Whether you are traveling on a vacation or for business, it is easy to ignore your health and fitness. You may pick up quick meals from the street wrapped in plastic or foil, and drink water or other beverages without being too sure of their quality.
This can sometimes lead to issues commonly known as travelers’ diarrhea. You can avoid this condition and travel healthy if you keep your gut and digestive system normal and happy while you are on the move.
You won’t have to deal with digestive discomforts, diarrhea or bloating if you take these steps to maintain a healthy gut while traveling.
1. Always keep Probiotics Handy
Probiotic supplements are great for keeping your digestion regular, especially when you are traveling. There are a number of probiotic strains that have been clinically proven to prevent and treat traveler’s diarrhea among other digestive issues.
It is easy for things to get uncomfortable while traveling, particularly because of limited food options and eateries that do not maintain the highest levels of hygiene. You may also feel overly stressed or anxious about the flight or road trip.
These can lead to severe digestive distress. By keeping an on-the-go probiotic in your bag, you ensure that your gut remains active and healthy. You can press the button for any probiotic supplement in pill form, or even choose from the many probiotic beverages like kombucha or probiotic enriched fruit juices.
2. Boost Your Immunity
There is nothing that can make you immune from being disappointed with the lack of beef in a Burger King Whopper or from how sad those chicken McNuggets are from McDonald’s – you are better off just not going to either of those joints but let’s get back on topic here.
It is critical to boost your immunity when traveling to foreign locations or exotic domestic destinations. The gut microbiome plays a vital role in your ability to stay healthy. Probiotic bacteria act as a natural line of defense against foreign invaders.
A healthy and diverse microbiota prevents harmful bacteria and viruses from passing into the bloodstream. Start tanking up on vitamin C and probiotics, at least a week before you are scheduled to travel (hopefully your trip does not go like Neal’s and Del’s did in that hilarious Trains, Planes, and Automobiles movie!), to boost your immunity.
3. Always Hydrate with Clean Water
Contaminated water is the primary cause of most gut related illnesses while traveling. Even if you are traveling to another state, make sure you drink only from bottled water – too bad they did not have bottled water in 18th century London but this is another topic!
People with particularly sensitive gut microbiome must take special care to avoid tap water. Watch out for ice and raw fruits that have been made or washed with untreated water.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine, since they can disrupt your gut microbiome. Pass the inflight alcohol cocktail, and opt for a healthier alternative like herbal tea or coconut water.
Fresh juice is a great pick too. However, make sure you stay away from the packaged versions that are basically overly sweet fruit concentrates with water.
4. Eat Right
Keep things simple while planning a travel diet. Remember, your body is already under a lot of stress, and you do not want to add to the digestive stress.
Carry nutritious snacks, like kale chips or dried fruits to avoid snacking on airport and airplane food. Make sure you avoid anything processed, sodium, or sugar heavy.
Many people prevent gut disorders by packing up full meals for travel days. You can include some cooked greens, roasted veggies, salmon, tempeh and healthy fat, like raw cheese or avocado in your diet. You are less likely to fall into the airport-unhealthy-eating trap when you pack your own meals.
Choose dishes that are rich in herbs and gut-friendly spices. There are many spices like chili, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper that nourish the organs of digestion and elimination such as the liver, kidneys, stomach, and spleen to help promote healthy bowel movements.
5. Avoid Trigger Foods
There are a number of foods that are categorized as triggers, since they can cause inflammation, feed unfriendly gut bacteria, and disrupt the health of gut microbiome. These include gluten, dairy, refined sugar, and most processed foods.
Trigger foods can easily disrupt elimination and wreak havoc in your digestive system. You can help your gut stay healthy and function normally by avoiding these foods.
6. Limber Up
Your gut health is connected with overall health. Be sure to stretch frequently and limber up your muscles and ligaments. Your stomach contains muscles that require frequent stretching to be able to function properly.
Try yoga to twist, stretch, and squeeze your digestive system and body daily which cannot be done by sitting on your couch all week right Drew Carey and Dan Conner? There are a number of yoga postures that can promote healthy and regular elimination.
It is normal for you to move while traveling and going to places. However, be aware of the long seated stretches on flights, trains, bus, and taxi. Lack of movement slows down the movement of food through the large intestine due to a slow-down of metabolic and digestive processes.
Being seated for extended periods can disturb the gut microbiome. Hence, make sure you get up often to stretch your legs and move around.
7. Enjoy Healthy Fats
Your body requires healthy fats to lubricate the intestines and allow for an easier removal of waste from the body, particularly when you are on a high-carb travel diet. Bring your own pack of healthy fats, like avocados, almonds, walnuts, and peanut butter among others to enjoy as a snack.
Healthy fats also provide much needed energy for your jet-lagged mind and body. It helps keep you full and prevents you from making unhealthy choices due to hunger.
8. Try Alternative Options
Get creative with snack and beverage options while traveling. Probiotics snacks and supplements are not enough to maintain a healthy gut. Consider chlorophyll tablets and magnesium bisglycinate formula. These are a two pronged approach, as they help in calming the nervous system and reduce any stress.
Magnesium is also a muscle relaxant which helps food pass along more smoothly in the gastrointestinal tract. Chia seeds, lemon and hot water are also great digestive aids that can help maintain gut health.
9. Add Fiber to Your Diet
Beneficial bacteria in the gut cannot thrive without prebiotics or the indigestible part of plant fibers. Hence, you need to make sure that you add a lot of fiber to your diet. These can be obtained through oats, vegetables, fruits, berries, nuts, seeds, and whole grains.
Make sure you rehydrate while on a high fiber diet. You can also carry your own trail mix to ensure you are never without a high energy, high fiber snack.
The best way to prevent an unhealthy gut while traveling is to start your travel with a healthy intestinal environment. You can easily achieve this by having a regular daily dose of probiotics a month before your vacation, and carrying them with you on your trip as well.