Speaking as a parent, this is very easy to discuss, but much more challenging to put into practice. Kids are so excited to go trick or treating and even more exited to display and devour their loot at the end of the night and beyond. If you ask any teacher one of the most common times kids are out sick from school, they will tell you” in the weeks following Halloween”.
Why? Sugar is an immune suppressant and “food for bugs”
Sugar has been shown in research to decrease the amount and efficacy of your white blood cells – the soldiers of our immune system. In addition – all microbes – be them virus, bacteria, fungal etc., use sugar as fuel. That coupled with the fact that we have just officially entered cold and flu season, presents a double whammy on the kid’s immune systems at this time of year.
So, what to do?
Below are 5 considerations to help minimize “Halloween Hangover” and keep your kids immune systems in check
• Set candy limits
– can be hard to enforce but if the kids are younger, this is easier to carry out. Agree on a limit before the big day, not when they have dumped their candy on their bed and are admiring the haul. The more sugar in their system, the more impact on immune status, and the more likely they are to fall sick.
– hydration is huge on Halloween night and over the following days. Water is our body’s currency. It’s how we get good stuff in and bad stuff out. Water will help the kids process the sweets more efficiently and if they are well hydrated, they are even less likely to crave the sweets in the first place.
– protein has the ability to slow the release of sugar into the body and so by making sure they are having good sources of proteins with each meal and as snack options, this will help as well. Barring any allergies, good examples include; eggs, yogurt, clean meats (free range or organic) and nuts and seeds.
• Treat timing
– while this will likely go out the window on Halloween night, it is important to remember this for the following days. Sugar is excitatory to the nervous system as are the artificial colors and dyes in candy. In addition, chocolate naturally contains caffeine. So, best your kids have their candy treats not too late in the day as this may disrupt their sleep. We need proper sleep for strong immune systems, not to mention good moods.
• Boost their immune systems proactively
– you know the kids are going to want to eat their treats. By having immune boosting supplements like vitamin C, vitamin D and probiotics on board prior to Halloween and all thru cold and flu season, this is great preventative medicine to insure your kids remain as healthy as possible.
I wish you all a safe and fun Halloween and should your kids need an immune tune up in coming weeks, I and the MDNC team are happy to help!