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

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

          Freelance Writer, Artist, Photographer

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          Last Updated on December 2, 2018

          How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

          How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

          Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

          The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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          The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

          Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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          Review Your Past Flow

          Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

          Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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          Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

          Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

          Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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          Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

          Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

          We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

          Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

            Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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