Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Staying Healthy During Tough Economic Times

Many of us are feeling the economic crunch these days. Money is tight and the bills continue to arrive in our mailboxes. Stressful times such as these demand resiliency on our part, particularly in terms of our exercise and diet habits. Interestingly, a mentally stressed state can promote inflammation throughout the body. Avoiding mental stressors is not likely to be easy during these times, so we must consider the importance of avoiding inflammation caused by other factors, such as poor diet and lack of exercise.

When you hear the word inflammation, you probably think first about swelling, redness, pain, etc., that can occur following an acute injury, irritation or infection. In general, this is short-term, localized inflammation (confined to a certain area of the body). But inflammation can also occur without physical injury. This is general, body-wide (systemic) inflammation, and it can cause subtle biochemical injuries to body tissues, increasing the risk of developing a number of serious diseases over time.

Lean meat, fish, chicken, fruits, vegetables and nuts form the foundation of a diet that limits a postprandial inflammatory response. This is referred to as an "anti-inflammatory diet." Not surprisingly, this diet is recommended to help prevent the above-mentioned pro-inflammatory diseases, the treatment of which represents a massive drain on financial resources, both personally and for businesses. A common argument is, "I can't afford to eat lots of fruits and vegetables," or "Healthy foods are expensive." Let's do a quick comparison. A cup of coffee and a doughnut can cost up to $5. A 20 oz. bottle of soda costs more than $1. In contrast, a 5-pound bag of frozen carrots, broccoli and cauliflower costs $5 at Sam's Club, and a 1-pound container of pre-washed organic salad greens costs about $4. Both of those items can be consumed over several days by several people.

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.

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. 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.

Talk to your doctor for more information or if you life in Las Vegas, please feel to stop by my office for a consultation.

Be Well,
Dr. Jon Wise

5875 S. Rainbow Blvd #201
Las Vegas, NV 89118

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