How to keep your gut healthy while travelling!
Traveling usually means being off of your normal routine, eating different foods, perhaps in higher quantities than usual, and maybe having to adjust to a different time zone, which often leads to irregularity or uncomfortable digestive issues such as bloating, constipation and/or traveller’s diarrhoea.
Flying can be dehydrating so drinking plenty of still natural water is key when travelling to counteract constipation. Your digestive system needs water to break down food and move it through the intestines for easy elimination. Carry a water bottle and fill it with still natural water or coconut water if severely dehydrated. Herbal teas and fresh juices are great options too. Sparkling water may contribute further to gas and bloating so it is best avoided. Drink a minimum of 2L of water a day, especially if you’re suffering from diarrhoea; and remember that alcohol, caffeine and even sunbathing have a dehydrating effect which can lead to constipation. So, in addition to the minimum it’s best to drink two glasses of still water for each espresso and/or alcoholic drink you consume.
What to order
Gut friendly foods rich in fibre are also helpful as they move food through the digestive system. Choosing meals on the menu that include foods such as flax, chia, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils help to add bulk to stools, which allows more effective transit through the intestinal system. The soluble fibre found in foods such as porridge oats, apples, pears, apricots, prunes, bananas, and blueberries help to soften stools, making them easier to pass. Cabbage, kale, broccoli and other brassica vegetables enhance detoxification and are a good source of fibre. Healthy fats also lubricate the intestines and allow for an easier removal of waste from the body. Good fats to choose from are olive oil, avocado, unrefined seed oils, nuts and seeds, coconut oil, and organic butter.
Beat the bloat
Fresh lemon in hot water stimulates the digestive system to break down food and reduce bloating, while fresh ginger has potent anti-inflammatory properties, is helpful in relieving and preventing bloating and may help to reduce nausea associated with an upset stomach. If you can, steep fresh ginger in hot water for at least five minutes and add a slice of lemon. Alternatively, pack from home some tea bags containing lemon and ginger root. When eating out choose dishes that contain herbs and spices like chilli, cumin, coriander, ginger, turmeric, parsley, black pepper, and rosemary as these herbs and spices help promote healthy bowel movements.
Feed your gut bacteria
Depending on your travel destination eating fermented foods can feed your gut friendly bacteria, but may not be as widely available. Foods such as unsweetened natural yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh, miso and kombucha tea contain a broad combination of friendly bacteria promoting a healthy balance of good bacteria in the gut, which may further contribute to a healthy digestive system. Make sure to choose yogurt with active or live cultures as not all yogurts contain live microbiotics. In some cases, the live bacteria have been killed during processing. If you are travelling and persistently suffering from constipation, bloating or diarrhoea it’s best to avoid trigger foods, such as gluten, refined sugar, alcohol, caffeine and spicy foods until 48 hours after all symptoms have disappeared. They can cause inflammation, feed unfriendly gut bacteria, and disrupt the health of your gut. Avoiding these foods while symptoms persist allows the digestive system a chance to rebalance.
The best way to lower your risk of stomach complaints while travelling is to think preventatively. Start before your travels in creating a healthy intestinal environment by taking a microbiotic for a few months before you leave and continue whilst away. Studies show they help to prevent traveller’s diarrhoea, can relieve constipation, support immunity and aid the assimilation of nutrients. Udo’s Choice Super 8 contains 8 strains of friendly bacteria of the Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium family, which are located throughout the digestive tract in the small and large intestine. Super 8’s contain L. Acidophilus, which has been shown to inhibit the growth of pathogenic bacteria and two strains of L. Rhamnosus, which has been shown to protect against the invasion of harmful microorganisms. Additionally, L. Casei has been studied for its anti-microbial effects and the bifido strains inhibit unfriendly bacteria from growing in the large intestine. Take 1 capsule per day after food for at least two months prior to, during and after your travels.
Take a digestive enzyme
It is very likely while travelling you’re going to eat foods you aren’t used to eating that your body isn’t able to break down very well. By taking a digestive enzyme supplement alongside a microbiotic you can further support your digestion. Udo’s Choice Digestive Enzymes blend contains an enzyme that will break down fats, proteins, starches, carbohydrates, milk sugars and vegetable fibre. By taking a digestive enzyme at each main meal you can support your body to assimilate the food to ease digestion and lessen symptoms of bloating and constipation.
Research, research, research
Lastly do a bit of research before you go – find out where the local farmers markets are to buy fresh produce, find out what foods are local to your destination and in season, look for healthy food cafes and restaurants – one’s that peek your interest and are within your budget!