5 Ways to Reduce Your Sugar Intake and Keep Your Immune System Strong #wellbeingwednesday By Rachel Schwartzman
Many patients tell me how they crave sugar, especially mid-afternoon as their energy levels decline. This is the time of day when our cortisol levels are starting to decline and our body needs to be re-fueled. The body craves sugar as an immediate source of energy, but sugar has negative effects on the body. Sugar depresses the immune system, and with the change of season approaching I thought I would share with you some ways of reducing your sugar intake and help keep your immune system strong.
Ditch the white sugar and go for the fruit. This is an easy tip that can satisfy your sugar cravings and will also give your body the vitamins, minerals, fiber and water it needs to keep energy your energy levels up in the day. A health tip is to put out a variety of washed and cut up fruit first thing in the morning, making them accessible to snack on throughout the day.
Have protein with each meal. I found this to be really helpful. I used to be protein deficient and wanted sugar all the time. Since making a concerted effort to have protein with each meal my sugar cravings have been dramatically reduced. Include nuts and seeds, yogurt, cheese, eggs, and lean meats to your diet. A good quality protein powder is another option that can be added to oatmeal, cereal and smoothies.
Try adding cinnamon to your diet. This spice is well known for balancing blood sugar levels and it tastes great. You can sprinkle it onto soups, mix into yogurt, dip a banana or apple into it, or add to cereal, oatmeal or smoothies. It is that versatile.
Eat every 2-3 hours. We often go too long between meals causing a dip in our blood sugar levels. Our body responds to this dip by needing immediate sugar sources and craves a quick fix. My suggestion is to have something to eat every 2-3 hours. This allows you to stay ahead of those blood sugar dips, avoiding the inevitable crash. Some healthy snack options are; cheese with multigrain crackers, hummus with veggies sticks, and nut butter with fruit.
Read labels. Sugar is hidden in so many foods, it’s astonishing really. It can be in pasta sauce, salad dressings, crackers, breads, along with the obvious cookies and cakes. You really need to be a detective and read labels.
It really is about moderation, and bringing awareness to your diet. If you struggle with weight, frequent illnesses, mood imbalances or energy dips, sugar just might be the culprit. I hope you find these tips helpful and can inspire you to become a healthier you.
RACHEL SCHWARTZMAN is a naturopathic doctor in the St. Clair West neighbourhood. She is the co-owner of West End Naturopathic Doulas, a naturopathic collective that supports pregnant women and partners with the birth of their babies. Westenddoulas.com