21 Pain-Fighting Foods That Are Incredibly Cheap

In this post I’ll show you exactly which foods are the best at getting rid of inflammation and cheap enough for any budget.

If you always have aches and pains, or can’t seem to heal from an injury, you may be suffering from chronic inflammation.

You can reduce inflammation in your body by eating a diet rich with anti inflammatory foods.  

My goal here is to show you how to beat back chronic pain caused by inflammation without breaking the bank.

How I ranked these foods

The contents are based on two pieces of research.

  1. A cost of food study by The U.S. Department of Agriculture
  2. The IF (Inflammation Factor) Rating

The IF rating estimates the inflammatory or anti-inflammatory potential of foods (calculating via different nutritional factors).

Nutritionist Monica Reinagel developed the index and based it on years of research from hundreds of studies on systemic inflammation. 

Foods with positive IF Ratings are considered anti-inflammatory, while those with negative IF Ratings contribute to inflammation. The higher the number (positive or negative), the stronger the effect.

To find out which foods give you the most inflammation-fighting power per dollar spent, I divided each food’s IF rating by the cost per pound. This gives us what I call the “Bang for your Buck” rating.

It’s simple: The higher the Bang for your Buck rating, the more inflammation-fighting power you get for each dollar you spend.

On the flip side, there are certain foods you should always avoid. Eating them will cause inflammation and make arthritis and joint pain WORSE. These are the 5 worst arthritis foods for arthritis and joint pain.

Now, let’s take a look at 21 Affordable Foods That Beat Pain Fast and why they work.

#21 Naval Oranges

IF Rating: 12
Cost: $1.30/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 9.2
Why oranges fight inflammation:
• Citrus flavanone phytonutrients
• Abundant polyphenols in oranges have been shown to have a wide range of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-viral, anti-allergenic, anti-proliferative and anti-carcinogenic effects.1

#20 Cauliflower

IF Rating: 18
Cost: $1.42/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 12.7
Why cauliflower fights inflammation:
• All cruciferous vegetables contain powerful inflammation fighters
• High in fiber that feeds healthy gut bacteria that reduce inflammation.2
• An excellent source of vitamin K, one of the hallmark anti-inflammatory nutrients
• Good source of Omega-3’s

#19 Celery

IF Rating: 14
Cost: $1.09/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 12.8
Why celery fights inflammation:
• Full of antioxidants (like vitamin C, beta-carotene and manganese)
• Protects against inflammation in the digestive tract
• Contains apigenin, which may treat or prevent inflammatory diseases such as arthritis and Alzheimer’s Disease.3

#18 Pink Grapefruit

IF Rating: 20
Cost: $1.39/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 14.4
Why pink grapefruit fights inflammation:
• Very high in vitamin C
• Grapefruit juice ranks highest in antioxidant activity among juices.4

#17 Kiwi

IF Rating: 34
Cost: $2.18/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 15.6
Why kiwi fights inflammation:
• Contains kissper, which counteracts oxidative stress and inflammatory response5
• Contains systemic enzymes that help your body’s inflammation response
• Kiwi fruit peel extract shown to counteract multiple inflammatory disorders6

#16 Spinach

IF Rating: 75
Cost: $3.83/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 19.6
Why spinach fights inflammation:
• Contains the antioxidant lutein, which can reduce inflammation stemming from coronary artery disease7
• Spinach also has glycolipids that suppress vascular inflammation8

#15 Green Peppers

IF Rating: 48
Cost: $2.42/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 19.8
Why green pepper fights inflammation:
• Has vitamin C and powerful antioxidants that have anti-inflammatory effects
• Contains more than 30 different carotenoids, including excellent amounts of beta-carotene and zeaxanthin

#14 Brussels Sprouts

IF Rating: 80
Cost: $2.96/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 27
Why Brussels sprouts fight inflammation:
• Glucosinolates found in Brussels sprouts help regulate the body’s inflammatory/ anti-inflammatory system and prevent unwanted inflammation
• Has kaempferol, which possess anti-inflammatory activity

#13 Broccoli

IF Rating: 52
Cost: $1.91/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 27.2
Why broccoli fights inflammation:
• All cruciferous vegetables contain powerful inflammation fighters
• Studies suggest phytonutrients in broccoli fight inflammation of the joints, respiratory system, colon and more9

#12 Cabbage

IF Rating: 20
Cost: $0.62/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 32.3
Why cabbage fights inflammation:
• Cabbage has high levels of flavonoids and anthocyanins that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
• Green cabbage heads have highest anti-inflammatory activity10

#11 Red Peppers

IF Rating: 84
Cost: $2.32/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 36.2
Why red peppers fight inflammation:
• Excellent source of vitamin C
• Contains more than 30 different carotenoids, including excellent amounts of beta-carotene and zeaxanthin
• Has lots of phytonutrients

