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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

          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 July 10, 2020

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

          We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

          We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

          So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

          Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

          What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

          Boundaries are limits

          —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

          Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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          Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

          Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

          Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

          How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

          Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

          1. Self-Awareness Comes First

          Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

          You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

          To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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          You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

          • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
          • When do you feel disrespected?
          • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
          • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
          • When do you want to be alone?
          • How much space do you need?

          You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

          2. Clear Communication Is Essential

          Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

          Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

          3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

          Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

          That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

          Sample language:

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          • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
          • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
          • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
          • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
          • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
          • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
          • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

          Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

          4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

          Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

          Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

          Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

          We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

          It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

          It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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          Final Thoughts

          Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

          Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

          Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

          The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

          Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

          Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

          They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

          Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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