Travelling brings a tremendous amount of excitement and anticipation. It’s also a chance to break away from the daily routine. As glamorous as travelling is, it also has some less desirable aspects. One, which is very common and plagues many travellers, is digestive problems. This can range from uncomfortable constipation to traveller’s diarrhoea depending on where you’re going. It can also depend on how long your trip is and what kinds of food you eat while away. Whether you’re just about to embark on a journey or you are trying desperately to cure digestive woes and tummy troubles while travelling, here are some tips to ease your discomfort.
Adjust Your Diet Before Traveling
Just as it helps to prepare for altitude and the weather before you leave on a trip, it also helps to adjust your diet. This way, you’ll avoid a complete shock to the system when you arrive in a foreign place and try the local food. Especially as some dishes may include ingredients you have never eaten before. As authors at Everyday Health caution, making drastic changes to your diet can cause a host of digestive problems ranging from heartburn and wind to traveller’s diarrhoea. One way to ease into a new place is to pack a bag (or several) with nutritious snacks from home. These could include seeds, dried fruit, and also nuts. Maybe include a favourite treat or two too. This will, therefore, ensure you don’t go hungry.
This is a perfect way to make sure you ease into a new diet slowly while still keeping up with your caloric, nutrient, and protein intake. If you know that a particular food or food group is dominant in the area you’re travelling to, try eating those foods before you leave. For instance, you can make paella at home before going to Spain, or try eating mango and other tropical fruits before visiting South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. If the changes to cause problems at least you get it out of your system, literally before for jumping on a plane. There reducing the risk of tummy troubles when travelling.
Identify Food Allergies And Intolerances Beforehand
No matter where you are, it’s never fun to encounter food allergies or food intolerances because no-one enjoys being ill. But when you factor in having an allergic reaction or an unfavourable GI response to a food group when you’re miles away (and perhaps with questionable medical facilities), the issue becomes much worse. Because of this, if you think you might have a gluten intolerance or you’ve noticed discomfort when you eat peanuts, it would be wise to visit your doctor before you leave. This will help to eliminate (or identify) any problems. Your doctor can certainly give you emergency medication if necessary and help you prepare meal plans that avoid products that give you problems.
Find Quality Foods
When you go to a new place, you can’t always be assured that the same quality and hygiene standards will exist when it comes to eating food. Additionally, some areas contain germs and bacteria that are unfamiliar to your body and can cause significant problems if you come into contact with them. While you can’t always avoid viruses, pathogens, and bacteria, you can still take precautions to prevent or reduce exposure to them when you’re travelling.
First of all, it’s important to keep in mind that water is a common source of causing tummy troubles when travelling. Therefore, you should take precautions to ensure the purity of water. If you go somewhere the water is almost always clean and is shown to cause little problems, you should be fine. However for some areas, it’s recommended to only drink bottled water, and you should even use bottled water to brush your teeth. Avoid putting ice cubes in your drinks, since freezing water doesn’t purify it as boiling does. Secondly, it’s best to avoid eating raw foods. Secondly, it’s wise to be cautious of street vendors. Again, there can be many foreign contaminants present in those foods that are unfamiliar to your body.
This means that your body won’t have the same defences to fight them off. When you’re sitting down to a meal, it’s recommended to be cautious of eating leafy green salads and to ensure the cleanliness of the place you bought it from. Raw fruits and vegetables that you wash or peel yourself have a better chance of not causing any problems. Furthermore, if you eat dairy products, make sure you are not eating any that are unpasteurised. Otherwise, you could end up with major GI issues.
Practice Good Hygiene
When you’re travelling, you should always wash your hands with soap and water before eating (this is a good practice to keep in mind for home, too!). Even if the water appears to be questionable, washing your hands with soap and water will get rid of harmful germs. If a sink with soap and running water is not available, have some extra hand wipes or antibacterial gel handy to use instead. After washing your hands, avoid touching your mouth and face.
Finally, it’s a good idea to know if the place where you’re eating serves decent food. As WebMD points out, contamination of food products can occur anywhere between the time that the food is sourced from the ground or pasture to the time that it’s served. No matter where you are, make sure that any meat and vegetables you eat are thoroughly cooked through and served steaming hot.
Since prevention is quite often the best cure, MicrobeFormulas.com advises that you take supplements before and during a trip. There are a number of good supplements like mimosa pudica available that can ease digestive issues, or prevent them altogether, without necessitating powerful medication. Mimosa pudica, also called the “sleepy plant” or “touch-me-not,” is a popular supplement that is used for digestive and immune system support. Mimosa pudica is available in capsules, which are easy to stow in a bag or suitcase.
The supplement is made of a plant-soluble material, and it’s very effective at cleansing the digestive system to promote optimal GI health. Another supplement, that is recommended by USA Today, is probiotics. You may already know that you can get probiotics through fortified foods like yoghurt. But did you know you can also get your probiotics through capsules too? Probiotics help balance your digestive system’s healthy bacteria levels. This makes it easier to ward off toxic bacteria. Taking one probiotic capsule daily when travelling can have tremendous preventative effects.
Therefore, regardless of where you’re going, travelling usually has some effect on people’s digestive systems. However, by taking some simple precautions while travelling, preparing yourself for the local diet, using good hygiene practices and identifying any food allergies and intolerances before you leave can be tremendously helpful. It will then in help in making sure that your holiday is fun and enjoyable rather than miserable. Also, keeping a healthy snack pack on hand, bringing along supplements, and packing some antibacterial hand wipes are simple but effective measures in making sure you stay safe throughout your journey.
If you need help deciding on somewhere to go and are looking for some great information on travel destinations across the whole world, make sure to spend some time checking out our blog!
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