When you’re preparing for a trip, you probably have several things on your plate to deal with. From packing and planning to getting your itinerary in order, there are plenty of things to take care of. That should include keeping your health and well-being in mind.
Your gut and stomach health might get overlooked while traveling, especially if you’re with kids and trying to make sure they’re taken care of. Unfortunately, the stress of travel can quickly take a toll. If you don’t take care of your gut, it will certainly let you know! The combination of a strange schedule, foods, extra stress, and a lack of sleep can all wreak havoc on your digestive system.
So, what can you do while you’re traveling to take care of your gut – especially in a different country?
Let’s cover a few tips that will keep your gut happy and healthy while you’re away from home, so you can enjoy your time rather than dealing with an uneasy stomach.
Your body is likely used to a pretty standard routine. Even if you don’t do things the same way every day at home, your schedule is probably relatively similar each day. That includes getting a certain amount of sleep, eating certain foods and specific times, and staying active.
When you’re traveling, that all can change. If you switch up your routine, it’s going to take time for your body to adjust. For example, you might be sleeping less while you’re away. If you don’t get enough sleep, you could start to see changes in your appetite, driving you to eat things you shouldn’t. Your immune system can also weaken, which directly impacts your gut health. Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep when you’re away from home. If you’re having trouble falling asleep somewhere different, try some of the following tips:
- Avoid looking at screens while in bed
- Limit alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine at night
- Avoid taking naps during the day
- Try to wake up and go to sleep at the same time each day
In addition to keeping a sleep routine, try to mimic your routine from home as much as possible. It’s okay for some things to be different. But, your body’s natural circadian rhythms can get thrown off easily. Keeping them on track is better for your overall well-being – including gut health.
When you’re traveling somewhere new, experiencing different foods or indulging in your favorites is part of the fun! There’s nothing wrong with eating local cuisine. But, take stock of what you’re eating and how it could impact your gut. It’s especially important to be careful if you have an existing condition like GERD or acid reflux. Some of the most common symptoms of GERD include:
- Chest pain
Those symptoms might be exacerbated by eating the wrong things. You might also just have a sensitive stomach that can’t handle certain ingredients. One of the best things you can do for your gut health is to stay hydrated. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere and drink from it throughout the day.
Additionally, making sure you’re getting enough leafy greens each day can make a big difference. No, a big plate of vegetables might not sound as fun as an ice cream sundae. But, your body will thank you for it! You don’t need to give up on those indulgences or avoid them altogether. But, make sure you’re including nutrients that will help your digestive system, too.
If you have a hard time “eating your greens,” consider packing probiotics or digestive enzymes in your suitcase. Adding them to every meal can help you digest food easier and maintain the balance of healthy bacteria in your gut. That will keep you from feeling bloated and sluggish while you’re traveling.
Getting enough movement every day is crucial to maintain a healthy gut. First, exercise will help to “keep things moving” within your body, making digestion easier. It also raises your core temperature. That allows reduced blood flow to the intestines and more direct contact with your gut microbes. Think of exercising as a way to “massage” the muscles in your digestive tract. It’s a fantastic way to keep from feeling bloated, and it can also ward off an upset stomach if you haven’t been eating the way you should.
If exercise doesn’t help with a stomach ache, try quick remedies like chamomile tea, apple cider vinegar, or ginger to get things back on track. Once your stomach feels better, you can get back to being active and using exercise to balance the bacteria in your gut.
From planning ahead to eating right and from keeping a routine to getting enough movement, there are plenty of ways to manage your gut health while traveling. You don’t have to fall victim to constipation, bloating, or other digestive issues that often happen while away from home. Keep these tips in mind to enjoy your trip while feeling your best.