The relationships between food, mood and CALM are one big reason I make sure I’m bringing home whole foods in my grocery bags (if you missed this post, click here). Another huge reason to buy healthy groceries is to build immunity.
Have you ever been in the middle of work, frantically prepping for an afternoon meeting, or working on a project deadline and had your phone ring with the dreaded call?: “Hi, your child is sick – can you come pick her up?” Few things derail a busy day or week than illness in the family. If you’re lucky enough, just one child will get sick. Unlucky enough, the illness will spread through the family like the black plague.
Not all sickness can be avoided, in fact, to some degree, it builds immunity. But if there is something I can do to help prevent it from happening frequently, it will take a ton of stress off my family (and save tons of dollars on disinfectant wipes!).
One of the worst offenders for tearing down immunity is SUGAR. Research has shown that consumption of sugar depresses white blood cell activity, the fighters against foreign organisms and infectious disease. This the equivalent of having your house on fire and having all the firefighters show up drunk.
According to Kenneth Bock, M.D., an expert in nutritional and environmental health,
Just 24 teaspoons of sugar, or half the sugar the average American consumes everyday, decreases immune system efficiency by 92%.
The average American eats 150 lbs. of sugar per year, or approximately 48 teaspoons per day. How do we accomplish this?
- One 12 oz. soft drink contains 9 or more teaspoons of sugar.
- One Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup contains 4.8 teaspoons of sugar.
- One ounce of Fruit Loops contains 3.3 teaspoons of sugar.
- One 4.6 ounce serving of pecan pie contains 12 teaspoons of sugar.
Sugar is in everything. When you read labels, you will find it in many savory items like ketchup, pasta sauce, Worcestershire sauce, crackers and chips. One of the best ways to cut down on sugar is to cut out sweetened beverages. And don’t replace them with artificially sweetened beverages – artificial sweeteners come with their own set of problems. More on this later.
Building immunity through controllable factors like diet, stress reduction and exercise is so important to well-being, because there are so many uncontrollable factors that already have our immune systems working overtime. Our bodies weren’t designed to constantly cope with the toxins that fill our environment. Synthetic chemicals are in everything from our cars to our carpets, we have smog in our air, radio frequency energy from our wireless technology, and superbugs that antibiotics can’t fight that we didn’t have even a decade ago. Chemicals and pesticides are in our groundwater. We may never know the full effects of some of these factors in our environment until several years from now.
Now more than ever, we need to keep our immune systems strong by fueling them with health-giving foods, and avoiding the foods that tear them down.
Next up …. Grocery shopping tips for healthy foods.