Have A Cold Or Flu? Cut Out The Sugar!
The New Fat
In the past, we used to focus on the evils of fat. We believed that in order to stay healthy and lose weight, we had to be careful about how much fat we consumed. If you were like many of us and often too easily tempted by the irresistible looking cookies and sweets available at our local supermarket shelves, we thought we were making the healthy choice by opting for the “fat-free” cookies. Remember those? Instead of fat, they replaced it for more sugar or carbohydrates which were not seen as being bad or evil at the time. Ever wonder why it is hard to find those “fat-free” cookies nowadays?
Well, times have changed. Not only are all fats not that bad for us, some fats are actually even good for us. We now know that fat is important in the production of healthy cells as well as controlling our cholesterol levels. Good fats provide a healthy source of energy and help us feel full. Instead, we should consider re-thinking our intake of carbohydrates or sugar due to the possible harmful effects it has on your body.
Carbs, Carbs, Everwhere A Carb
Simple sugars, simple carbohydrates, complex carbs, cane sugar, artificial sweeteners – it can be very confusing at times. Let us start with simple carbohydrates or carbs. Simple carbs are also known as refined or processed carbs and include such foods as white bread, pasta and rice, baked goods, breakfast cereals, pop and cookies. They are simple or refined because they have had a lot of the nutritional value removed from the original food source. Because of their chemical makeup, simple carbs are easily broken down in your bodies into sugar. Some examples of sugar include glucose and fructose.
Sugar And Our Immune System
For your immune system to properly fight off an infection, your immune cells need lots of vitamin C. The problem with sugar is that it looks similar to vitamin C and so your immune cells sometime mistakenly take up the sugar rather than vitamin C, especially if there is an influx of sugar into your blood stream. By doing so, your immune system is not as effective at fighting off an infection as compared to if your immune cells were to take up vitamin C.
A good alternative is to eat foods with complex or non-refined carbs. Not only do complex carbs have much more nutritional value than simple carbs, they are also broken down much more slowly in our body. This slower breakdown results in little change to our blood sugar levels, unlike the rapid rise we see when we take in simple carbs. This helps to avoid hampering our immune system during an infection. Complex carbs are found in foods such as whole wheat breads, brown rice, many fruits and vegetables.
So if you are sick or feel like you are coming down with something like a cold or a flu, it is important to re-examine your intake of carbs and sugar in order to give your immune system the best chance to fight off whatever it is that is ailing you.