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If You Have A Sweet Tooth, Your Immune System Is More Likely To Suffer

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If You Have A Sweet Tooth, Your Immune System Is More Likely To Suffer

We all know sugar is bad for us. Health experts who disagree about other aspects of diet, seem to come together on the topic of sugar: just don’t eat it.

You are probably used to hearing that weight gain and tooth decay are two common and unpleasant side effects of an obsession with sugary treats. Yet, sugar has other lesser-known but equally dramatic effects on the body’s overall health. Researchers have found that excess sugar consumption weakens your body’s immune system, greatly impacting your body’s ability to fight infections like the common cold and flu.[1]

When our white blood cells are not functioning at their optimum, we become more vulnerable to getting sick.

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    5 Ways to Reduce Sugar Intake

    1. Substitute stevia instead of sugar.

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      Avoid artificial sweeteners and stick with stevia, which is made from a simple plant extract. Many candies, chocolates, and other sweets are now sweetened with stevia and available in grocery stores. You can also purchase stevia in liquid or powder form to make your own desserts or to sweeten your coffee and tea.

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      2. Smaller portion size.

      Try planning out portion sizes ahead of time. For instance, tell yourself that if you are craving chocolate, you will only eat one or two squares of a chocolate bar. Sometimes allowing yourself to have a small amount of something sweet is more effective than restricting sugar completely. That way, you can still satisfying your craving for sweets without drastically affecting your body’s overall health.

      3. Stick to drinking water or tea.

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        One of the biggest ways people get themselves into sugar trouble is by drinking sugary products like soda and sports drinks. To avoid the temptation of sugary drinks, make sure you are drinking plenty of water throughout the day. You can also drink tea to add some flavor and variety, just make sure your tea is unsweetened or sweetened with stevia.

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        4. Spread out your intake of sweet foods.

        Consider spreading out your intake of sweets throughout the week. Allow yourself to have that small bowl of ice cream, just make sure to have your sweetened tea, lemonade, or chocolate chip cookie several days down the line. Let yourself enjoy sweet treats one at a time. That way your blood sugar levels will stay more stable and your immune system will have more time to recover.

        5. Always have wholesome, healthy snack foods available.

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          Most of us crave sweets when it’s been a while since our last full meal. Common snack foods are loaded with sugar and when you’re hungry, its hard to limit yourself to just a few bites. Plan ahead and have healthy snacks available for when those snack cravings strike. Stock your fridge and shelves with carrots, hummus, nuts, berries, and other wholesome foods.

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          Remember, as with any new habit, you are bound to make a mistake or two. Don’t beat yourself up. Even moderately limiting your sugar intake will make a positive impact on your health, so focus on reducing your sugar intake one step at a time. Trying out just two or three of the suggestions above will get you on track toward better health and a stronger immune system. With a fully armed immune system, you may just skip your bout of cold or flu this season.

          Featured photo credit: ABC News via abcnews.go.com

          Reference

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          Lindsay Shaffer

          Lindsay is a passionate teacher and writer who shares thoughts and ideas that inspire people to follow their passions.

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          Last Updated on November 22, 2021

          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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          Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

          Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

          During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

          But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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          Simplify

          I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

          Absolutely.

          And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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          If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

          • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
          • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
          • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

          Be Mindful

          You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

          Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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          Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

          Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

          Reflect

          As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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          Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

          But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

          So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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          Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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