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Sugar – Vitamin C = Cold

vitamin c, immunity and chiropractic

We see it quite frequently at the practice – the cutest Halloween costumes followed by the sneakiest colds!  Have you ever stopped to notice that the time of year when we are eating the most “because-it’s-the-holidays” sweets and indulgences also coincides with when we – as a nation – seem to all catch a cold or develop the flu?

It’s more than just a coincidence – it’s science.  The one supplement most of us reach for when we catch a cold is Vitamin C, and for good reason.  Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports healthy white blood cell function (1), which is essential to immune system function.  However, it may surprise you to learn that when we ingest sugar it inhibits the white blood cells from adequately attacking and “swallowing up” the bacteria and viruses, a process called phagocytosis.  Dr. Jim Howenstine goes on to state:

Humans are not able to turn sugar into vitamin C as other animals can. According to Jim Howenstine, M.D., glucose and ascorbic acid compete with one another. So a diet high in sugar means lower levels of vitamin C. Overall, the immune system is weakened by this scenario. Keeping sugar consumption to a minimum might be a way to avoid colds. (2)

Naturally Ways to Prevent the Cold and Flu

Proper self-care means fueling your body correctly before the scratchy eyes and body aches start.  Here are 3 tips to help prevent the cold and flu this season:

Drink Plenty of Water

Aside from promoting weight loss, increasing energy and helping to fight headaches, drinking enough water has been proven to help the body’s immune system function.  For most people, simply divide your bodyweight in half and you have your target water intake in fluid ounces.

Limit Sugar Intake

Eat sugar in moderation this holiday season.  Consider baking your own holiday sweets to bring to the next gathering, substituting sugar for natural sweeteners such as fruit, agave and maple syrup.

Eat Vitamin and Nutrient Rich Foods

Fueling your proverbial “health tank” with vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants gives you the best fighting chance to beat cold and flu season.  Allowing yourself the occasional treat while focusing on making proper nutrition a lifestyle will provide a healthy balance for you and your family this holiday season.

At Total Balance Chiropractic, we care about your overall health.  If you have questions about how your immune system may benefit from chiropractic adjustments and our digestive health services, call our friendly staff at (773) 348-6908.  We look forward to serving you.

  1. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/immunity
  2. http://www.livestrong.com/article/507850-can-eating-sugar-worsen-a-cold/

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