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A Nutritionist-Approved Guide to Avoid Health Issues while Traveling

Picture this: You've secured all the arrangements for your dream vacation, but your health takes an unexpected turn for the worse. This unfortunate twist threatens to transform your much-anticipated getaway into a nightmarish ordeal. You've already utilized your hard-earned time off from work and invested your finances into this once-in-a-lifetime journey, and now you’re in a completely new place with no idea where to go or what to do. We understand your insatiable wanderlust, but it's crucial to not disregard your health when exploring new horizons across the globe. So, in order to prevent any health difficulties and fully enjoy your excursions, here are a few quick tips on how to stay healthy when traveling.

5 Tips to Avoid Health Issues While Travelling

Travel Infographic

1. Sleep & Rest

The idea of wasting even a minute to rest or sleep is a foreign concept to someone who enjoys traveling. But this habit alone can ruin your health and your travel plans. Sleep is particularly crucial when traveling because our bodies are more worn out than usual. Your body needs time to recoup and digest all the bad food you've been eating all day, which deep, peaceful sleep provides.

Lack of sleep affects your immune system, and this holds true for both long-term and short-term sleep deprivation. A healthy immune system with robust innate and adaptive immunity is developed by getting enough hours of restful sleep. The immune system activates some parts when we sleep. For instance, it boosts cytokine production, which is connected to inflammation. This inflammatory reaction aids in the healing process if you are ill, injured, or infected by a virus.

Here are a few tips to get better sleep while traveling:

  • Carry your sleep accessories, like eye masks, neck pillows, sleeping bags, etc.
  • Adjust your sleep cycle before you begin your journey. Sleep a few hours before or later as per the new time zone to make your body familiar with the new timings.
  • Carry melatonin supplements with you.
  • Get in sync with the new location. Stay awake when the city does. You can even do some physical activity to signal your circadian rhythm that it’s not time to sleep.
  • Ensure that your sleeping position isn’t contributing to a lot of tension in the muscles. Sleep in a reclining position if a proper sleeping position is not feasible.

2. Keep Yourself Hydrated

It is very normal for people to forget to hydrate themselves while traveling. One might do it deliberately to avoid frequent breaks or unintentionally due to overexcitement. Nevertheless, it is crucial that you have enough water to avoid getting sick during or after your trip. Water is required to control the internal temperature in your body, maintain joint lubrication, avoid infections, provide nourishment to cells, and ensure the proper functioning of the organs.

3. Be Mindful of What You Eat

Most of us travel light, so carrying lightweight snacks is the most preferred option for travelers. However, such food items are high in trans fat, sugar, and salt, which might contribute considerably to weight gain. Opt for protein-based, high-fiber, low-calorie snacks that can keep you full for longer. Fill your bag with healthy snacks like dry fruits, whole fruits, and roasted or baked multigrain puffs. Avoid skipping meals, as it will do you more harm than good. Another piece of advice would be to maintain short intervals between meals to prevent binge eating.

4. Get Your Nutrients with Travel Supplements

When you are traveling, it’s not always possible to find nutritious and balanced meals. In such cases, natural travel supplements can help. These supplements fill any nutritional gaps and also ensure that your body is functioning properly.

Some essential nutrients you should have when traveling:

1. Electrolytes - For that energy boost

It is natural to get exhausted while traveling, especially if you are performing high-intensity activities like climbing terrains. Low energy can soon turn into irritability and a foul mood. Get your hands on a natural instant energy booster with caffeine and electrolytes, along with vitamin D3 supplements and vitamin C & zinc, to skip any dull moments on your trip!

2. Pro & Prebiotics: To support your gut

Traveling can be an exciting experience, but it also involves adjusting to new time zones, different foods, different water, and, most likely, new weather. This can put a strain on our digestive systems. Traveler's diarrhea (TD), constipation, bloating, and, in a few worse conditions, food poisoning are common issues that many people face while on vacation.

If you don’t want diarrhea or constipation to spoil your well-planned vacation, ensure to pack gut health supplements. When selecting these supplements, you can look for probiotics & prebiotics, ACV, and supplements containing digestive enzymes.

A little disbalance in the gut microbiota due to unhealthy eating practices is enough to make your stomach upset. Probiotics and prebiotics ensure equilibrium in your gut flora and nourish the good bacteria to support their survival. It is best to choose probiotics that have a variety of species, such as a combination of Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium, as they help balance the gut microbiome.

ACV or Apple Cider Vinegar is known for its ability to detoxify toxins from your body and boost metabolism. So while it ensures proper digestion, it also helps with weight management.

Digestive enzymes ensure proper digestion, improve immunity and prevent digestive disorders. If you can find a supplement that has the benefits of all three of them, there’s nothing better than that.

3. Vitamin C: For immune support

Bacteria from an unknown place can send your immune system into a frenzy, causing a fever, cold, cough, or flu. To combat these inconveniences, you should always take a cold and flu relief supplement. Instead of antibiotics, you can have kadhas enriched with herbs like echinacea, amla, tulsi, mulethi, turmeric, and more. While you can’t travel with all these herbs, you can, however, opt for natural supplements that contain these vital ingredients and more to provide instant relief from colds and flu.

4. Multivitamins: For overall wellbeing

It can get difficult to get all your daily essential nutrients via food when you are on the road. Don’t let your body suffer while you enjoy your vacation. Provide your body with the required vitamins with multivitamins. Look for supplements that derive nutrients from vegetables and superfoods or use delayed-release technology to deliver the nutrients over a span of 8 hours.

5. Melatonin: To beat jet lag

If you have been traveling across different time zones, experiencing jet lag is inevitable. However, there are ways to address this issue without resorting to excessive medication. One effective method is to consider taking melatonin supplements. Melatonin is a hormone naturally present in your body, commonly referred to as the "sleep hormone." It regulates your sleep-wake cycle, and an increased level of melatonin signals your brain that it's time to sleep. By taking melatonin supplements, you can stimulate your brain to initiate sleep, thus helping you cope with jet lag.

Studies have shown promising results from using melatonin supplements to alleviate jet lag. In 8 out of 10 trials, it was observed that they effectively reduced the effects of jet lag caused by flights crossing five or more time zones, especially when taken before the intended bedtime. Remember to prioritize your sleep and listen to your body's cues for rest whenever you feel tired.

Supplements now come in travel-friendly options like instantly dissolving strips and effervescent tabs, so you have no excuse not to take your daily supplements.

5. Be More Hygenic Than Ever

When you are out of your house, you are subjected to more germs and bacteria. Additionally, the water you have at a different location might also impact your health. So make sure you maintain proper hygiene wherever you go.

Wrapping Up!

Going on the road, touring places, and trying different cuisines is all fun and games until your body starts throwing tantrums. If you are an avid traveler, you must have come across trips that didn’t go well due to poor health. Enjoy your tour to the fullest by supporting your body with good habits and essential travel supplements.

Reference Links:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8958662/

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/physical-health/how-sleep-affects-immunity

https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2024/preparing/travelers-diarrhea#:~:text=Travelers'%20diarrhea%20(TD)%20is,destination%20and%20season%20of%20travel.

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