The Impact of Sugar on the Immune System

In light of what is happening globally, many of us are seeking to boost our immune system. Sugars found in complex carbohydrates — such as grains, vegetables and fruit — are healthy for you, but simple sugars found in sugary drinks, pastries, cookies, cereal and packaged foods cause a paralyzing effect on the body's ability to fight off bacteria and viruses. 

According to one study, consuming the equivalent of 2.5 cans of sugary soda, or 100 grams (8 tablespoons) of sugar reduces the ability of your white blood cells to kill germs by 40 percent. The immune-suppressing response to sugar begins approximately 30 minutes after consumption and last up to five hours. Sugar competes for space within white blood cells. The more sugar is consumed, there is less vitamin C to protect your body from harmful viruses and diseaseS. 

Sugar and sweeteners rob bones and vital systems of key nutrients. 74 percent of processed foods contain hidden sources of sugar. Become more mindful of what is lurking in your family's foods. Read ingredient labels. If the ingredient ends in "-ose", it is sugar in one form or another!

As we find ourselves confined to our houses, many families are now caring and schooling their children at home. In times of stress, it is common to reach for something sweet and comforting. The central nervous system can temporarily be soothed with the rush of endorphins but this is short lived.

Replace sugary snacks and drinks with nutrient-dense whole foods, vegetables and fruit. Keep in mind, most "fruit juices" are nothing but pure sugar. 

Some of the best foods to bolster the immune system include:

The bottom line is to adjust your diet to include more of these foods. Stay well hydrated, go for a brisk walk outdoors, sleep at least seven hours per night, and find ways to cope with and reduce stress on the body. These tips can help keep you healthy and strong. 

Author
Jaki Ryan Jaki Ryan is a Functional Nutritionist and Certified Health and Weight Loss Coach at VitalityMDs in Scottsdale, Arizona. She has over a decade of experience in the medical weight loss field, specializing in developing comprehensive treatment plans customized to every patient’s individual needs. She is highly regarded for the level of care, compassion, and enthusiasm she provides her patients.

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