How to keep your gut happy this holiday
Many of us will be jetting off on our holidays. For most of us this is an exciting time, but for those with a sensitive gut the worry can cast a cloud over that excitement. Here we share some tips to help keep your gut happy and healthy while you are away….
- BE PREPARED – the run up to a holiday can be stressful, so give yourself lots of time and tackle each of the following tasks one at a time;
- Packing – plan your outfits and decant toiletries to make sure you’re within your luggage allowance
- Get your spending money – make sure you have the correct currency
- Check which adapter you need
- Plan how you’re getting to/from the airport
- Make sure you have your passport (and it is in date) and visa (if necessary)
- Medications – have you got enough for the duration of your holiday? Think about taking a first-aid kit for those ‘just in case moments’ – the NHS has a good checklist.
- MAINTAIN YOUR NORMAL ROUTINE – exercise and meditation can help many people who have gut problems. Even while you are on holiday it is good to keep up your routine of keeping active and calm, so make time for these activities. That could involve taking a stroll on the beach, swimming, finding a space to meditate, or perhaps there are some local activities or excursions you can join in with.
- STAY HYDRATED – dehydration can increase your risk of constipation, so it’s important to make sure you are drinking enough fluids. If you are travelling to somewhere hot this may mean drinking more fluids than you would normally, as you will also need to replace any fluids lost through sweating. Be cautious about where the water is coming from – you may need to do some research to find out if the countries tap water is safe to drink.
- DON’T OVER INDULGE – one of the best parts of travelling is trying new cuisines. However, if you have a sensitive gut trying unknown foods may cause unpleasant symptoms. Ease yourself into it, pick dishes that have ingredients that are more familiar to you.
If you have any food allergies or intolerances it can be difficult to ensure the restaurant understands your dietary requirements, so pack some foods in your case as a backup to make sure you don’t go hungry.
- THINK ABOUT YOUR MICROBES – research suggests that taking certain probiotics (live beneficial microorganism) or prebiotics (food for the beneficial microorganisms already in the gut) may prevent traveller’s diarrhoea1. It is wise to start taking these a few weeks before you travel to allow you body to adjust to the changes in your gut microbiota, and continue taking them regularly throughout your holiday.
Most importantly enjoy your holiday!
Share your tips!
If you have any of your own holiday gut health tips we would love to hear them Facebook @LoveYourGutOnline and Twitter @loveyourgut – join the conversation with #LoveYourGut
1 McFarland and Goh (2019) Travel Med Infect Dis 27:11-19