Holiday Healthcare

It’s officially the holiday season! Many of us spend the pre-holiday months eating well and exercising to look and feel our very best, only to try everything tempting in sight once we’re away. We are human.

If you’re holidaying in the UK this year, it wouldn’t be complete without fish and chips on the beach or an afternoon cream tea. If you’re travelling abroad, sampling the array of new flavours is a must. It’s a time to treat yourself to local delights you may not eat at home. But, you want to enjoy holiday cuisine without the holiday tummy. Here are some holiday healthcare tips to keep you feeling your very best, inside and out.

We sometimes suffer on holiday because our stomach struggles to cope with the change in diet. It’s just not used to it. Whenever I travel home to visit family in South Africa, the upset tummy usually comes along for the ride. I distinctly remember the uncomfortable feeling I experienced for days after drinking the borehole water on the family farm in Zimbabwe; it was caused by the local bugs, which my digestive system just wasn’t used to. Your microbiome (your unique mini ecosystem of gut bacteria) is built and developed by your environment and what you consume, and your digestive system becomes accustomed to your usual diet.

So, whether you’re travelling to the Cornish coast or the Himalayan mountains, prepare well before you go, and take care when you’re there.

Kath’s tips for a happy, healthy holiday

  • Build up your digestive system by taking probiotics; start at least two weeks before you travel and continue taking them while you’re away. I recommend these which are specifically designed for travellers and don’t require refrigeration.
  • Apple cider vinegar is great for your digestive system; add four parts to one part honey and top up with hot water.
  • Pack some activated charcoal; a magic supplement that binds onto anything toxic in your digestive system and carries it straight through, preventing absorption. If you start to feel uncomfortable, this should ease your symptoms.  Just be careful if you’re taking any supplements and leave at least two hours before taking the activated charcoal, as it will carry through the goodness from these too.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep you hydrated and help flush out any toxins.  Avoid drinking tap water if you’re travelling abroad.  Bottled water is rapidly going out of favour as we reduce our use of plastic, so your best option is to boil tap water and allow it to cool.  Remember to use this for ice cubes too!
  • A summer salad is often welcome on a hot day, but it’s best to avoid these if you’re jetting off to a far-flung destination, as the produce is likely to have been washed in tap water. If you’re unsure, opt for cooked foods.
  • If you’re a magnet for mosquitos, try taking Vitamin B1 at least two weeks before the start of your holiday. It’s believed to change the odour of your skin making it less appealing to their taste.  It may not work for everyone, but I wouldn’t travel back to South Africa without it.  If you do get bitten, witch hazel oil is great for relieving the itchiness.
  • A little sunshine is the best way to top up your Vitamin B levels, but try not to get sunburnt. We all get caught sometimes, and if you do get burnt, reach for the apple cider vinegar again. Make a weak solution by mixing the cider vinegar with water, dip in a facecloth or some paper towel, and dab onto the affected areas.  Aloe Vera is also a great remedy for sunburn; just remember to keep it in the fridge so that it really cools your skin.