Let the sugar frenzy begin! With Halloween just around the corner, we all know the influx of candy that is going to be consumed. Besides affecting people’s moods and energy levels, sugar depresses the immune system. Make note of how many people get sick after next week! Here are a few ingredients you want to avoid in Halloween treats, some healthy alternatives, and some tips on how to keep your immune system strong.
I am all for good things in moderation. Thing is those conventional treats are not only packed with sugar, but hydrogenated oils, food colouring, MSG, aspartame and high fructose corn syrup (in Canada can be labeled as glucose-fructose). These food additives come with side effects that can affect mood, disrupt blood sugar regulation, affect the nervous system with headaches, and contribute to obesity.
Go for Dark Chocolate
It contains antioxidants, iron, magnesium and zinc. Zinc is an important trace mineral that supports immune function, making chocolate an immune boosting food. There are so many great brands to choose from.
Look for Alternatives
Smart Sweets: While they still contain some sugar what they do leave out are those artificial food colourings and they have plant based fiber.
New Moon “Spookies”: These cookies are locally made in Toronto with real food. They come individually packaged and are a great addition to any Halloween stash.
Harvest Snap Pea Crisps: Free of hydrogenate oils, and made from snap peas!
Boost Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake
Make sure you (or your child) are having several servings per day. I would aim for 4-5; half cup servings per day. Think of eating the “rainbow” daily. This group of coloured foods are loaded with immune boosting phytonutrients, such as vitamin C and beta carotene. They can be eaten raw, steamed, baked, pureed or put into soup, any way is fine, as long as you eat them!
Maintain Your Microflora
If you don’t already, think about supplementing with a good probiotic. These are the friendly bacteria that reside in our guts, and are key players in keeping an immune system strong. You can add a small amount to your food (usually ¼ tsp of powder) or take 1 capsule daily. Look at BioK, Genestra, or NFH.