Health Products You Should Buy Generic

August 18, 2017  |  
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Maybe you buy the brand name item just because somebody is watching, or you always go shopping with your bougie friend. You see her judging your purchases. Maybe you buy it because it has some fancy packaging. You think, “If I buy this coconut oil, I’ll be transported to the coconut grove featured on the bottle.” How does that work? Since when do bottles transport people anywhere? Don’t give into the package’s seductive ways. If you’re working on buying more health-conscious items, then you’re probably on some kick of buying the best and only the best. Just don’t get tricked into thinking that name brand is the best only the best. Your wallet will pay for it literally. And you won’t reap any extra health benefits. Here are health products you should buy generic.

Kombucha

While several brands like G.T’s and Health-Ade have cornered the Kombucha market (and are certainly tasty) you don’t need to stick to the bottles you recognize. Most health food stores and specialty markets make their own kombucha, in-house. It still has all the probiotics benefits, but it just doesn’t come with the high price tag or colorful bottle.

Produce

You grew up on names like Cuties and Chiquita but these brands don’t have access to some magical fruit that no other farmer has. They sell oranges and bananas, just like the no-name bin of less-than-perfect looking fruit. But that imperfect fruit has all the same benefits and costs half as much as the brand name ones.

 

 

 

 

Probiotics

The quality of probiotics certainly varies, so don’t just grab the first generic bottle you see. But there are plenty of generics that have just as many active cultures as the brand name variety. Your pharmacist or (if you have one) nutritionist should be able to point you in the direction of the best generic bottle.

 

 

 

 

Coconut water

Flavor may vary between coconuts, but quality doesn’t. Water obtained from the inside of a coconut is coconut water. All the cute cartons with pop-up tops and resealable lids in the world won’t change that. So if your grocery store offers some no-label bottles of the stuff at a reduced price, just make sure it isn’t mixed with sugar or additives, and get that one.

 

 

 

 

Over-the-counter medication

From allergy medication to pain relievers, the generic and the brand name do the exact same thing. That is why your pharmacist always gives you the generic option. She, the medical professional, sees no reason in pushing the expensive brand name stuff on you. But she does want you to get better! So trust her and buy the generic cough medicine.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sunscreen

You may have a preference in spray versus lotion-style or non-oily versus the greasier varieties. But at the end of the day, SPF if SPF. And for every fancy, brand name, specialized sunscreen (like Neutrogena non-oily face sun screen) there is a generic version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nut butter

The little peanut wearing a top hat is cute and the blue lids sure are cheery, but you’re getting blended up nuts no matter how you spin it. Some generic jars vary in sugar and salt content, so check for that. But if you’re already at a health food store, you can just visit their nut-butter-making station. Here you can pick out any type of nut you want and smash it into butter. That way, you don’t need to pay a brand for doing it for you.

 

 

 

Toilet paper

Between Trader Joe’s, Sprouts and Whole Foods, most health food stores have their own store-brand toilet paper. They usually take pains to use recycled sources or the most sustainable processes to make it, so you can feel good about buying it. Furthermore, it’s way less expensive than the brand name stuff. I know: the brand name stuff is super soft. But it only touches your bum for, like, 8 seconds. Then you flush those dollars down the toilet.

Green tea

If you love green tea, you don’t need to pay for the boxes claiming to have the most authentic leaves from some far-off land. All green tea contains Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), a catechin that provides many of the health benefits this tea is known for. No matter the leaf, you’ll get plenty of antioxidants, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muesli

Muesli and any other type of healthy cereal are the same whether you recognize the illustrations on the box or not. In fact, if you’re at a health food store, then you can likely find self-serve bins of things like Muesli. The pay-by-pound bins are far more affordable than the boxed varieties. With those, you’re paying for the cute packaging.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Himalayan salt

Don’t fall for the exotic story on the back of the bottle. And don’t believe that the way one company extracts their little pink crystals is any different from how another one does it, or that their process somehow affects the flavor. Himalayan salt is all the same: expensive. So you may as well get the lowest-cost one.

 

 

 

 

Olive oil

So long as it’s 100 percent olive oil (and not mixed with canola or some other type of oil) it will do what you need it to do. If you mostly buy olive oil for cooking, rather than for flavoring salads or appetizers, then the flavor discrepancies between the brands won’t make a difference. You’re cooking the stuff away anyway.

 

 

 

Chia seeds

Chia seeds are so basic and pure that there is really nothing a company can do to dress them up, or claim to do that makes them superior to any other. If your health food store sells plain baggies of the stuff or offers pay-by-the-pounds bins, get your chia seeds like that. You’ll get all the omegas and fiber, without the high price of the brand names.

 

 

 

Dairy milk alternatives

Whether you like almond milk, soy milk or coconut milk, it’s all made the same way. Check for sugar content and additives. But even brand name varieties have sugar and additives, so you should always check for those. If your health food store sells batches of the stuff in old fashioned, no-label glass bottles, buy those.

 

 

 

 

Dried fruit

Dried fruit is dried fruit is dried fruit. Do some brands get their cranberries from special farms where they grow them extra sweet? Sure. But the process of drying fruit makes even fruit that wasn’t originally very sweet extra sweet. So it really doesn’t matter what the fresh fruit was like.

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