Cold and flu season is known to start in late fall and lasts until early April. I, Dr. Erin, refer to Cold/Flu season as Sugar Season because the changes people make in their lifestyle and diet, whether intentional or not, contribute to a less effective immune system during this time period.
Now that Halloween is officially over, we are now in full swing of Sugar Season. It starts with Halloween and then continues through Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year, and Valentine’s, and then ends around Easter. If you take note of the time frame for the cold/ flu season mentioned earlier, it correlates with the holiday timeline. The purpose of this blog post is to make you aware of changes in your lifestyle that you may or may not be aware of so that you can intentionally make changes that facilitate a healthier lifestyle.
Take a minute to think about changes you make in your diet and lifestyle when fall rolls around. Changes I think of include: less time outdoors, less physical activity, less exposure to sunlight, diet- less garden-fresh foods & grilling and more tailgating/holiday parties with less than ideal food options, and stress is another factor especially as the holiday season comes into full swing.
Let’s talk about the effects sugar has on the immune system and in particular the white blood cells (WBCs), which are blood cells that are one of the first lines of defense in your immune system. When someone has high blood sugar:
WBCs move slower (WBCs are essentially drunk for 5-6hrs after eating foods that spike blood sugar)
WBCs are less able to kill viruses/bacteria
Neutrophils & macrophages (specific types of WBCs) are less in the total number
Increased sugar in the blood creates an acidic environment, which weakens the immune system
So, what can you do to help your immune system?
Physical Activity- aim for 30min of activity that increase your heart rate 3-4 times per week.
Get outdoors when the weather is nice over the fall/winter.
Diet: focus on unprocessed foods like beef/chicken/etc, vegetables, and fruit.
Stay adequately hydrated and aim to drink about half your body weight in fluid ounces.
For holiday parties or gatherings, expect unhealthy options to be served. So either eat a small meal ahead of time or bring something to share that you can eat as well.
Change your mindset. Identify stress and figure out a realistic solution to lower your stress levels.
If you happen to get sick, we have IV and IM (intramuscular) nutrition options available to help boost your immune system, rehydrate, and help you recover. We offer a Myer’s IV Cocktail, Quench IV, Tri-Immune Boost injection (Vitamin C, Zinc, Glutathione), Glutathione injections, and Vitamin C injections.