In 1960 Americans spent 17.5% of their income on food and 5.2% on health care; now we spend 9.9% on food, while 16% of our national income goes to health care, according to Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food. His point being that if we spent more money on healthy food, we’d probably land ourselves in the hospital less often. In today’s market of expensive “superfoods” and anti-aging, anti-cancer, anti-fat foods, many companies use this argument to persuade customers that they should pay top dollar for their product, be it kale from the farmer’s market or frozen acai smoothies from Brazil. If it’s good for your health, it’s worth it’s weight in gold, they seem to say; and so we siphon our savings into food we think will benefit our health.
But are all health foods worth the money? We can’t guarantee savings in hospital bills down the road, but maintaining a healthy weight through diet and physical activity significantly reduces your chances of developing diabetes, heart disease, and even some of America’s other top killers. So to us, healthy food is a worthwhile expense. Still; we’re not willing to hand out our cash for every new health trend. Being smart about health doesn’t have to mean being stupid with your money; you can be healthy (and even have green drinks) on a budget, too. More