It’s not just about being trim and looking good for the beach, but also avoiding the risk of tummy upsets that are common and can make many holidays become miserable. One in five people have suffered from either diarrhoea or constipation whilst being on holiday. The risk of developing travellers’ diarrhoea is between 5-10% if you’re visiting places such as North America, Northern Europe, Australia and New Zealand but this increases to about 50% for places such as North Africa, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.
Long periods of inactivity on the plane or sitting by the pool, changes in air cabin pressure, dehydration, and different eating and drinking habits, can all contribute to holiday bloating, constipation or diarrhoea. Obvious precautions you can take once abroad include: avoiding local tap water and ice; peeling fruit and veg, and avoiding foods that look as though they have been kept in the warm for hours.
However, not many people realise there are actions you can take to help protect your gut prior to traveling. By taking these precautions you can minimise the chances of digestive health problems when you arrive so that you can enjoy your much-deserved holiday!
A few tips to consider before and during your travels:
- Look after your gut – Before traveling try to improve the health of your gut through diet. Consider including prebiotic foods in your diet such as asparagus, onions, and artichokes, eating a well-balanced diet and taking a regular quality probiotic product.
- Be prepared – pack some high-fibre cereal or dried fruits in your suitcase so you can have it for breakfast or as a snack. It is often a challenge to eat enough fibre whilst being on holiday, which can soon affect your digestion.
- Stay hydrated – Dehydration is a major cause of gut problems when you’re on holiday so drink plenty of water and juices throughout your holiday, especially if you’re in the sun or on the plane as the dry cabin air can dehydrate you.
- Stay active – long periods of inactivity can make the digestive system sluggish so if you’re travelling on the plane do the leg exercises as suggested in your flight handbook or walk up and down the aisle every so often. When you’re relaxing by the pool or lying on the sun loungers, get up and move around every hour.
- Finally visit your GP prior to travelling to see if there are any vaccinations you may need to have before travelling to your chosen destination.