Tag Archives: travel

Sun Safe: Natural Solutions for a Healthy Holiday

Make sure you’re Sun Safe

Sun Safe and Sun FunIt’s holiday season and many of us are looking forward to a hard-earned break. Whether you’re a sun-worshiper, an adventurer or a culture vulture, the summer holiday is one of the key events in our annual calendar. That’s why looking after our health on holiday is especially important. Read on for natural ways to protect yourself against the most common holiday health problems and being sun safe.

Tummy bugs

Traveller’s diarrhoea is the most common health problem related to travelling abroad. Between 10% and 20% of holiday makers travelling to southern Europe or the Caribbean will have their holidays spoiled with episodes of food poisoning. Those travelling to areas such as Asia, the Middle East and Latin America should be particularly cautious as more than 20% will fall ill with traveller’s diarrhoea [1].

The best way to avoid food poisoning abroad is to be extra careful about food hygiene measures. Use bottles or sterilised water if local tap water is unsafe, and avoid ice in drinks. Avoid buffet food that has been left out at room temperature for extended periods – remember hot food should be piping hot and thoroughly cooked, cold food should be cold, and choose fruits and vegetables that you can peel yourself. Dressings such as mayonnaise and ketchup are commonly linked with food poisoning, so try using single-serve sealed packages.

A sensible way of protecting against food poisoning is to take a probiotic supplement while travelling. Probiotics bolster the intestinal lining’s protective barrier, making it difficult for infections to take hold. Well-studies strains include L. acidophilus, B. bifidum and L. bulgaricus.
Some probiotics actually secrete antimicrobial substances that protect the body from infection. The probiotic L. Reuterei works in this way, and studies have found it to be particularly effective in preventing gastrointestinal infections and diarrhoea in children [2].

Jet Lag

For those travelling further afield, jet lag can spoil the early days of a long haul holiday, and can leave you feeling tired rather than revitalised on your return.
Jet lag symptoms are made worse by dehydration, so drink plenty of water during your flight, and avoid caffeine and alcohol. Natural treatments for jet lag include melatonin, a hormone involved in the sleep-wake cycle. Food sources of melatonin include goji berries, almonds and raspberries. However, a natural source of melatonin is the Montmorency cherry (used in the CherryActive range. Studies suggest cherry juice appears to raise melatonin levels and to have a positive effect on the sleep cycle [3]. The anti-inflammatory properties of tart cherry juice may also enhance this effect by reducing inflammatory cytokines [4].

Sun Safe ProtectionSunshine

Most of us are aware of sensible sun protection measures, such as covering up, wearing sun-cream and limiting sun exposure. In addition, taking a small amount of the lycopene, a carotenoid found in tomatoes, for a few weeks before travelling can also protect skin against sun damage [5]. Just 16mg lycopene has been found to protect against sun damage. This amount can be found is around 3 tablespoons of tomato paste. Other good sources are watermelon, grapefruit and sweet red peppers – all helping to keep you sun safe.

Not taken our advice on being sun safe? One of the best natural treatments for sun burn is topical aloe vera. This leafy plant grows abundantly in hot countries, and has anti-inflammatory properties. Simply break open a leaf and apply the soothing inner gel. Another helpful topical treatment is cider vinegar, which reduces pain, itching and inflammation. Try adding a cupful to your bathwater. Remember the best way to avoid sun burn is to be sun safe in the first place. Whenever and wherever you’re travelling to – have fun!

References

  1. National Travel Health Network and Centre. Traveller’s Diarrhoea. 06/02/2014. https://www.nathnac.org/pro/factsheets/trav_dir.htm Visited 10th May 2015.
  2. Rosemarie De Weirdt (2012) Glycerol Supplementation Enhances L. reuteri’s Protective Effect against S. Typhimurium Colonization in a 3-D Model of Colonic Epithelium. PLoS ONE, 7 (5): e37116
  3. Howatson et al (2010) Effect of tart cherry juice on melatonin levels and enhanced sleep quality. Eur J Nutr 51(8):909-16
  4. Opp MR (2004) Cytokines and sleep: the first hundred years. Brain Behav Immun. 18(4):295-297.
  5. Rizwan et al (2011) Tomato paste rich in lycopene protects against cutaneous photodamage in humans in vivo: a randomized controlled trial. Br J Dermatol 164(1):154-62.
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5 Tips for Healthy Travel

‘Buy an adaptor, find my swimsuit, pick up the dry cleaning, pack the phone chargers!’. When you’re rushing around last minute preparing for a holiday, your health is often the last thing on your mind. However when you put your body in an unfamiliar environment, often with little sleep along the way, it’s important to look after your health. What’s more, your holiday should be a time to explore, relax, and let go. You certainly don’t want an upset stomach or heavy case of jetlag ruining your fun time so we’ve prepared 5 simple steps to enjoy your holiday, the healthy way.

1. Beat the jet lag

The real pros will try to adjust their sleep schedules 2–3 days before leaving on holiday. If you know that you’re going to be sleeping and waking up later once you reach a different time zone, try to work your way into that time zone before you even leave home. Even if all you can manage is half an hour or an hour of difference, it should help to make life easier (and your holiday more relaxing!) when you’re trying to adjust to a new time schedule abroad.

2. Pack healthy snacks

Spend time preparing healthy snacks for you and your family before you leave for the airport. It will be much better for your body, and likely better for your bank balance, than picking up sugary or carb-loaded snacks at the airport. Cut up some apples, carrots, or try things like sugar snap peas – they’re good raw too and with an extra crunch which should go down well with the kids.

 3. Wear sun cream

Even if there is cloud cover, the sun can burn. Choose a sun cream with at least SPF 15, or at least SPF 30 if you’re off to a hot and sunny destination. Do not forget to top up on your cream throughout the day , this is where a lot of people slip up – it’s not enough to put cream on once in the morning then forget about it! Make sure you have a good sized day bag to carry all your essentials including your sun cream, snacks and water.

4. Water, water, everywhere!

Optibac can help with bowel calm when travelling abroad
OptiBac Probiotics for travelling abroad helps support a traveller’s digestive health

Do not forget to hydrate. Carry a bottle of water around with you. A lot of us forget to hydrate properly when we’re not in our usual place (e.g. at our desk at work) and hydration is all the more important when you’re enjoying a warm, sunny holiday. Water will flush the pathogens out of your body, and help to prevent any stomach upsets.

5. Look after your gut health

When visiting a new country, the body, and in particular your digestive system, have a tough time adjusting to a new environment and to new foods. Up to 50% of travellers are said to experience traveller’s diarrhoea because the ingestion of foreign microbes can upset the stomach (not much fun when you’re supposed to be enjoying yourself!).

Look after your digestive health whilst abroad by taking a probiotic especially made for travel. OptiBac Probiotics ‘For travelling abroad’ supports your body’s natural defence against bad bacteria whilst travelling. Get 60 capsules for £19.99 (usually £30.57) – perfect for those travelling as a family, or going away for a significant length of time.

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