Bon Voyage! Tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.

Traveling this holiday season? Or just a frequent flyer? The following tips will help you stay healthy while you are away from home:

1.Probiotics can prevent traveler’s diarrhoea! Many studies show that probiotics are able to effectively prevent traveler’s diarrhoea. The particular formula is a mixture of Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum along with the probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii. If you want to protect yourself from digestive/ intestinal illness, take a probiotic supplement containing the above strains. Taking a probiotic can also support your immune system and help with regular bowel movements.

2. Keep hydrated by drinking adequate amounts of water throughout your trip. Minimize caffeinated or alcoholic beverages as they are dehydrating.

3. Stock up on antioxidant supplements, glutathione in particular if you are flying. Glutathione is a vital antioxidant involved in protecting the body from free radical damage and helps to “recycle” other important antioxidants. Flying exposes us to more radiation (long-term exposure of which could increase risk of cancers and degenerative diseases) as we are at a higher altitude. A paper from the American Journal of Epidemiology found a higher incidence of acute myeloid leukemia among 2740 Air Canada pilots compared with the general population. The paper concluded that “monitoring of in-flight radiation exposure and long-term follow-up of civil aviation crew members is needed to further assess cancer incidence and leukemia risk in this special occupational group” (Am J Epidemiol 1996;143:137–43). Reduce the harmful effects of radiation (and stress!) while flying by ensuring adequate antioxidant support.

4. Airline “snack boxes” available on shorter flights are usually high in fat and/or sodium and filled with refined carbohydrates. Try to eat a healthier meal before a short flight to avoid hunger on the plane. If you do get hungry, check out #5. Remember to keep hydrated.

5. Healthy snack alternatives you can pack for your flight:

  • nuts or pre-made trail mix
  • fresh fruits like apples, oranges, avocado, etc.
  • carrot or celery sticks
  • dried or freeze-dried fruit and vegetables e.g. dried mango, okra chips, freeze-dried strawberries, etc.
  • homemade meat jerky
  • snack bars such as Larabar, Made Good, etc.

6. For long-haul flights, noodle soup cups are very popular “mini-meals”. Unfortunately, these are laden with MSG and other additives, and carry next-to-zero nutritional value. Usually, flights will offer a veggie sandwich alternative which is a healthier choice. If you must have the noodle soup cups, try to avoid the high-sodium and high-MSG broth.

7. Wear loose clothing and stretch regularly when flying. Stretch your legs/ feet and get up for regular walks to reduce the risk of forming blood clots.



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