Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Swap Your Sweets for Healthier Treats – And Boost Your Immune System

You wake up feeling a little achy, not as well-rested as you should, maybe with a scratchy throat or a heavy head.  And it hits you: you’re coming down with something.  And you most definitely do not have time for that. 

As we move into cold and flu season, are you doing everything you can to make it through unscathed?
Getting lots of rest, drinking plenty of fluids, waiting in line for a flu shot, cutting way back on your sugar intake?  If that last one’s not on your to-do list, it certainly should be.

How Do You Hide 100 Pounds of Sugar?

Americans are – often unknowingly – consuming a jaw-dropping amount of sugar every day.  In 1850, we took in about 20 pounds of sugar a year.  A hundred years ago, we had reached nearly 50 pounds of sugar a year – and today, Americans ingest over 100 pounds of sugar annually.  

How is this possible, when more and more people are declining that spoonful of sugar in their coffee, and switching to diet sodas?  The problem is that modern prepared and processed foods include loads of hidden, added sugars.  From ketchup to microwave meals to bread, cereal, and peanut butter…sugar is inescapable.  And most of the time, Americans aren’t even aware how much sugar they are taking in with every meal and snack.

Sugar Can Devastate Your Immune System

We all know the effects of sugar on our weight – but what about on our immune system?  It turns out that sugar may be our immune system’s number one nemesis.  When the body tries to process simple sugars, like fructose, there is a competition for what substances can enter our cells. 

Since the body recognizes sugars as a source of energy, it will always allow sugars in first – ahead of beneficial substances, like vitamin C.  Too much sugar leaves cells devoid of vitamins and minerals used to strengthen our immune system – and leaves us vulnerable to a host of illnesses, from cold and flu all the way up to cardiovascular disease.

Small Changes, Instant Impact

Avoiding this drop in immunity as we head into cold and flu season is, naturally, everyone’s goal. A series of small changes can have a powerful and immediate impact on an immune system:
•    Choose whole fruits over fruit juices
•    Avoid processed microwave meals
•    Keep healthy sweets on hand - everywhere

Set yourself up for success with a stash of Dr. John’s candies everywhere you are – at work, at home, in your car.  These treats are naturally sweetened, which means they don’t have the bad aftertaste - or unknown effects - of artificial sweeteners.  Instead, they are perfectly sweetened with xylitol, a natural extract of the birch tree that is processed differently than simple sugars.  And you can still indulge in your favorite flavors – from classics like Butterscotch, Cherry, and Grape, to on-trend modern choices like sweet Peach, Pomegranate, and Cherry Blossom.  At www.drjohns.com, you’ll find options that are sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, free of artificial flavors, colors and sweeteners..... but all still full of flavor!



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