To Your Health
March, 2009 (Vol. 03, Issue 03)
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A large sweet potato that can be split between two meals costs about 75 cents. While certain nuts are very expensive (macadamias, for example), many are very reasonable. Lean meats, fish and chicken are reasonably priced and can be added to the vegetables and sweet potatoes. Fresh fruit remains very reasonable and should be one of the snacks of choice.

Dark chocolate is inexpensive and can be mixed with raw nuts and raisins for a great snack or dessert. I often melt a 50-calorie piece of dark chocolate with a little coconut oil and add some nuts and raisins. I place this combination on a piece of wax/freezer paper and place it into the freezer for about 10 minutes. My reward is an anti-inflammatory candy bar.

It is not more expensive to eat healthy, anti-inflammatory foods, if one shops wisely. Certainly, preventing the expression of chronic disease will save countless dollars and heartaches associated with the accelerated morbidity and mortality associated with pro-inflammatory living. In short, we cannot afford to eat any other way but anti-inflammatory.

Inexpensive Supplements for Health Promotion

image - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark There are also key supplements that support the reduction of inflammation and free-radical generation, and they're also reasonably priced. (Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage surrounding molecules in the body. They have been linked to an increased risk of cancer, among other diseases.) The basic supplements include a multivitamin without iron, magnesium, fish oil and vitamin D. The total cost is approximately $60 to $80 per month, which is less than $3 per day. If you can only afford one supplement, vitamin D seems like the best choice because research has demonstrated that vitamin D insufficiency is pandemic. The next best financial choice for a supplement would be a multivitamin/mineral without iron. After that, fish oil should be added, and finally magnesium. If a fifth supplement can be afforded, probiotics are the best choice, as they have a strongly anti-inflammatory effect in the gut.

If money is not particularly an issue, additional supplements should be considered, including coenzyme Q10, lipoic acid, acetyl-L-carnitine, ginger, turmeric and garlic. These supplements help to promote ATP synthesis and reduce free radicals and inflammation.

The Bottom Line

While finances have been tight lately due to external economic forces, and may get worse in the near future, we can easily make this situation a lot worse by pursuing disease expression due to a pro-inflammatory lifestyle. Medical care for pro-inflammatory diseases is extremely expensive and generally preventable by adopting an anti-inflammatory diet that is no more expensive than one that is pro-inflammatory. Key supplements can be added based on financial ability.

We should consider that paying for expensive medical care will put most of us into debt even when economic times are good. So it makes no sense to pursue disease and expensive medical care with a pro-inflammatory lifestyle when economic times are not so good. In short, nutrition does not need to be compromised, even when the economy is down. Talk to your doctor for more information.

Foods That Promote Inflammation
  • High-fat meats (especially red meat)
  • Processed meats
  • Sugary snacks, sodas and cereals
  • Refi ned grains
  • Candy and junk food
 - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark
Foods That Discourage Inflammation
  • Salmon and other oily fish
  • Flax/pumpkin seeds
  • Olive oil
  • Whole grains
  • Brightly colored fruits and vegetables
 - Copyright – Stock Photo / Register Mark

David Seaman, MS, DC, DACBN, is the author of Clinical Nutrition for Pain, Inflammation and Tissue Healing. He has a master's degree in nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, Conn., and lectures on nutrition.