I am sure, when you have been sick, the first thing you ran to is orange juice, Gatorade, or ginger ale. These are the worst things you can consume when you are sick. Sugar is probably what made you sick in the first place. Let me explain what sugar is first. Sugar is not just sweets and pastries. Sugar comes from carbs, fruits, milk, glucose, sugar, and disaccharide vegetables. Usually during the Holidays is when most people get sick. This happens because of a perfect storm. We are surrounded by larger number of people who may be carrying something, we are eating a horrible diet that does not support a good immune response, we may be drinking too much alcohol which lowers our immune system, we are not getting enough sleep, we are overly stressed, and we are consuming too much sugar or saccharide foods that destroy our gut and lowers our immune.
Since this is about sugar, let me explain how sugar affects your immune system. First lets starts with digestion. Because 70% of our immune system is in our digestive system, we require the proper nutrients to help support this digestive system. When we consume too much sugar it weakens this system. 30 minutes after digestion of sugars, it decreases our white blood cell production by 40%. Remember, white blood cells are what kills the bad guys and foreign objects in the body. A particular WBC called “neutrophil” eat bad bacteria. Once you consume a simple carb, too much fruit, a monosaccharide or disaccharide, your neutrophils can weaken for up to 5 hours therefore preventing your body from killing any bad bacteria that has entered your system. The more sugar-based products you consume the more it weakens your neutrophils leading to an increase of susceptibility of bad bugs in our blood.
Now sugar can also circulate in our blood system if we consume too much. When this happens, we have a protective process called inflammation occur. Inflammation starts when white blood cells (our immune) produce cytokines.
Cytokines travel through the bloodstream attacking sugar deposits in organ tissues, muscles, brain, and joints, sinuses, and blood. The cytokines are trying to clean up the area and move these unwanted sugars, as well as, bad bacteria’s and viruses from the body. The more you have unwanted chemicals and foreign objects the more cytokines are produced, the more inflammation increases in the body, leading to inflammatory disorders and autoimmune disorders, and the signs of a cold or flu. When your immune system begins to lower so it can fight off the excess sugar consumption, this gives the bad guys (bacteria and virus) easier access to attack the body full force. You have basically let your guard down giving access to the bad guys. Here is a catch 22, the flu can increase your blood glucose level so it will keep your cytokines busy and these bugs can grow itself. The flu will cause a reaction, increasing your cortisol and adrenaline hormones and interfering with your insulin, leading to a rise in blood glucose. We don’t want to feed these bugs; we want to kill them.
The best way to kill these bugs is by supporting your white blood cells and keeping the bugs down. The best foods to do this are superfoods and antibacterial/antiviral foods.
It is my suggestion to stop all processed foods, carbohydrates, and fruit during the seasons where you find you are most susceptible to cold and flu environments. Foods I like to encourage eating are more vegetables (green leafy), more mushrooms (shitake, turkeytail, matke), cruciferous vegetables (they help support detoxing the liver), onion and garlic (due to the sulfuric action to kill viruses and bacteria), sage, thyme, oregano, turmeric, white pepper (these are all spices and herbs that support your immune and kill virus, bacteria, and fungi), and bone broths (these broths have the minerals and nutrients needed to support the immune system).
Water is so important as well. It is needed to not only flush out toxins in the body but replenish the cells. Bacteria’s and viruses live off your water and steal it from your cells, leading to death of the cell. The more you hydrate the more you prevent them from damaging your own cell. And water does not mean sugary sodas, Gatorade or Powerade, juices, or sweet tea. Water is the only thing. Then I have patient’s mention diet or sugar free. Studies show that Sucralose is more damaging to the gut lining which increase the susceptibility of bad bacteria proliferation and decrease in immune system cells such as neutrophils. I guess what I am saying is say NO to sugar free and just drink WATER!
To help your immune system, we have provided several bone broth recipes with these essential herbs and foods that will help during this time of the season.
Listen to this week's PODCAST by clicking the image!
Podcast: Why Sugar Is Making You Sick!