Winter Wellness: Reducing Sugar
This tip to help you maintain wellness is so important that it gets its own post. 🙂
I know I’m not alone here. I have a severe sweet tooth. Specifically, I crave dark chocolate all the livelong day. However, since beginning my health journey, I have come to the conclusion (along with many others) that sugar is an immune system suppressant. It works against our body’s natural defense mechanism.
You know how people refer to this time of year as “sick season”? It’s true; it seems as if people really are more prone to sickness during the winter months (which is precisely why we are covering the topic of Winter Wellness). There are many factors for why people tend to get sick more frequently in the winter, but may I suggest that it is also possibly due to our increased intake of sugar?
Just as much as we may consider this “sick season”, I think calling it “sugar season” is just as accurate! We had Halloween with a huge consumption of sugar! Then we had Thanksgiving with pies and desserts after our day of feasting. And now it is December where it seems like every direction we turn we are offered a chocolate truffle, a candy cane, a sugary peppermint mocha, sugar cookies, and even a slice of “Jesus’s Birthday Cake”, ha!
Eating sugar is like a cycle. It promotes overconsumption because of the pleasure and reward pathways in our brain. This creates an unbalanced psychological relationship with food which leads to further indulging. And thus, the cycle repeats!
Indulging in unhealthy amounts of sugar can lead to hormonal and metabolic dysregulation, which are inflammatory in the body, and promote disorders like insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity. In addition, sugar disrupts the delicate balance of gut bacteria. And we have all heard that gut health has a direct influence on our overall health.
But most importantly, studies have shown that sugar intake can reduce our body’s natural defenses by 75% for up to six hours after consumption. This is huge!
So what can we do? There is no way to COMPLETELY avoid sugar during the holidays (unless you are super diligent and extremely careful. And want to miss out on some traditional holiday pleasures). BUT you can be more aware of your sugar intake!
There are also essential oils that can help curb cravings! I love a drop of ocotea under my tongue for the most extreme cravings (like after I’ve eaten 3/4ths of the chocolate covered almonds). A glass of water with a drop of peppermint or citrus fresh are also very popular “treats” that help those wanting to reduce their sugar intake stay on track.
I enjoy cups of tea all throughout the day! Tea can be so comforting, similarly to something sweet, but without the sugar! Plus, with essential oils, they can help SUPPORT the immune system! Here’s my favorite tea recipe:
It’s so delicious!
Times to truly avoid sugar intake are when we are experiencing sickness or recovering from injury. Let’s HELP our bodies by feeding it nourishing, whole foods instead of empty calories that can suppress our body’s natural defense system!