By Nindy Grewal, Nutritionist
It’s that time of year again….Halloween will be here with all the ghouls and ghosts roaming our streets. I, for one, have always loved Halloween – dressing up and being any character my heart desires each year. Now my children have followed in my footsteps and they look forward to dressing up and trick or treating with their friends. Not only do they take great pleasure in being ghouls, ghosts, witches or superheroes, they also love that loot of candy they bring home each year. Unfortunately, I don’t love all the sugar that comes along with this holiday!
Sugary processed candies and chocolates are full of chemicals, dyes, preservatives, flavours and high fructose corn syrup. All of the things that overload our liver and can create a toxic storm in our bodies. High fructose corn syrup is found in many processed foods, especially candy and soft drinks. It is the number one reason for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and increases risk of diabetes and obesity within children. Unfortunately, a sugar overload can lower your immune defenses, can cause your cells to become insulin resistant, and because it does not satiate you, it keeps you craving for more. Sugar also feeds bad bacteria and parasites in the body which means you are at a greater risk of disease or illness.
Many foods are sweetened with sugar or artificial sugars (which have their own set of dangers to our health), so to maintain good health and longevity, it is important to avoid sugary, processed foods. Food dyes found in most candies and beverages are all linked to tumors, hyperactivity and other behavioural issues. Now I am not being unrealistic here – your kids (and perhaps even you) will want to dive into that bag of treats to enjoy a few nuggets that were collected after walking hours around the neighbourhood. That is fine, as long as it is a modest amount and you are sure to ramp up your defenses by incorporating these few tips today and for the rest of the holiday season (yes because Christmas chocolates and baked goodies are not far away!):
- Eat antioxidant rich foods like berries (blackberries, wild blueberries, cranberries and goji berries). This will help your liver detoxify all the chemicals.
- Increase your intake of Vitamin D, especially now as our days are shorter and sun exposure is much less.
- Be sure to supplement with Vitamin C or eat foods rich in C vitamins (Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Strawberries).
- Eat fermented foods (kimchi, yogurt, sauerkraut) or ensure you have a daily probiotic supplement to help increase the good bacteria in your gut to defend your body from bad bacteria, fungus and parasites from growing and overwhelming the immune system.
So enjoy the treats, but don’t forget about adding these healthy treats too!!
I know with my children, the excitement of the Halloween candy lasts for a day or so and then when it “mysteriously disappears”, they forget about it!
Nindy Grewal – (Certified Nutritional Practitioner, LBA, B.Ed)