be herbs or substances touted for anti-aging, energy-boosting, or other benefits that go above and beyond the call of duty for vitamins and minerals. Bells and whistles often mean the core product is given less attention.
Should you take a daily vitamin?
There’s a lot of controversy over the need to take a daily multivitamin. If you eat a well-balanced diet and don’t have any underlying health issues, it may not be necessary. Perhaps it’s something you take when ill, or traveling with limited access to fresh, whole foods.
Always chat with your health care professional before starting a new supplement regimen. These products are not regulated, which means brands can say and put whatever they want into these products.
And if you’re not in need of a daily supplement, you’re not only putting unnecessary products in your body, but you may be wasting money, too.
Whole food supplement brands
The whole food supplement brands on the market come in all shapes, sizes, and budgets. Don’t like pills? There are some great-tasting and effective powders that work just as well, too. Here are some of the best.
1. New Chapter
It’s fair to say New Chapter wrote the, ahem, chapter on whole food vitamins. Rooted in science and sustainability, this brand has been making supplements for 40 years. The Vermont-based brand was acquired by Proctor & Gamble in 2012, but it has remained committed to quality with non-GMO whole food ingredients. The company is a certified B Corp and invested in organic, eco-friendly farming, reducing its waste and climate impact, and supporting its employees and partners.
2. MyKind Organic
Alicia Silverstone co-created MyKind Organics with Garden of Life because she couldn’t find a vegan supplement brand that satisfied all of her needs. The brand is now the leading vegan supplement company in Whole Foods stores with a die-hard following. With a range of supplements from wellness products and kids vitamins, MyKind is USDA certified organic, non-GMO, carbon neutral, and whole food based.
3. Athletic Greens
Green powders are nothing new and loads of companies claim theirs is the best. But Athletic Greens deserves the hype it gets. It’s an all-in-one green drink boasting 75 vitamins, minerals, and whole food-sourced ingredients. Athletic Greens is a great option if you hate pills and/or love making smoothies as it makes a nice base for those. But you can also drink it on its own with a little water or mixed with juice. Athletic Greens is more than just a standard whole food multivitamin, though, and does include probiotics and herbs that you may not want in a vitamin. But if you’re an all-in type, then this is one of the easiest and most nutrient dense options available.
Like Athletic Greens, Dayli is a whole food powdered vitamin you can mix with water, juice, or add to smoothies. It comes in three flavors and while its ingredient list is significantly pared down compared to AG, it ticks all the essential boxes. The blends come with different focuses including vitamin D, immunity, and a K-rich greens powder.
A legacy brand in the natural food scene, MegaFood is committed to plant-based, whole food ingredients. There’s science to back up this commitment; according to MegaFood, whole food vitamins are gentler on the stomach and more absorbable. Like New Chapter, MegaFood is invested in sustainable farming, regenerative agriculture, quality ingredients sourcing, and taking care of the people across its value chain.