Are you heading somewhere hot over the winter break? Nothing is worse than having your vacation ruined by getting a case of jet lag, infection, motion sickness, upset stomach, body aches, sunburn, dehydration or insect bites! Here are some great precautionary steps to take and items to keep in mind when packing in order to help prevent potential speed bumps on the way.
1) Prepare for the Plane – support immunity, prevent nausea and sleep well
Support Immunity – When it comes to immunity, probiotics play a huge role. Consuming probiotics (before, during and after travel) is the easiest way to build up good bacteria and keep the immune system strong by protecting against pathogens, reducing inflammation and maintaining intestinal barrier function. Probiotic gum now exists as well - great for on the plane! Ingredients like zinc and Vitamin C are also important immune supporting nutrients. In addition, Echinacea, Oregano & Thyme have powerful antimicrobial properties. Consider bringing any of these along in case of pesky colds. These exist in great throat spray formulas for convenient use.
Prevent Nausea - A good way to help combat motion sickness and nausea is to ensure blood sugar levels are stable by having regular meals and snacks throughout your travel time. These should consist of adequate protein as well as fibre from complex carbohydrates. Other things to consider would be to chew on candied ginger, which is widely known to help ease nausea or consider homeopathic remedies for motion sickness.
Sleep Well - Can’t sleep or find yourself needing to re-adjust your sleep/wake cycle? Try melatonin! This is the body’s natural sleep hormone and can temporarily reset the biological clock, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep, improve sleep quality, increase total sleep time and reduce daytime fatigue associated with jet lag.
2) Target Tummy Troubles – prevent illness, regulate bowels and avoid heartburn/indigestion
Prevent Illness – Citrus extracts are powerful antimicrobials. They can clear the body of harmful bacteria, viruses, fungi and some parasites as well. They serve multiple uses while travelling because they can be used to purify drinking water, soothe the intestines and fight against food borne illness. Examples include lemon, orange, tangerine and grapefruit seed extract.
Regulate Bowels - If diarrhea is a concern, then Saccharomyces boulardii is a must. Studies have shown the efficacy of it in the treatment and prevention of gastrointestinal disorders such as acute diarrhea, recurrent clostridium difficile infection, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.), travelers’ diarrhea and antibiotic-associated diarrhea. This can be taken 3-4 days before you start to travel and as needed while you are on your trip. For fast-acting temporary relief, try activated charcoal, which can help correct diarrhea and also be used to combat food poisoning by binding to toxic substances and moving them safely out of the body. On the other hand, if you struggle with constipation, consider either a temporary solution such as senna or something more long term as in magnesium hydroxide with a blend of mild herbs (i.e. triphala).
Plus, remember those probiotics recommended for immune health? They also play a big role in regulating bowels and promoting healthy digestion! Consider bringing a shelf stable formula along for those hotel rooms that don’t offer personal fridges.
Avoid Heartburn/Indigestion – Improper food breakdown can lead to uncomfortable symptoms such as gas and bloating, which is not really something you want to deal with while on vacation. Consider taking digestive enzymes (with HCL if stomach acid is low) when eating unfamiliar or abundant amounts of food in order help your body break everything down. Also, try a natural heartburn relief formula made of calcium/magnesium carbonate for temporary relief of acid reflux.
3) Pain & Inflammation – relief for aches
Relief For Aches - Curcumin, nature’s anti-inflammatory is a top recommendation for joint pain relief and healthy function. Also, white willow bark has been used for centuries as a natural pain reliever as it is a natural source of salicin, which is chemically similar to aspirin. For symptoms such as tension, headache, cramping and spasms, try magnesium. This mineral relaxes muscles and nerves in addition to helping to decrease inflammation. Also, consider homeopathic arnica gels or creams to help relieve muscle and joint pain, bruises and inflammation.
4) Sun Safety – avoid burns and prevent dehydration
Avoid Burns - When choosing a sunscreen for your family, look for organic natural ingredients such as sunflower and radish, and active ingredients like zinc and titanium. These ingredients are effective immediately, reflect instead of absorb, and are void of any harsh chemicals. Consider a formula that is reef-safe and biodegradable in order to minimize damage to plant and animal life.
Prevent Dehydration – In addition to drinking plenty of water throughout the day, it is also important to replenish electrolytes lost through sweat. Consider bringing powdered electrolyte packages along with you that can easily be added to your water bottle when you are busy.
5) Skin Solutions – for bites and rashes
For Bites & Rashes – Consider bringing along an all-purpose skin gel with ingredients such as anti-fungal tea tree, anti-inflammatory aloe vera as well as witch hazel to combat irritation, vitamin E to protect and rosemary to promote circulation. Calendula is also an excellent ingredient for rashes, burns, infections and bites!
Other tips include: stay active (walking, swimming, dancing), wash hands often, eat regularly, never skip breakfast, choose whole/real foods as much as possible, manage stress levels and ensure adequate sleep, wear a hat and sunglasses, choose good shoes, be aware of your water source, limit alcohol/coffee intake and don’t stop taking your regular daily supplements.
This column is sponsored by Good 'n' Natural in Steinbach.