How to Keep Your Gut Healthy While Travelling
- Created: 04 November 2019 04 November 2019
Holidays are commonly viewed as an opportunity to blow out, let loose, forget the diet, care about it later etc., the only problem being, you get home and beat yourself up about doing so. Of course, holidays are all about enjoying yourself, but maintaining some balance and keeping your body healthy may mean that you really enjoy your vacation and regret less later. One area of the body which is most affected by the holiday blowout is the gut, so how do we minimise the harm on our digestive tract?
Cate Lilja, co-founder of Optima Nutricosmetics tells us how to keep our gut happy and healthy.
Keep it Clean
It’s always wise to read up on the sanitation system of the country you’re traveling to. For instance, if it’s a country that relies on bottled water, the tap water may not be safe, which may compromise your gut if swallowed. In your usual environment exposure to a broad variety of bacteria can be very beneficial and helps to build a strong immune system and microbiome. If however, you are suddenly exposed to a range of bacteria that your immune system is not familiar with, such as when you are travelling, this system may be compromised. Start on a program of pre and probiotics a few weeks before your planned trip to strengthen your gut immune system.
Once we’re in a foreign location, we may not have access to our trusty therapies should our health go south. Since our gut is commonly affected by travel, including our immune system, where 70% of it resides in the gut, it’s wise to pack a pre and probiotic with 100% premium marine collagen and essential gut nutrients that are known to soothe the gut lining, feed the good gut bacteria and promote their proliferation. Some pre and probiotic combinations may help to reduce the incidence of bloating, minimise tummy upsets and regulate bowel motions in just a few weeks, which may serve you well whilst travelling. And remember not all probiotics are stable when stored at room temperature and require refrigeration. Look for a shelf stable, spore forming probiotic such as Bacillus coagulans which remains dormant until consumed.
What we eat directly impacts on the diversity of our gut microbiome and the overall health of our digestive system. Unfortunately, research has shown that the western diet promotes a reduced diversity of gut microbes due to increased consumption of high fat and sugary foods. Conversely, diets rich in a variety of plant-based foods can significantly improve our gut health. Getting to know the local food could introduce a variety of new foods to your diet, namely different herbs, spices, vegetables, grains, legumes or fruits and add a refreshing diversity to our gut.
When we hit holiday mode, we naturally check-out. However, keeping an eye on how your body is feeling may help you get the most out of your holiday. If you notice that you haven’t had a bowel movement since you arrived, you should take steps to resolve this.
Short-term constipation can lead to bloating and abdominal discomfort and may also increase the reabsorption of some metabolic waste products such as phenols (left over after protein digestion) that re-enter the blood stream and accumulate in tissues. In fact, research has shown that increased phenols in the blood can increase the number of blackheads and increasing stool frequency reduces both phenols and blackheads. To avoid this drink plenty of water, move your body regularly and maintain a diet containing high fibre foods such as fruits, vegetables, legumes and wholegrains can help get the gut moving again. Your gut is also on your old body clock, so it’s also okay to give it time to adjust to the new schedule.
About the Author:
Cate is a nutritional, herbal, and complementary medicine scientist (B.AppSc. Naturopathic Studies) with 15 years’ experience in product innovation and development within the nutraceutical, cosmeceutical and health food sectors at senior management level. She also specialises in researching scientifically validated alternatives to established synthetic interventions