Can a supplement a day keep the travel bugs away? If chosen wisely, they could provide a valuable helping hand for keeping your well-earned holiday illness-free.
That being said though, according to nutritional therapist Eve Kalinik maintaining a healthy diet all year round (not just in the summer run-up) is the best line of defence for side-stepping common holiday trip-ups - irrespective of the time of the year. “Really a healthy diet should be an ongoing long-term thing and not just specific to leading up to a holiday,” she says. “Generally having an abundance of vegetables, fruit in moderation, small servings of protein-rich grains such as quinoa and buckwheat (sprouted or soaked), organic grass-fed meat and wild fish, as well as regularly including fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, kefir (dairy or non-dairy) will all support the immune system.”
With the right food making the best of travel-friendly foundations, the right supplements can then look to complement your pre-holiday prep perfectly. The best all-rounder? A probiotic. “A daily probiotic will keep things nicely ticking over and support the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut,” advises Eve. “Since 70% or more of our immune system is located in the gastro tract, you can see why this can influence how well we fight off potential pathogens.”
And to ensure results last from departure to arrival lounge and back again, try avoiding sugar as best you can - within reason of course (you are on holiday after all). “It’s normal and natural that when you are on holiday you might indulge a bit, but just be mindful not to go too overboard on the sugary treats as this can have a negative impact on the immune system, and feed some of the less friendly microorganisms,” explains Eve. “So enjoy that ice cream, just don’t go mad!”
From upset stomachs to sunburn to jet lag, here are Eve’s top supplement and health-boosting product picks for exterminating the peskiest of travel bugs.
1. Stomach upsets
“A good probiotic can help with this - my favourite is Symprove ,” recommends Eve. “Upping your beneficial microorganisms means your internal army is better equipped to deal with the bad bugs. Think of it as a kind of gut insurance policy when you are travelling.”
However, if an unlucky bout of unclean water or dodgy meat fells even the strongest of stomachs, all is not lost. “If you do have diarrhoea when you are away, it’s important to replenish minerals that might be lost,” says Eve. “ CellFood Concentrate Drops , £25, added to water is a gentle way to restore. Or you can use an electrolyte solution such as this one from Viridian .”
On the other end of the suspect stomach spectrum, if things are in need of a little erm, loosening up, not to fret - you’re not alone. Long flights and changes in time zones can make for the most disorientating of situations - both on the inside and out. The solution? “Plenty of water FIRST,” advises Eve. “Often the cause of constipation can simply be dehydration - particularly if you are somewhere hot - and you may have overindulged on the cocktails. And then, you’ve guessed it….a probiotic!”
Tend to get more burned than bronzed? As well as a good sunscreen and regular re-application, what you put in your body can often prove extremely useful for boosting what you put on top of it. “A good fish oil such as Bare Biology Lion Heart , £47.50, can support anti-inflammatory processes and provide antioxidants that can help to negate free radicals created from too much sun exposure,” explains Eve. “Omega 3s also help to nourish cell membranes in general. But the most important thing is not to bake yourself in the midday sun. Avoid the 11am - 3pm window and always wear a good sunscreen - I like the Organic Pharmacy range which has a more natural-based formula. They also do a lovely after-sun too.
“You can also use some of the more nutrient dense powders around such as spirulina, baobab, cacao or acai to boost your antioxidant intake. Plenty of colourful veg will do that though too.”
4. Jet lag
If the bump back to reality proves pretty turbulent for you year after year, there are thankfully ways to make the journey all the more smooth and easier to navigate. Travel sick? Keep this handbag essential to hand: “I like de Mamiel Altitude Oil , £28,” says Eve. “Just a couple of drops on a hanky can help to reduce feelings of nausea. And make sure you are well hydrated.”
If jet lag never fails to play havoc with your body clock, kick it back into working order with the following sleep pattern pick-me-ups. “Try adding in a 5 HTP supplement such as Solaray L-5 HTP , £10.49,” recommends Eve. “It is derived from natural plant extracts to help regulate sleep (check for medical contraindications such as anti-depressants though), or you can use magnesium instead in the evening too - Wild Nutrition’s Food-Grown Magnesium . £16.50, is great.”
Disclaimer: certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach should never be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme.