The holiday season typically comes hand-in-hand with a spike in coughs, colds and other such illnesses. The medical community refers to this time as “flu season”, but I think of it as “sugar season”. The first six weeks of the year seem to be the worst in terms of respiratory ailments, fevers and general malaise. And it makes perfect sense when you consider that, from October 31 through January 1, we have 4-5 big candy, sugar, cakes and cookies holidays. Halloween kicks off Sugar Season, and is followed in rapid succession by Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s (and all the parties that come along with them). Once my children started school, this pattern became even more evident as we could see, quite plainly, that those who consumed the most sugar were also the ones who got sick the most, especially at this time of the year.
Please realize that there is an established correlation between sugar, lung congestion and getting “snotty”. Sugar intake often results in a build-up of mucus as it creates significant dampness in the lung tissue and the resultant snotty-ness in the sinus cavities. And it seems that once a person is snotty, they are more susceptible to different colds and respiratory viruses that are going around.
One question I often hear is “Does sugar suppress the immune system”? My answer is that the immune system is made out of what you eat. So, the question becomes, is your body repairing itself with cookies and candy and sugar-filled processed food, or is it repairing itself with healthy, nutritious food? It’s like building a house with new wood vs rotten wood. They will both work for a while, so there’s this illusion that it’s the same. But it’s not.
Sugar also creates a false sense of nourishment. Our body will use the processed sugar to replace damaged or dead cells: It’s this basic idea that we are what we eat. And when our actual cellular tissue starts to be made out of sugar, we are headed for trouble. Not only does sugar make us more susceptible to the various contagions out there, it also impedes our body’s ability to repair itself during and after an illness.
So, do your body a favor, put a lid on your sugar intake during Sugar Season and enjoy healthy, whole foods instead. Ditch the sugar and you too can Feel better forever with superior wellbeing, a stronger immune system, and a healthier happy New Year.