The 6 Best Food Based-Vitamins and Supplements (that Actually Work)

It’s every healthy eater’s conundrum: do I need to supplement my diet? And, if so, which vitamins or supplements are the best?

Beyond the fact that nutrients in our soil have degraded significantly in the last century, bodies have varying needs at various stages in our lives. Perhaps you’re super active, maybe you’re trying to get pregnant or recently gave birth, or need more calcium in your diet. While it’s tempting to go for the cheapest and largest bottle of chalky pills…that might not be the best for your health. Check out these extraordinary supplement brands and why they’re worth the spend:

1. New Chapter: The news that Proctor & Gamble bought New Chapter has shaken up a lot of natural foodies. But the fact still remains (for now, anyway): they make seriously good quality supplements based on ingredients you might also be eating today. What’s important about food-based ingredients is that your body is designed to recognize food a lot better than say, chemicals made in a factory on the Jersey turnpike (big ups, Jersey City!). They’re an excellent go-to brand for daily vitamins as well as supplements for specific conditions such as inflammation, cold and flu and prenatal.

2. Mega Food: If the whole New Chapter P&G buyout is too much for you to stomach, go back to where it all started: Mega Food. While not available in Whole Foods, you’ll have to seek them out at your “other” favorite local health-minded store, they’re also a brand committed to recognizable ingredients for a whole host of deficiencies and dietary needs. They’ve been at it forever and are a reliable, high quality brand of whole food supplements.

3. Healthforce: What I love about these biocompatible supplements formulated by Dr. Jameth Sheridan is that they go right to the source. Want vitamin C? Eat some acerola cherries. Need to lower your cholesterol? Have some lecithin. Boost your energy, detox your liver and up your overall health with a nutrient dense burst from greens, superfoods and the most important ingredient: excellent formulating.

4. Flora: Heart disease and high cholesterol are two of the biggest illnesses plaguing our nation. One of the healthiest ways to reduce your cholesterol and help strengthen your heart is by adding an omega-3 fatty acid rich food to your diet. Flora flax seed oil is one worthy of trying. It’s cold-pressed and super tasty, too. Plus, they package in glass, so no risk of BPA or other nasty plastic chemicals being leached out by the oil and into your body.

5. Fungi Perfecti: Paul Stamets is to mushrooms what Oscar the Grouch is to garbage cans (although, for the record, Paul is much nicer than Oscar). He lives and breathes mushrooms and that’s really good news for you, because they are extremely healthy in a whole host of ways. Touted throughout history in folkloric medicines practiced around the world, mushrooms are naturally energizing, immune-boosting, inflammation reducing and can be a great source of vitamin D.

6. Herb Pharm: Ed Smith is the founder and formulator of the herbs at Herb Pharm, with a focus on sourcing and efficacy. And they are some of the most effective products I’ve ever used. Herbs such as nettles and horsetail are particularly high in calcium—a deficiency that plagues postmenopausal women, despite our nation’s love for dairy. Herbs such as turmeric and ginger are very effective at reducing inflammation and others like burdock and chickweed are high in iron.

Keep in touch with Jill on Twitter @jillettinger

Image: stevendepolo