You know the all too familiar feeling….a slight achy feeling, tiredness, throat starts hurting, and pretty soon you’re down on the couch with the dreaded flu. They call this time of year, “flu season”, but is it really flu season or just sugar season? Note that the CDC shows that the flu season is basically October – February.
Exactly what happens in October – February? Lots, and lots of parties. What is at the parties? Unhealthy foods and sugar!!
January: New Years
February: Valentine’s Day
I’m just like you….I have a sweet tooth as big as a house, and if I don’t pay attention, I’m loading myself down with all the goodies. Not only do I feel icky, but then I get sick.
Why would sugar have anything to do with getting sick? Well believe it or not, refined white sugar is very hard on the immune system because it damages your white blood cell count. We want good, healthy blood cells that can be mighty fighters!! We want to keep them hungry so that they can eat up all the bad bacteria (think flu germs), fungus, and any foreign matter that shouldn’t be in our system. If you want a really cool word to throw out to your friends, this process is called phagocytosis.
When the white blood cells are damaged by our unhealthy diets, they get weak. Take a look at this data from JoAnn Rachor, in her book entitled Of These You May Freely Eat, she illustrates the impact of sugar on white blood cells activity. She shares the following, explaining that this is over a four-hour period:
- No sugar in the diet…..white blood cells can kill 15 (foreigners…viruses, bacteria, parasites, cancerous cells) over a 4 hour period with no decrease in immunity
- 6 t/sugar (½ can of soda) …..white blood cells can kill 10 = 25% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours.
- 12 t/sugar (full can of soda or frosted brownie)….white blood cells can kill 5.5 = 60% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours
- 18 t/sugar (piece of pie with ice cream)….white blood cells can kill 2 = 85% reduction in immunity over next 4 hours
- 24 t/sugar (banana split with all the fixin’s)…white blood cells can kill 1 = 92% decrease in immunity over next 4 hours
Yikes!! So we go to parties, eat lots of junk, and hang around with all those people with probably at least someone in the midst that is carrying a virus, and boom, the next week we’re also down for the count.
So maybe totally avoiding sugar is pretty much impossible this time of year, but maybe cutting down as much as possible and building up the immune system in as many ways as possible with stave off the colds and flues that plague so any of us this time of year!
I recommend lots of clean water, exercise, probiotics, Vitamins B, C, D, lots of healthy veggies and fruits, elderberry syrup, and I have also successfully staved off sickness by taking echinacea capsules when I feel something coming on.
Contrary to what you might think, I am not a spoil sport, and I do indulge in all those wonderful treats from time to time, but I do everything I can to kick my immune system into gear at the same time.
Hoping you have a healthy Christmas and happy New Year!