Sugar season and our immune system, how are they connected?
The first time I heard Christina use the phrase Sugar Season, I was floored! I thought, That's it!
For over 15 years, while my kids were growing, I would have bronchitis around Halloween and pneumonia by Christmas. Then it would usually move on to a diagnosis of walking pneumonia and by Easter it would be easing up and moving out. I found it very frustrating, but accepted it as a fact of life and blamed the cold, my allergies and the stress that came with having four young children because that's what my M.D. told me it was due to. He said it was ‘chronic bronchitis' with complications due to asthma.
About four years ago I started purposefully making changes in my life. I removed dairy and found a significant decrease in sinus issues and an incredible reduction in the need to clear my lungs every morning. I also started routinely using essential oils to boost my respiratory system. Things had been going so well I didn't give it another thought, just rejoiced in no illness and kept doing what I was doing.
That's when it hit me!
Then Christina shared in class about Sugar Season, which also coincides with most people getting less immune boosting Vitamin D because they spend more time indoors, in their tightly enclosed house (keeping out the frigid, but fresh air), with little to no physical activity and easy access to the candy bowl, fridge, and cooking or baking. That's when it hit me!
You know what else I had reduced significantly? SUGAR! I had decided no soda, candy, sweet tea, baked goods or any high in gluten products were going to be on the shopping list anymore. It's been four years now and I don't know, but I haven't had to go in for anything, not even a cold 🙂
Hmm there did seem to be a connection between sugar season and my immune system!
There's how much sugar in that?!
So, ONE can of 12-oz Coca-Cola has about 9 teaspoons of sugar which is over the limit of what the Heart Association recommends for a whole day!
Not picking on that one type of soda, it's just a very common one. .
Be sure to research your favorite drink to find the sugar content in it.
There are other names for sugars, so make sure to read the label.
We have many holidays during Sugar Season that revolve around sugar such as sugar foods, sugary treats, sugary drinks and, of course, candy.
Some sugars are assumed to be healthier, like agave... but
According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune a ‘recent study found 68% of all packaged supermarket products have added sugar and noted that it's a major ingredient in packaged breads, pasta sauces, salad dressings, chicken stocks, flavored yogurts and condiments , from ketchup to Sriracha.'
“The American Heart Association recommends limiting intake of added sugar to 6 teaspoons for women and 9 teaspoons for men.
For reference, one 12-ounce can of cola contains about 8 teaspoons of added sugar, for about 130 calories.
Most American women should eat or drink no more than 100 calories per day from added sugars, and most American men should eat or drink no more than 150 calories per day form added sugars. Americans are consuming about 17 teaspoons of the sweet stuff each day.
That is more than double the daily recommended amount for women and nearly double for men.
But high fructose corn syrup isn’t the only type of sugar contributing to our over consumption.
Some sugars are assumed to be healthier than others, but added sugars like agave nectar, honey, maple syrup, coconut sugar, or date sugar have a similar effect on the body as other added sugars.” according to the article by Heart.org/sugar/by-any-other-name-its-still-sweetener
Sugar by any other name would taste as sweet
“Action on Sugar, set up earlier this year to reduce the amount of sugar added to food and soft drinks, found that 79% of the sugary drinks included in its survey of 232 sugar-sweetened drinks from leading supermarkets contained six or more teaspoons of sugar per 330ml can.
Health editor, Sarah Boseley writes today:
Traditional and up-market fizzy drinks such as ginger beer and cloudy lemonade contain more sugar than Coca Cola and Pepsi, according to a new analysis. The worst offenders are ginger beers, such as Old Jamaica ginger beer and Jammin sparkling ginger beer flavour drink, which have the equivalent of 13 teaspoons of sugar per 330ml serving. Waitrose, Marks and Spencer and Sainsbury’s ginger beers have 11. Coca Cola and Pepsi have nine” according to The Guardian
The impact on your brain and body
“Eating too much sugar can affect the brain and body, including increased risk for cavities, weight gain, cognitive decline, and increased risk for a disease.” said maxliving.com
Also according to Maxliving.com, refined sugar can reduce how the white blood cells perform and sugar's impact on the immune system can be cumulative and far-reaching.
“Sugar's impact on health and the immune system is a complex interplay of hormonal, metabolic, and immunologic processes that can severely threaten human health.“
So sugar season has a huge impact on our immune system!
Weightandwellness.com shared that “A research study done by Loma Linda University in which participants were fed different forms of sugar found that the effectiveness of white blood cells (our immune cells which fight infection) decreased up to 50% after 1-2 hours of eating sugar, lasting up to five hours!”
“Too much sugar in your system allows the bacteria or viruses to propagate much more because your initial innate system doesn't work as well. That's why diabetics, for example, have more infections,” Dr. Michael Roizen, MD and COO of the Cleveland Clinic told CNET.
‘Eighty-three research studies have concluded that a diet rich in fruits and vegetables actually improves immune function. Conversely, a diet rich in processed foods and man-made sugars can suppress the immune system.' bioticsresearch.com
... letting down your resistance to bacteria, viruses and parasites
The next time you reach for junk food, realize that you not only are affecting your weight, but you may be letting down your resistance to bacteria, viruses, and parasites.” Dr. Blackman Piedmont Healthcare
The studied harmful effects of sugar run the gamut from increased anxiety to early death. Oh, and a suppressed immune system. Yes, there’s some research to back up the idea that sugar wreaks havoc on the immune system. ~ Huffpost
Sugary holidays have a real impact on our immune system! Can you imagine what happens to a child?
According to WebMD, eating more fruits and vegetables high in Vitamins C and E, beta-carotene and zinc like berries, citrus fruits, kiwi, apples red grapes, kale, onions, spinach, sweet potatoes, carrots and fresh garlic may help fight viruses and bacteria.
I don't know about you, but my grandma's cure for everything was home made chicken (or turkey) vegetable soup! It was always full of fresh veggies from the garden like carrots, green beans, onions and garlic. In fact, we're having it tonight!
Help support your immune system
Another amazing product to help support your immune system is elderberries as they are super high in antioxidants! Be sure to check out the Elderberry Syrup recipe that Christina shared!
Want to learn even more about elderberries? Healthy, Holistic Living has a great article on it!
Other things you can do to support your immune system; sleep, plenty of water, sunshine, meditation and journaling 🙂
DOWNLOAD the Sugar, Soda & Your Immune System for more information.