By Caroline Farquhar RHN, BA, EMP
I travel a lot for both work and pleasure, and I know that getting sick can ruin your trip. Whether you’re staying close to home or planning to travel abroad, make sure you are prepared. Healthy travel requires planning, preparation, and common sense.
- Don’t use your trip as an excuse to ditch healthy habits. Find some time to stick to your exercise routine; whether that’s booking a hotel with a gym or taking a walk on the beach. It all counts. You’ll be surprised how fast you get behind on your exercise routine while on vacation.
- Eat healthy! Choose foods that will nourish you: fruits and veggies, lean protein, beans and legumes. Avoid fast, fried and processed foods (and not just while vacationing). Support your body with wholesome foods to give it what it needs to function optimally. Pack nuts, seeds, fruit, veggies and trail mix as healthy snacking options. To help prevent gas and bloating, have a digestive enzyme on hand. Renew Life has a wide range of digestive enzyme formulas that you can find at your local health food store. Ask an employee which one is best one for you.
- Drink plenty of water. Being on planes is very dehydrating so make sure you are asking for water when the flight attendants are offering. While on day trips, hiking or walks on the beach, bring water with you. It’s easy to get dehydrated in a tropical climate so be aware and use sealed bottled water as much as possible to avoid the possibility of contamination.
Since dehydration and change in routine can throw off the bowels, pack some CleanseMORE in case you get constipated. It hydrates the colon and stimulates peristalsis, the natural muscular movement of the colon which moves waste along.
- Stick to your supplement regimen. You can cut down on the supplement bottles you take with you by getting some stacking containers at your local dollar store. Fill each stacker with your daily supplements, and you cut down on space in your suitcase, and you are more likely to remember to take them.
- Protect yourself from parasites – If you are going to a country where you are concerned about food safety and hygiene, it is especially important to ensure that you have good strong hydrochloric acid in your stomach when you eat. This will kill off any parasites you may accidentally ingest with your food. DigestMORE HCl is a digestive enzyme with betaine hydrochloride to help you digest your food and keep your stomach acid strong. Take one with every meal.
Remember to cook your food well and to cover it while barbecuing or picnicking. Insects such as flies and wasps can carry food poisoning bacteria on their legs and bodies.
Avoid swallowing or drinking the water while swimming in rivers, lakes, ponds, or public swimming pools. Wear a waterproof bandage if you have cuts or open sores or avoid swimming altogether. To dodge parasites in the dirt and sand, wear shoes.
- Build immunity before you go away – When it comes to immunity, the best defense is a good offence. Supplementing with probiotics is the easiest way to build up your good bacteria. Probiotics help to:
- Support immunity
- Keep your intestinal barrier strong
- Reduce inflammation
- Support nutrient digestion
- Manufacture vitamins
- Protect against pathogens
- Enhance detoxification
With a list like this, you can see why it’s one of the most significant supplements you can take. Ultimate Flora multi-strain shelf stable probiotics are convenient to travel with because they don’t have to be refrigerated and you only need to take one a day.
If diarrhea is a concern, then BoulardiiMAX is a must. Studies have shown the efficacy of Saccharomyces boulardii, the ingredient in BoulardiiMAX, in the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as acute diarrhea, recurrent clostridium difficile infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.), travelers’ diarrhea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. You can start taking it 3-4 days before you start to travel and as needed while you are on your trip.
- Be prepared – Carry an anti-viral tincture on hand in case you do start to catch a cold or get the flu while you are away. The sooner you take it at the onset of symptoms, the better. Your local health food store will have plenty of selections to choose from. Look for ingredients like Echinacea, Astragalus, Oregano, Olive Leaf, Licorice, Shiitake Mushrooms, Cat’s Claw, Garlic, Ginger, St. John’s Wort, and Lemon Balm. These herbs contain antiviral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
- Practice safe sun – If you are travelling to a sunny destination, don’t forget the sunscreen. The sun’s rays will be stronger in warmer destinations south of the border. There can be a lot of harmful chemicals in sunscreen products so check out Environmental Working Group’s “Guide to Sunscreens” to help choose the best one for you and your family.
- Get immunized – Read up on the health risks in the country you are travelling to at least 3 months before you depart. Some countries may not let you enter unless you have proof of vaccination or a doctor’s note. The government of Canada provides a list of precautions and healthy travel advice. Talk to your naturopath or homeopath if you want to do natural remedies in place of vaccines.
- Don’t stress! – If your flights are late, you forgot to pack something or things don’t go according to plan, don’t stress about it. Stress lowers your immune system which can leave you susceptible to illness. Give stress a vacation and you’ll be surprised that it may not be there when you get home.
Your best laid plans can go awry when dealing with exotic diets, foreign water and a whole host of other things so build up your immune system, stick to your healthy routines, be prepared and above all, relax and have a great trip!