The Dangers of Sugar: Post-Hallowe’en Tummy Reset
It’s over. Another year of spooky antics and door-to-door candy collecting is behind us.
While the kids all had a blast and made some great memories, the candy they collected, and undoubtedly gobbled up, could be doing a number on their systems.
We all know that sugar makes kids hyper, hence all the jokes from aunts and uncles about sugaring them up and sending them home. It doesn’t just make them energetic and silly though, it takes away from their ability to focus and remember.
A child’s mood isn’t the only thing affected by the sugar overload. Some people describe the sugar in candy as ‘poison’ because it can have such awful effects on your stomach and liver, and can even contribute to things like candida infections.
How sugar can affect a child’s body:
This year, Hallowe’en fell on a Monday, which means your kids still have the rest of the week at school.
LearningLiftOff.com outlines some of the reasons to be concerned about how sugar could affect their learning: “When people consume a lot of sugar and then attempt challenging tasks, like math problems, the brain’s hypothalamus allows the body to release a lot of cortisol. Known as the stress hormone, this substance impedes memory. When children’s bodies are flooded with cortisol at school, they struggle to pay attention to their lessons and find it difficult to sit quietly. When their attention is elsewhere, they find it difficult to retain information they’re taught.”
Ok, so their Hallowe’en loot isn’t going to help them thrive at school. But you can help them out here by making their candy an after-school only snack. Encourage your kids to hold off, enjoy a couple of pieces after dinner and make their stash last.
Saving sweets until after dinner also means that their bellies will already be full of more nutritious food, making them less inclined to want huge quantities of candy. Plus, our bodies metabolize sugar more slowly when there is fiber already in there.
Now, let’s discuss what all that candy could be doing to their tummies. The long-term effects of too much sugar (which some would argue is any at all) are scarier than any Hallowe’en tricks.
BodyEcology.com provides a play-by-play of how sugar works in the body:
- Refined sugars enter your bloodstream.
- Blood sugar levels rise.
- Your pancreas is pressured to release insulin (a hormone that helps sugars get into your cells).
- The insulin helps to use up the sugar rapidly, so blood sugar crashes.
- Your body goes into a sugar low or hypoglycemia.
- More hormones are released to deal with the sugar low and return your body to a balanced state. This actually causes a stress response in your body.
- These hormones squeeze sugar from your liver, sending blood sugar back up.
As you can see, excessive sugar intake destroys your body’s balance, throwing your system out of whack and causing your body to struggle to provide the correct response to the various stresses the sugar is causing.
Most people know that excessive sugar intake is associated with obesity and liver problems, but it’s also tied to candida infection.
Never heard of candida? Candida is a type of yeast that naturally occurs in the human body. When it gets out of hand, it causes symptoms like fatigue, sugar cravings, urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast infections, depression, thrush, inability to focus, brain fog, digestive issues (such as gas, bloating and diarrhea) and weight gain.
The worse a candida infection gets, the more you might have to deal with serious, long-term issues, like allergies, autoimmune conditions, food intolerances or leaky gut syndrome. You leave your immune system compromised and your body vulnerable, so you’re at greater risk for disease in general.
How is sugar intake part of the candida problem? LiverDoctor.com has the answer: “It’s a Catch 22 – eating sugar promotes the growth of intestinal yeast and having too much yeast in your gut makes you crave sugar. Candida is a type of yeast that is naturally present in everyone’s digestive tract; however if your immune system is weak and your digestion is poor, Candida levels can get out of control. Because it is a yeast, it needs sugar in order to grow. Treating Candida overgrowth can be tough because many different foods we eat are digested into sugar eventually, and can potentially feed this yeast.“
Children can be particularly vulnerable to candida infections.
Not to worry, there are ways to protect your child.
The problems sugar can cause are pretty serious and might have you running scared from that sack of candy your child just collected. You have options though.
You can limit the amount of candy your child intakes by talking to them about healthy choices and setting clear rules about the amount of candy they can eat each day.
You can offer to “buy” some of their candy, by offering them toys or opportunities (like extra screen time or a trip to the movies) in exchange for their candy. Some dentists and other local businesses run programs where they “buy” kids’ Hallowe’en candy in exchange for prizes.
Knowing full well though that they are going to eat some (ok, a lot) of that candy anyway, there are additional precautions you can take to protect your child’s tummy.
Time for a tummy reset!
There are foods and supplements that can help to fight candida and balance your child’s system, such as:
Probiotics: Whether you seek out a probiotic supplement (which is easy to find at your local health food store) or you make foods containing probiotics part of their diet (yogurt, kefir and fermented, unpasteurized pickles are all examples of foods that are natural probiotic sources) probiotics can certainly help balance your child’s gut health.
Your gut is full of bacteria, and you want the good to prevail over the evil. Flood your body with good bacteria, and it keeps the bad in check, ensures that your digestive system functions properly, and in turn, it keeps you healthy by supporting a healthy immune system.
Prebiotics: Having established that probiotics are key to good health (and fighting off infections like candida), now we need to talk about prebiotics, since they help to set the stage for a healthy gut. Prebiotic foods include things like under-ripe bananas, garlic, dandelion greens, onions and asparagus. They help to make your gut more habitable for probiotics and good bacteria, and help to decrease inflammation, improve digestion, balance your hormones and improve your immune system (to name a few of their many benefits).
You can read more about the importance of probiotics and prebiotics and how they work in your system by reading our blog on the subject, which you’ll find here.
Perfectly Pressed Coriander Seed Oil: Speaking of ensuring better gut health and making way for good bacteria to triumph over evil…
Coriander oil helps to ensure that your body can absorb omega 3 fatty acids properly, which in turn help the probiotics you are taking in, to be more effective.
Not only that, but coriander seed oil can also be used to help your body fight candida infection, and can help to encourage healing and repair in your intestinal lining.
Ever experienced traveler’s sickness or food poisoning? Coriander oil is effective against both, helping to fight off the bad bacteria and settle your stomach. This is definitely an oil that promotes balance, better digestion and a victory for the good bacteria on the battlefield that is your gut, or your child’s.
Is it safe for children? Absolutely. It can even by added to a smoothie that contains both prebiotic and probiotic foods, making it an excellent option for a post-Halloween tummy reset.
Need a quick recipe? Try putting organic kefir (it comes plain or flavored, the raspberry one is delicious), a handful of raw dandelion greens, a banana and a dropper full of Panaseeda Coriander Seed oil in your blender together. You can add a handful of berries too, for an antioxidant boost!
You could even pour this mixture into a popsicle mold and make it into a healthy treat for your child.
Plan on trying this? Let us know how your child likes it, and feel free to share your own tummy reset ideas in the comments.