10 Tips to pack your health into your holiday

Henrietta Norton BSc, Dip NT, MBANT, AFMCP Co-founder of Wild Nutrition and Nutritional Therapist.

Holidays are something we all look forward to! They may be a chance to rest and recuperate or an opportunity for fun, adventure and activity. Whatever your reason for going away, no one wants this precious experience to be spoiled by low energy, body clock imbalances or digestive upsets.


Gut health is especially key if visiting tropical countries where you are more likely to pick up pathogenic bacteria (which can cause infection). If you are staying closer to home, prepping your digestive health can also support your defence poor hygiene in public facilities or restaurants.


You can minimise potential impacts to your health by focusing on these 10 healthy habits:


1. Reduce your intake of sweeter refined sugar foods and if you are eating more than 3 portions of fruit per day, reduce this (vegetables have vitamin C in them too) to minimize fruit sugar.


2. Increase your fibre intake to support the aptly named ‘transit time’ (this is how long it takes for food to move through you). Boost your plate with vegetables, beans and lentils and nourishing grains such as brown rice, quinoa, rye flakes, pearl barley, buckwheat and millet.


3. Include fermented foods in your diet, such as Sauerkraut (fermented cabbage famous in Northern and Eastern Europe) and Kimchi (a spicy mixture of fermented vegetables which originates from Asia). These are naturally rich in beneficial bacteria and enzymes. You can make your own but you can also buy them ready made (look for Biona or RAW brand in your local health store). Add 2-3 tablespoons of any fermented vegetables with each main meal.


4. Consider a multiple bacteria strain supplement. Research has shown that different strains of bacteria work on varying pathogens and microbes we may come into contact with via food and the world around us (things we touch, public toilets etc). Try to build up your gut flora ahead of time before you go away and make it a priority at least 2 weeks before you leave.


5.  We don't recommend the popular yoghurt drinks with added flora as these are often high in sugar. Stick to plain live yoghurt or trusted sources of unpasteurized goat’s milk or goat’s milk kefir.


6. Take a small supply of anti bacterial botanicals should you experience any digestive upset. Popular choices include grapefruit seed extract (also called citricidal), oregano, Oregon grape root (berberis) and garlic.


Most of us would choose to be futuristically ‘beamed’ to our holiday destination rather than travel. Flying is considered a necessity rather than a pleasure when cramped and air-conditioned cabin conditions can leave us feeling tired and sluggish. Jet lag can really effect our normal sleep and energy cycles once we arrive at our destination too.  Here's some healthy travel protocol:


7. If flying, pack your own water (cabin crew don't tend to give out very much). Aim to drink a litre of water over the course of a flight and more if your flight exceeds 5 hours. In addition, drink coconut water for its natural electrolyte content or add drops of a concentrated ‘travel size’ electrolyte solution to a full water bottle Electrolytes are a form of mineral salt that are able to be electrically conductive in the body. They may help us to recover from dehydration or stay nicely hydrated more easily than with just plain water. Steer clear of in-flight alcohol as this is dehydrating!


8. Set your clock to the time zone of your country of destination as soon as you embark on a long haul flight. This will help your body to gradually adjust its biorhythms.


9. Supplement extra magnesium before, during and after a flight. It can help with energy through the reduction of tiredness and fatigue. Eat plenty of magnesium rich foods generally (meat, fish, dark green vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds).


10. There has been research into a type of vitamin B3 called NADH (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) is required for cellular energy support. When combined with other nutrients including zinc and magnesium (like in the Wild Nutrition, Wild Traveller supplement) NADH can cushion the psychological and physiological effects of travelling.


Wishing you a very happy, restorative and nourishing holiday.


For more holiday health tips, see 'Protecting your skin from the inside out' and Henrietta's 'Festival survival guide'

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