Buying plant-based supplements are always the smarter option, but how do you know you are getting the best? Make sure that the supplements you are taking contain safe quantities of active ingredients and are actually proven to drive results. Here are some things you should look out for (the more boxes you tick, the better is the product):
Does the maker have certifications?
Just because a brand claims to be “organic” doesn’t guarantee its ingredients are such. Your best bet is to look for a certification from a governing body.
Another good one to keep an eye out for: a Non-GMO stamp, meaning the supplement contains zero genetically modified ingredients. Those missing this label could contain pesticides.
Manufacturers need to renew these certifications annually. So if you see these stamps on your brand, take comfort in knowing it’s been evaluated recently.
Are the products of high quality?
Along with symbols showing a product is organic and non-GMO, certain terms denote a quality supplement. Raw foods have not been chemically altered, processed or cooked, which preserves their enzymes and nutrients. Sprouted seeds also contain more nutrients, like fiber, and are low glycemic. If you’re looking for a plant-based protein powder specifically, make sure the product contains branched-chain amino acids that promote lean muscle mass.
Finally, check the ingredients label. Make sure that all the food sources included in the supplement are, in fact, from plants and real foods.
Does the product have artificial stuff?
There are phrases that suggest a product’s contents aren’t so high quality. And they could potentially even harm your health. Avoid anything flavored with artificial ingredients or containing artificial colors. You can also say no to “all-natural” products, as that could mean it’s still grown with pesticides. Also, extracts, such as Stevia extract versus whole Stevia leaf as a sweetener, means you should pass, because extracts go through chemical processing. You’ll also want to avoid hydrogenated oils because they can increase inflammation and could possibly increase your LDL cholesterol. Others to avoid: magnesium stearate (which may prevent nutrient absorption and impair your immune system) and titanium dioxide (it can also affect your immunity).
How Are the Plants Grown?
Make sure the plants used are grown using sustainable practices. Organic and wildcrafted sources are best. If the farms follow best practices like testing the soil for nutrient richness and pH, alternating the variety of plants grown, using organic fertilizers and pesticides, then the nutritional value of the raw materials will be higher.
How Are the Plants Processed?
As soon as plants are harvested, they begin to degrade. Heat, humidity, and time are all enemies of fragile plant nutrients. Supplement companies who are serious about your health will do all they can to protect the plant and keep these valuable nutrients, cofactors, and co-nutrients in the final product. Proper drying, milling, and concentrating techniques that lock in these compounds should be in place. Without these rigorous protocols, your supplements will not provide their maximum possible benefit.