#10 Avocados

IF Rating: 114
Cost per pound: $2.23
Bang for Buck Ratio: 51.1
Why avocados fight inflammation:
• Researchers believe avocado’s carotenoid diversity is a key factor in its anti-inflammatory properties
• Avocado fats are particularly well-documented with problems involving arthritis
• Has inflammation fighting fats widely present in ocean plants but fairly unique among land plants
• Contains Omega 3’s 

#9 Turnip Greens

IF Rating: 114
Cost: $2.51/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 53.8
Why turnip greens fight inflammation:
• Has arvelexin, which significantly reduces inflammation11
• Good source of omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA)
• Also contains choline, which reduces chronic inflammation12

#8 Kale

best foods people over 50

IF Rating: 215
Cost: $2.88/pound
Bang for buck: 74.7
Why kale fight inflammation: 
• Reduces risk of carcinogenesis and certain diseases13
• Kale is a chemopreventative agent
• Has natural antioxidants

#7 Pineapple

IF Rating: 64
Cost: $.65/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 98.5
Why pineapple fights inflammation:
• Rich in bromelain, one of the most powerful natural inflammation fighters on Earth
• Bromelain is widely used as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and possess numerous health benefits
• You can also get bromelain in our natural joint-relief formula, Heal-n-Soothe®).


#6 Collard Greens

IF Rating: 324
Cost: $2.36/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 123.2
Why collard greens fight inflammation:
• An excellent source of vitamin K
• Omega-3 fatty acids (in the form of alpha-linolenic acid, or ALA)
• Glucosinolates

#5 Mustard Greens

IF Rating: 348
Cost: $2.68/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 129.9
Why mustard greens fight inflammation:
• Contains sinigrin that has anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antioxidant and antibacterial properties14
• Also supports body’s detoxification system and protects against cancer15

#4 Cantaloupe

IF Rating: 76
Cost: $0.52/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 146.2
Why cantaloupe fights inflammation:
• Cantaloupe is used to treat inflammation of the liver, coughs, exczema, and kidney disorders16
• Cantaloupe contains a wide variety of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients
• High in vitamin C

#3 Sweet Potatoes

IF Rating: 156
Cost: $1.05/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 148.6
Why sweet potatoes fight inflammation:
• Purple sweet potatoes suppress pro-inflammatory cytokines17
• Sweet potatoes also have choline that reduces inflammation in the body

#2 Carrots

IF Rating: 244
Cost: $.77/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 316.9
Why carrots fight inflammation:
• Contains flavonoids that reduce inflammation
• Rich in antioxidants
• Carrot extracts have anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and wound-healing benefits18

#1 Onions

IF Rating: 584
Cost: $1.05/pound
Bang for Buck Ratio: 556.2
Why onions fight inflammation:
• Onionin A – a unique sulfur molecule in onion that is found in the bulb portion of the plant – has been shown to inhibit the activity of macrophages; these specialized white blood cells play a key role in our body’s immune system and can trigger large-scale inflammatory responses
• Onion’s contains quercitin that has inflammation and immune modulating activity19

One more thing…

If you want to stay pain-free and increase your chances of a longer life, you must manage all of the factors regarding inflammation DAILY.

But no one expects you to immediately change your entire diet and spend the rest of your days only scarfing down onions, sweet potatoes and kale.

So here is a simple tip…

Replace just one item at each meal with an item from the list in this report.

It will allow you to change your diet a little bit at a time, easier than giving up the foods you normally eat “cold turkey.”

For example, if you are out for lunch and normally get a hamburger with fries… you don’t necessarily need to order a salad.

Instead, replace the fries with sweet potato fries. Or a side order of broccoli.

This way you continue taking steps toward a healthier lifestyle without feeling deprived of the foods you love.

And if you cook at home, I‘ve made this even easier for you…

My team and I prepared a 7-Day Meal Plan for Ultimate Pain Relief that uses these foods in easy-to-make (and really tasty) recipes.

You can download your free copy right here, or click on the banner below.

7 day meal plan

And before you go…

As I mentioned earlier there are also foods that CAUSE inflammation. Eating them actually makes arthritis and joint pain worse.

Discover the 5 WORST Foods for Arthritis and Joint Pain… Watch this special presentation

Filed Under: Back Pain
Written By:

Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Jesse is the co-founder and visionary CEO of The Healthy Back Institute®, the world-leading source of natural back pain solutions. His mission as a former back pain sufferer is to help others live pain free without surgery and pharmaceuticals.

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4 thoughts on “21 Pain-Fighting Foods That Are Incredibly Cheap”

  1. sofia brown says:

    Great article. These fruits and vegies are the best healthy and delicious.

    1. Admin says:

      Thank you Sofia we appreciate your kind words

      (The Healthy Back Institute)

  2. carolyn says:

    Lots of great info is given here. Glad I found this website!!

    1. Admin says:

      Caroyln, Thank you so much for your kind comment. We are happy to be of help to you.

      Thank you
      Admin(The Healthy Back Institute)

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