Next weekend is Memorial Day, can you believe it? Here in the Northeast, the weather feels a month or so behind! But it's true. Summer vacations are on the horizon, and lots of us will soon take to the friendly skies and open highways. Whatever your destination, none of us want precious holiday memories to be ruined by feeling less than our best.
While it’s great to be prepared with remedies to provide relief should you get ill on a trip, there are also precautions you can take both before and during your travels to reduce your chances of catching a bug. Starting two weeks leading up to departure, consider these steps to boost your immunity and increase the odds of feeling your best:
Choose foods high in Vitamins B (i.e. eggs, fish, chicken, mushrooms, lentils, nuts) and C (citrus fruits, broccoli, dark leafy greens, berries, bell peppers). Pair them with ingredients found to be particularly essential for optimal immune function, such as garlic, onions, ginger, thyme, parsley, chili powder, and cayenne pepper.
Limit sugar and highly processed foods, as these can cause inflammation, leaving you susceptible to viral, bacterial and parasitic invaders. Once at your destination, keep your blood sugar balanced by eating some protein or healthy fat along with carbs and sugar. This is especially important at breakfast, as it may determine your energy level for the rest of the day. Having pancakes and maple syrup? Try sprinkling a handful of walnuts or almonds on top. Enjoying some tropical fruit? Add some avocado or almond butter on toast.
Consider supplementing your diet with a broad spectrum probiotic. This will greatly support your digestive system in fighting off pathogens and bacteria. Ideally, you should take these before and during your trip. For a complete rundown on essential travel supplements, check out this excellent summary by Josh Gitalis, Certified Practitioner of Functional Medicine.
Hydrate and re-hydrate! Don’t wait to board the plane. Start now consuming 8-10 8 oz. glasses of pure water. It’s also a good time to reduce or remove alcohol and caffeine from your diet, especially if your trip involves many hours on an airplane. If you do have that cocktail, remember to offset its dehydrating effects with extra water.
Prepare both body and soul for take off! Don’t let that “prepping for holiday to-do list” take precedence over things you know keep you totally fit. Make sure you get enough sleep. Do some stretching or take a walk. Take time to meditate, read a good book, or enjoy your favorite music.
Adopting these simple tips can help ensure that memories of your trip will be of how it exceeded your expectations, not of time wasted recovering from unplanned for health concerns.