Every year the summer comes to a close, the weather cools down with fall, kids go back to school and then the dreaded cold and flu season is upon us. What if that could be avoided? We often blame sick people around us or our immune system for not working well enough. Let’s dive into how all of this can be prevented and why cold and flu season should really have another name entirely.
Is it a coincidence that around the same time the sick season begins there are a lot of holidays, all of which are celebrated with sugar from candy to pie to cake? Maybe not. We all know we are supposed to eat healthy and avoid too much sugar. How much is too much? Consuming sugar does cause the immune system to work less efficiently by making the cells that attack and kill bacteria less effective. For instance, after drinking a sugary beverage like soda, your immune system is curbed for up to a couple hours! Leaving you without a defense against all the nasty viruses and bacteria that lurk all over public places. Sugar is also known to promote inflammation throughout the body; cancer cells feast on sugar, it increases blood sugar (which leads to diabetes in the long run), and leads to decreased energy in the long run. Seems like a lot of reasons to avoid it, especially when everyone around you out in public is sneezing and full of germs.
Speaking of public places, we all know that public bathrooms and restaurants are breeding grounds for bacteria. Other places that might surprise you (and that you touch daily) are cellphones, the bottom of purses, keys, laundry machines, light switches and coffee makers to name just a few. We can all do our part to prevent the spread of germs by practicing good hygiene, but let’s face it we will come in contact with these germs one way or another. Which really leads back to what we can put in our body to help boost our immune system.
Some very important supplements to consider during the fall season are zinc, Vitamin C and E and beta-carotine. Some other amazing products include greens powers which are packed with important vitamins and minerals. Dr Megan recommends drinking a greens powder like “Amazing Greens” which has kale, spirulina, wheat grass and other amazing greens so you are getting protein and iron through a natural source. She also makes her own juice from whole foods and drinks it daily. Dr Jen gives her children elderberry syrup when they need an immune system boost which is known for being packed with flavonoids, a type of antioxidant which promotes immune system health.
Another thing to consider is that most of your immune system, or at least 70% of it, resides in your gut. So, by keeping your digestion healthy you will automatically have an easier time fighting off bugs. Taking a probiotic when you need your immune system boosted can be helpful. Things like gluten, sugar and processed foods will have quite the opposite effect and lower your immune system response.
Stay tuned for future blog posts on more ideas for how to boost your immune system. For now, take a pass on the sugar, eats lots of healthy veggies and coast your way through this “sugar” season without getting sick!