If you’re going on holidays then don’t let problems such as a bloated tummy or an upset digestive system spoil your fun. Integrative medical doctor Dr Cris Beer shares her tips on how to have a happy, relaxing and healthy trip.
- Drink bottled water
Keeping hydrated while flying, and on the go, is important. Don’t be tempted to refresh from the nearest water bubbler or tap. One of the most common causes of traveller’s tummy troubles is from water contaminated with infected faeces. Stay safe by drinking sealed, bottled water (and brush your teeth with it too), or water which has been boiled for at least five minutes, then cooled.
- Wash your veg
Even if you’re going to steam or boil your veg, wash them first with boiled or bottled water, so that you’re not contaminating your healthy meal. If you’re in a restaurant, ask if they wash their fruit and veg with bottled water. If they’re unable to tell you, avoid ordering it so that your tummy doesn’t pay the price for it later.
- Keep your hands clean
Good hygiene can help prevent the spread of bacteria, and reduce your risk of traveller’s diarrhoea. Use soap and water after going to the toilet, and before eating or preparing food.
- Limber up
Many airports now offer rooms where you can stretch, roll out your travel yoga mat, or meditate. Keeping moving while travelling (and at all times!), is important, not just to help prevent deep vein thrombosis (DVT), but also for gut health, says research. Download a yoga or gentle stretching workout on your phone or tablet, and find a quiet place for those downward dogs.
- Take care of your gut
Around 30 to 50 per cent of travellers experience some form of stomach upset, such as diarrhoea, cramps, nausea, or constipation. Travelling, whether it’s the change in temperature, food, water or just to your daily routine, can upset the 500 species of bacteria in your gut. Taking a probiotic at least 30 days before leaving for your trip, and while you’re away, can help reduce your chances of getting an upset tummy. On average, people who took a probiotic, specifically one which contains Lactobacillus rhamnosus, reduced their risk of traveller’s tummy by 15 per cent.
Speak to your healthcare practitioner if symptoms persist. Always read the label. Use only as directed. Supplements may only be of assistance if dietary intake is inadequate.
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