Driving past all the signs encouraging us to “get our flu shot here!” reminds me that we are rapidly approaching the cold-and-flu season. Many people just accept having colds and flu as a natural part of winter, but is there something going on at a deeper level with our immune system and seasonal eating patterns?
Cold-and-flu season slips in the front door about the same time we open ours for trick or treats. Often the focus of all that candy is related to its affect on the mouth and cavity prevention, or issues surrounding weight gain and diabetes without giving a second thought to another very important health consideration.
Let’s move past the empty calories, weight gain, and diabetes and take an even closer look at how sugar affects us during the cold and flu season. One of the frustrating aspects of aging is wandering around looking for the glasses that are on the top of your head, or getting up to get something only to arrive in the next room and can’t for the life of you remember what you were doing. If you haven’t yet had these experiences, fear not, some day you will, and more importantly, it’s how your white blood cells act when exposed to a sugar high. They know they are supposed to be doing something, but rather than getting the job done, they wander around scratching their heads in confusion.
I challenge you to now think of the cold-and-flu season and examine the amount of sugar being consumed in your household. Is it any wonder that cold-and-flu season seems to start about Halloween, picking up a full head of steam around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and then slowly winds down through the rest of the winter months?
When we enjoy our sweet treats all day long, we inadvertently put ourselves out in the cold-and-flu exposures with an immune system asleep at the wheel. Then we allow it to function fully while we are tucked safely in our beds at night.
Saving your treats for evening helps your immune system protect you during the day. While it’s still important to reduce the amount of sugar consumed, finding ways to substitute natural sugars lessens the impact of refined sugars because the sugar is wrapped up in fiber and digests more slowly.
Stay tuned for some fun and tasty holiday recipes to help you enjoy healthy taste treats without sacrificing your immune system.
Enjoy a natural, healthier cold-and-flu season by limiting your sugar intake, the time of consumption, and the type of sugar consumed.