In a study done by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, they made a great discovery ~ lead study author Mayuree Rao states “We found that the healthiest diets cost about $1.50 more per day, and that’s less than we might have expected.”
Rao did acknowledge that for many low-income families, this could amount to quite a bit; however, for other people, $1.50 is less than they spend on their morning cup of coffee. It’s “just a drop in the bucket when you consider the billions of dollars spent every year on diet-related chronic disease like obesity, diabetes and heart disease,” Rao said. “When you look at the long-term health impact, the extra $1.50 is a good investment.”
When you consider that many families are consuming a diet made up mostly of processed foods to save money rather than consuming more fresh fruits and vegetables, suddenly the $1.50 appears minimal in light of the little nutrition that is found in those processed foods and the unfortunate consequences of such a diet can have with too much sodium, fat and sugar.
In Dr. Weil’s book, Why Our Health Matters, he states, “Most women are surprised to learn that excess weight and obesity cause more cases of breast cancer than genes or environmental toxins.” This statement certainly can reinforce the spending of that extra $1.50 a day to get away from the foods that can cause the excess weight and obesity. The CDC estimates that each year 1.7 million Americans die and 25 million more are disabled by chronic diseases that are caused or exacerbated by lifestyle factors. (Why Our Health Matters, pg. 134)
Healthy eating becomes especially important when raising a family. In a study published in Britain’s Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, it states that diets high in processed foods may be tied to lower IQ scores with children, versus those with healthier diets who had higher IQ scores. Researchers found that kids who ate diets high in processed foods at age 3 had slightly lower IQ scores by age 8 1/2. The study also showed children who at age 3 ate what the researchers termed a “healthy diet” high in salad, fruit, vegetables, rice, and pasta had an associated higher IQ at age 8 and a half.
We all make choices everyday in our lives ~ the decision to take individual responsibility to maintain and protect our bodies can be as simple as choosing the right food to eat each day. I was very encouraged by this study (which, by the way, included 27 studies on the cost of healthy vs. unhealthy foods). These results are published in the British Medical Journal.
In my own experience I found that a good quality of dietary supplements, including vitamins and minerals, was useful for me as insurance against gaps in my diet as well as staying away from fast food, eating more fruits and vegetables, fish and lean meat and whole grains and legumes, all of which has helped me to maintain good health for the last 20 years, something I truly treasure. One of Dr. Weil’s patients stated, “I now understand that when you lose your health, nothing else that you have matters. All you can think about is being well again.”
How about you? What would an extra $1.50 a day mean to you regarding the food choices you make? In this season of gift-giving, let’s all consider giving ourselves a gift ~ delicious, nutrient-dense foods ~ it can truly make a difference!