Healthy Happy Holidays
Holidays are a wonderful time to wind down, relax and do things that you wouldn’t normally do. However, there are things that can reduce the enjoyment of your time away. Here’s a look at how to reduce the likelihood of succumbing to the potential pitfalls of travelling and being in a different environment.
Many people experience digestive problems and changes in bowel habits while away from home These can be caused by eating different foods, dehydration, jet lag and changes to the daily routine. To reduce this it’s important to ensure you drink sufficient clean water. In some countries it is best to avoid raw fruit and vegetables, unless they are peeled. Taking digestive enzymes with meals can help with the digestion of unfamiliar foods.
Traveller’s diarrhoea is not uncommon when in different climates eating different foods. Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that are needed for healthy gut function. It’s often a good idea to take probiotics on holiday to protect against gastrointestinal upsets. Saccharomyces boulardii is a beneficial yeast that can help to support a healthy balance of gut microorganisms. Products containing this, such as Viridian’s Travel Biotic, are particularly useful when away from home as it does not need to be kept refridgerated. It can be used to treat acute problems or as a preventative. It can also be beneficial to take it after a course of antibiotics to help restore the balance of gut microorganisms.
Air Born Bugs
The recirculated, dry air on planes along with cabin pressure can increase the chances of picking up an air born infection. The best way to avoid this is to optimise your immune system before you go on holiday. Eat lots of brightly coloured fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds and olive oil for their antioxidant content. Antioxidants are a key part of the immune system’s defenses. Immune supportive supplements can also be helpful. Look for those containing zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E and bioflavanoids.
It is not uncommon for people to become dehydrated on holiday or on long haul flights. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of clean water and herbal teas. Coconut water and vegetable juices are particularly useful as they can replenish minerals and electrolytes that may be lost through sweat or loose bowels.
Whilst it’s important to take care not to burn whilst away in potentially sunnier climes than your skin is used to, holidays can be a good opportunity to up your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D can be made in the body by the action of sunlight on bare skin. Aim to spend a bit of time in the sun without sunscreen. The more bare skin that is exposed the more vitamin D can be produced in the body. Get to know your skin and aim to cover up or apply sunscreen before your skin starts to go pink. The browner your skin the longer you will be able to stay in the sun before burning and the longer you will need to be in the sun to make vitamin D.
Your skin is highly absorbent so choose a sunscreen that is made from non toxic ingredients. To soothe the skin after exposure apply aloe vera or a good quality, non toxic after sun lotion. To reduce dryness following sun exposure coconut oil or cacao butter can be massaged into the skin.
Getting bitten is often one of the hazards of being on holiday. Many people do not want to use deet based insect repellents due to its toxicity. However, there are alternative insect repellents available at Food for Thought that are kinder to your skin and the environment. Lavender oil can be applied to bites to relieve itching.
If you are going to a malaria zone then protection is of paramount importance. Be sure to sleep under an impregnated mosquito net and to cover up as much as possible when out in mosquito territory. Always seek medical advice before you travel about the best way to protect yourself.
Whilst holidays are meant to be a time to rest and rejuvenate travelling can have it’s stresses. Here are some ways to stay calm:
- Chamomile and lemon balm tea are soothing and relaxing.
- Put a few drops of lavender oil on a tissue and inhale it regularly if you feel stressed.
- Keep blood sugar levels stable by taking healthy snacks with you. Trail mixes containing a mixture of fruit, nuts, seeds, cacao nibs and coconut are convenient and transportable, as are healthy snack bars.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol. Caffeine can make you jittery and alcohol can be dehydrating.
- Breathe – if things get stressful breathe deeply into the diaphragm and exhale fully a few times. This is one of the quickest ways of telling your body that everything is OK.
Being prepared is vital for a successful holiday. Take a trip to Food for Thought and stock up on healthy snacks and drinks, probiotics, digestive enzymes, lavender oil and non toxic sunscreen, after sun and insect repellants.