Sugar: It’s Slowing down Your Healing Process
The modern diet is heavy on sugar, and it takes its toll on our health in the form of obesity, heart disease, inflammation, diabetes, and many other chronic diseases. Perhaps, one place that we seldom look when discussing the effect of our excessive sugar consumption is its impact on the healing process. Scientists are beginning to discover that sugar can inhibit the healing process in several ways including:
Reduced Collagen Production
Excessive sugar consumption has been linked to reduced levels of collagen, a critical element in the healing process. Collagen is a substance found in the skin, and it’s what gives your skin the firm and plump feel. In the absence of collagen, the skin becomes fragile and prone to infection and injury. This is why you find collagen in wound dressings, to protect the skin surface from infection and hasten the healing process.
Sugar promotes the production of cells known as cytokines. Cytokines stimulate inflammation of the body, and this can be bad for a body trying to recover from wounds. Inflammation is part of the healing process, but the cytokines in sugar promote inflammation, which may result in chronic inflammation that can impair the immune system and cause excessive scar tissue. A weakened immune system opens you up for opportunistic infections, and this may slow down your healing process or even make it worse.
Sugar Weakens the Immune System
Excessive consumption of sugar can affect your immune system negatively. This is because it prevents phagocytosis, the ability of white blood cells to hunt down and destroy foreign bodies. This makes it hard for the body to protect itself against bacteria and viruses and could lead to more medical problems. Also, phagocytes help transport fluid from the injured part of the body through the lymphatic system. This ability is also impeded if phagocytosis can’t take place.
Reduced Blood Flow
When you are hurt, the blood helps to transport nutrients and oxygen to the affected area to quickly repair and rebuild damaged tissue. However, high blood sugar levels cause the arteries to stiffen, reducing the cavities and the amount of blood that can flow through them. This implies that the body can’t get enough nutrients to the wounded body parts, and this slows down the healing process.
How to Reduce Your Sugar Consumption
Reducing intake is easier said than done because sweets surround our lives. Everything you buy has some form of sugar in it, and you have to make conscious efforts towards a healthy and sustainable diet to reduce your consumption.
The first step is to stay on a healthy diet made up of wholesome, unprocessed foods. If possible, cook your food with 100 percent whole foods. Prepackaged foods mostly have added sugar. You should also watch your beverages. The added sugar we get from coffee, soda, fruit juice, and energy drinks are enormous and do a lot of damage to our bodies.
Exercise, particularly low-impact exercises can also help you burn off excess sugar, balance your blood sugar levels, and sharpen your focus.
However, the best way to cut your consumption is to stay on a healthy diet and ensure you don’t eat more than the food your body needs to perform effectively.