How to Keep a Healthy Gut While Traveling
Traveling is always something exciting to look forward to.
Whether you’ve saved up for your 3-month long dream backpacking trip or just a weekend getaway without the kids, you know you’re excited and ready for adventure.
No matter how excited you are though, you might be a little nervous about your destination or about traveling in general.
You’ve probably heard horror stories about traveler’s diarrhea and other awful gut-wrenching problems friends have contracted abroad.
Fear not, friends.
Atrantil has your back with our top tips to prevent gut problems while traveling.
1. Carry Water With You and Drink It Often
Drinking adequate amounts of water is necessary for all parts of your body to function properly.
When traveling, this is even more important.
You aren’t on your normal schedule and are more than likely moving around a lot more than you normally do.
Keeping hydrated is key to avoiding headaches, constipation, and other common issues while traveling.
Drinking the right water is even more important.
If you drink just any water you are risking gastrointestinal and overall health problems.
Traveler’s diarrhea is most commonly contracted through drinking unclean water or eating unclean/poorly prepared foods.
Water pH levels are extremely important as well.
Water that falls on the acidic side of the pH scale can lead to complications such as insulitis and hyperglycemia.
Buying water bottles and making sure they are properly sealed is the best way to avoid complications from water.
Avoid bottles that have been tampered with or ice that you don’t know where the water was from and you’ll stay hydrated and healthy your entire trip!
2. Eat Fibrous Foods
Dietary fiber is essential to proper gut health.
Different fibers are used for different things, but each one is important to maintain a healthy body.
Fibrous foods will keep you feeling full for longer periods of time because certain fibers take longer for your body to digest.
This sounds like it might not be a good thing, but rest assured that it is.
Fermentation is important so your body is able to extract all the available nutrients from that particular food item.
The fermentation process allows for the production of different gases and short-chain fatty acid production.
When these different products are created they can go throughout your body and create beneficial — or not so beneficial if they are unhealthy foods — changes to your cells and systems.
Dietary fiber has been proven to decrease risks of certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers.
Because your body is performing optimally and you feel full for longer periods of time, dietary fiber may help you to lose some weight as well.
3. Eat Fermented Foods
Just about anywhere you travel, there will be a fermented dish for you to enjoy.
Fermented foods are more beneficial than you realize.
While the thought of eating something that has been stewing for months may not be appetizing, remember that wine, beer, and other alcohols are fermented before consumption.
Fermented foods carry a greater nutritional constitution because they are naturally packed with probiotics.
Your gut naturally ferments fibers, as we stated above, but certain foods can be fermented beforehand exposing you to more (healthy) bacterial strains.
Not only do fermented foods offer probiotics, but they contain extra nutritional properties like different vitamins and minerals.
Some foods you may want to try on your journeys can include:
Fermented foods can help to maintain the integrity of your intestinal tract by strengthening the barrier to avoid your bacteria from traveling where it shouldn’t.
This will allow your travels to be stress-free and more healthy!
4. Get Local Groceries/Prepare Food Properly
Local foods will always be your best bet when deciding what to eat.
Not only are they more cost-effective, but they will more likely be much healthy too.
Washing your foods thoroughly and preparing them carefully will avoid risking exposure to harmful pathogens.
Using this guide from the CDC can help you to understand which foods to watch out for and what is generally going to be safe.
As a rule of thumb, by removing peels of fruits and vegetables, cooking vegetables, and making sure your meat is cooked all the way through and to the proper temperature, you will be able to avoid food poisoning.
5. Introduce Cultural Foods Before Traveling to Prepare Your Gut
If you’re going somewhere that certain spices are commonly used, introducing them into your diet before traveling will be a great idea.
Sometimes your body isn’t used to the way the foods will be prepared or the different combinations that you’ll be eating when traveling.
Checking out what is typical cuisine at your destination and trying it ahead of time not only lets you into the beautiful culture, but it also prepares your gut for the journey ahead.
During a study, fecal microbiota samples were transferred from humans into animal models.
The samples were from people that lived in different countries to see what ‘traveling’ does to your microbiome constitution.
This study revealed that major changes are made to microbial diversity with the diet changes during travel.
The most major changes were associated with the introduction of new spices and herbs like turmeric.
6. Thoroughly Wash Hands
You teach your kids to wash their hands before they eat, and it’s a practice you should continue into adulthood.
While you aren’t playing in the dirt, traveling exposes you to a ton of new bacteria.
Imagine all the people coughing, sneezing, not cleaning their hands going through the airport, taxi, or hotel.
Cleaning your hands thoroughly and regularly can keep you from experiencing unnecessary sickness.
Warm water, soap, and about 20 seconds of your time can make the difference between the best and worst trip of your life.
Carrying antibacterial hand sanitizer can be a double-edged sword.
While it kills bacteria, it can also be destroying the bacteria you need on your skin as well, so soap and water will always be your best bet.
7. Don’t Overeat
This one might be the most difficult of all.
You go to a new place and you want to try all of the new and local foods.
It’s all part of the best hype with travel.
There are so many new places and interesting foods to try that you can’t help but overindulge.
Try splitting foods with your travel partners if you plan on trying a lot of different foods.
Keeping portion control in mind is extremely important to avoiding stomach aches and bloating.
8. Go to the Bathroom When Necessary
This is crucial.
While this might be a given for some, others need to be told it’s a normal occurrence that everyone does.
When you have to go to the bathroom, GO!
We have to be blunt here. If you need to poop, go poop.
By avoiding going, for whatever reason, you’re forcing yourself to be constipated.
Eventually, that backup is going to need to come out and likely it’ll be at a very inconvenient time.
Save yourself the trouble and discomfort and go when you feel the urge. Everyone poops, in case you need that reminder.
9. Take Prebiotics
Prebiotics are substances that need to be fermented in your large intestines to be broken down properly.
Prebiotics are imperative to having a healthy gut, mind, and body.
Atrantil is a great source of prebiotics and polyphenols. Atrantil can help to prepare your gut for travel, avoid bloat, and reduce intestinal permeability.
Packing Atrantil will assure you the best vacation you’ve ever had!
What are some of your go-to travel hacks to make sure you have a great trip?
Tell us in the comments below!