Halloween is nearly here! It’s a time of fun costumes, jack-o-lanterns, and trick-or-treating, and we here at your Toronto chiropractor’s office couldn’t be more thrilled.
As fun as the holiday is, there is a dark side as well, and it might not be what you think. We’ve all heard the urban legends about booby-trapped candy and apples, but the real danger is much less sinister. Children of all ages find themselves eating a few more sweets than they rightly ought to… as do parents who get into their trick-or-treat leftovers. Thanks to all of these sugary treats, we tend to see an upswing in sickness—and not just ‘morning-after sugar crashes’.
The Effects of Sugar on the Immune System
Not only do sugars cause headaches, hyperactivity, the irritability and weakness of ‘sugar crashes’, and contribute to weight gain, but they also have a direct impact on your immune system.
After consuming a fair amount of sugar, your body’s capacity to fight off both germs and bacterial infections can drop sharply. According to some studies, eating 100 grams of sugar (which is about 6 fun-sized Halloween candies and a can of soda) can reduce your white blood cells’ effectiveness by up to 40% for 5 hours.
Tricks to Keep Your Family Healthy This Halloween
While outright taking your children’s hard-earned Halloween candy is certainly not advised, there are a handful of tricks that you can use to help to moderate, or reduce, their sugar consumption.
One way to help to mitigate the amount of sugar your kids eat is to use candy as a currency. By allowing them to exchange parts of their stash to ‘buy’ perks such as trips to the movies, new clothes, or even to buy their way out of certain chores, you not only reduce the stash, but commoditize the candy—meaning you give the candy value, which could make them think twice about eating large amounts at once, particularly with older children.
Another method is to act as a ‘gate keeper’, keeping the bulk of your child’s candy in a safe place and dispensing it in a small amount at a time, such as in lunches or as between-meal snacks. You could sweeten the deal (so-to-speak) by volunteering to add your home’s leftovers to their haul. Not only does this allow you to keep them from bingeing, but it will also let them enjoy their Halloween stash for months, or even the whole year.
Just make sure that non-sugary treats such as chips and raisins are distributed early, as they don’t keep for ages like the sugary stuff such as hard candy or chocolate bars.
Healthy (And Tasty) Alternatives
Halloween treats don’t always have to be chocolate bars and candy corn. There are a number of delicious seasonal treats that are just as seasonal as processed candy and much more healthy, such as candy apples, Halloween-themed fruit platters, and decorative baked goods.
While this is more geared towards catering Halloween parties, it could also apply to what you give away at your door. Just make sure that your home-made goodies are properly wrapped so that they last the night being rustled around with other Halloween candy, and that you let the parents know any ‘allergy alerts’ that your home-grown goodies contain such as peanuts or wheat gluten.
While it isn’t quite as ideal compared to moderating candy intake, another way to fight off sugar sickness is to meet it head-on with any number of immune-boosters.
Fruits and vegetables are the most obvious approach. You can mitigate the effect that excessive candy has on your immune system by eating even healthier than usual. Dark green vegetables and fruits rich in vitamins such as carrots, oranges, and grapefruit can give your immune system an extra kick to make up for the sugar crash.
Your immune system is tied to the health of the rest of your body as well. Exercise not only helps to burn off some of that sugary energy before it turns into fat, but it improves your immune system and raises your general energy levels as well.
Finally, you can boost your immune system by keeping up with your regular Toronto chiropractic visits. As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, chiropractic adjustments can help to improve your immune system, helping your family fight off illness while promoting overall health.
If you’d like to book an appointment with a chiropractor in Toronto to help your family power through the sugar crashes, or would simply like to promote their general health, book an appointment today.