Holiday health

Ensure your summer holiday goes without a hitch with these top tips

Travel sickness

If your holiday plans are blighted by travel sickness, try making some mint or ginger tea to sip on the journey, suggests Steve Kippax, a Western and Chinese herbalist, acupuncturist and the author of new book Health in Theory and Practice (£14.99, Aeon Books). “Get some mint (or a tea bag) and make the tea,” says Steve. “Let it infuse in a pot or cover the mug with a saucer for about five minutes – this keeps the aroma in, which makes it more effective. Then transfer it to a flask.” In order to make ginger tea, Steve recommends cutting up a piece of fresh ginger about 6 cm long (2-3 inches) and putting it into a pan with about a pint of water. He adds: “Bring to the boil and simmer quite vigorously for about 5 minutes before straining. Add some honey or maple syrup and put into a flask for the journey. It is best taken warm.”

Jetlag

“If you’re flying to a faraway destination, you may suffer some jetlag as your internal body clock struggles to adapt to the new time zone,” says Hollie Bailey, a naturopath and nutritionist with Health and Fitness Travel (www.healthandfitnesstravel.com). “In some cases, it can affect your appetite, digestion, bowel movements and blood pressure. Get plenty of sleep the night before your flight, and adapt to the local time zone once you arrive. If you arrive during the day, go for a stroll outside where the natural light will encourage your body to acclimatise. If you arrive in the evening or night, adopt the local bedtime and try to get some sleep. Spray lavender oil on your eye mask before rest. Try and stay active during your flight; take a few strolls around the cabin and do some yoga stretches, which will also help to deter deep vein thrombosis. Try and limit your caffeine intake so you can get some rest during the flight and drink plenty of water before and during your flight to make sure you stay well hydrated.”

Sun protection

“In hot climates try and be in the shade particularly between 11am and 3pm and make sure you never burn by covering up, wear a wide brimmed hat and using at least factor 15 sunscreen,” says Dr Riccardo Di Cuffa, Director and GP at Your Doctor www.your-doctor.co.uk. “Remember to reapply after being in water, also to reapply frequently during time exposed. Even not having proper eye protection can cause a temporary but painful burn to the surface of the eye, similar to sunburn. Extra care should be taken if you have paler skin, freckles, red or fair hair, have many moles, or if there is a family history of skin cancer. Skin can burn in just 15 minutes in the summer sun – take extra care.”

Swimmer’s ear

“Before jumping in the ocean, pool or going diving – mix a few drops of ethanol with white vinegar into the ear and allow to drain out,” says Hollie Bailey. “This is a preventative measure. If you already have swimmer’s ear try a few drops of garlic in olive oil in the ear. This is super soothing and the anti-bacterial properties of the garlic will prevent or heal infection. Have a hot water bottle or hot flannel against your ear as you lay down – the heat will help relieve any discomfort and pain. Eat anti-inflammatory foods and reduce your dairy intake – this will prevent and help heal infections.”

Try this!

“One of the most common health complaints people experience while on holiday is sunburn,” says Andrew Thomas, Managing Director and Founder of BetterYou. “Most of us are aware of the importance of using a daily SPF to protect our skin from the sun but not many people know that certain foods can help to protect our skin from the inside. Consuming skin-protecting nutrients, such as carotenoids, turmeric and vitamin B3, can provide an extra level of protection against the damaging and ageing effects of the sun. Turmeric is not something people would usually take on holiday with them, however, this bright orange spice has been shown to inhibit the formation of wrinkles in skin exposed to prolonged UV radiation. Wrinkle formation is reduced due to the lowering of molecules involved in collagen breakdown.”

“During your flight, avoid alcohol and caffeine as these substances dehydrate you,” says Hollie Bailey.

“Ask for lemon or lime in your water and carry a small packet of Himalayan salt to add a pinch into the airline water. This helps your cells draw water inside them and therefore keeps you hydrated and your body functioning efficiently.”

4 ways to improve your digestion while travelling

Plastic-wrapped meals and dry airplane croissants may be convenient but they’re not so gut friendly. In reality, travel means a rapid change in diet. While bloating, heartburn and irregular bowel movements may not sound so glamorous, regulating digestion can really make or break a trip! Here, nutritionist, Lily Soutter (www.lilysoutternutrition.com) suggests some simple ways to keep our gut happy and healthy whilst on the move.

1. Don’t forget high quality snacks
Early morning flights and broken sleep on a plane can leave us feeling groggy and craving quick fix foods. In fact, research has shown that when we have less than 7-8 hours sleep our appetite hormone increases, and we’re more likely to consume 330 more calories made up of quick-fix foods. Often these quick-fix foods can wreak havoc with digestion. Instead pack a few high fibre options to keep digestion healthy and hunger at bay such as nuts or fruit.

2. Consider taking probiotics
It’s not only the lack of fibre which can be bothersome to digestion. Depending on the country, travellers’ diarrhoea may affect as many as 5 to 50 per cent of people and can put a huge dampner on any trip. Interestingly there is more and more research to suggest that taking probiotics during the trip may be a safe and effective preventative tool.

3. Avoid gassy foods pre-flight
Bloating and cramps are not uncommon with air travel. Due to air pressure, gas in the intestinal will expand at around 30 per cent when flying. To prevent the bloat, it’s advisable to pass on the carbonated drinks and gassy foods like broccoli, beans, and onions before your flight. You may also want to switch your usual airplane coffee with peppermint tea. Animal studies have demonstrated peppermint to have relaxation and soothing effects on the gut, whilst human studies have looked at peppermint oil in relation to managing IBS.

4. Keep moving
Whilst lying on the beach for weeks is seriously appealing, a lack of movement can cause our digestion to become sluggish. Research suggests that moderate exercise has positive effects for those suffering with digestive complaints and may stimulate gut motility. Skip the taxi, bring your trainers and go explore! You’ll reach your 10, 000 steps whilst saving money and taking in the sights.

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