5 Tips To Improve Digestion When Traveling

June 26, 2020 6 min read

5 Tips To Improve Digestion When Traveling

Whether you’re taking a weekend road trip or a week long getaway to the beach, travel can be stressful on your body and digestive system. The stress of traveling can result in digestive problems including constipation, traveler’s diarrhea, heartburn, bloating and gas. So today we are going to cover 5 ways to improve digestion while traveling to minimize digestive issues and help you stay ‘regular.’

Travel is hectic whether you’re sitting in a hotel, flying on a plane, or driving on the open road because you aren’t in your normal routine, nor do you typically have access to the foods you normally consume. This can cause issues with regularity and digestion, and the last thing we want to do on vacation is end up with an upset stomach, or spend extra time in the bathroom.

Here are 5 things you can do to support your digestion, and some tips to keep your nutrition in line:

1) Hydrate!

Water is vital to the body and even more important on the road. If you’ve ever been on a plane, you’ve likely experienced water retention.  This looks like swelling in your hands and feet, and your legs feel like logs; this is due to increased sodium levels in the blood. 

Solairus aviation explains why we often become dehydrated when flying and that is because planes have extremely low relative humidity levels of 20% or less. This low humidity impacts our overall bodily functions and we often feel the impact of the dry air as our eyes begin to tear up or feel scratchy, the skin feels irritated and we feel extremely thirsty [no one likes cottonmouth]. 

We also know that a lot of our movements, mostly involuntary or semi automatic functions, use water in our body. Even the simple acts of breathing or blinking cause us to lose water. When relative humidity levels in cabins drop, your body uses more water to carry out essential functions.

A lack of water also leads to:

  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Increased sodium levels in the blood
  • Increased heart rate
  • Decreased urine output
  • Fatigue

Additionally, it is important to stay hydrated to help prevent blood clots in your lungs or legs while traveling.

We highly recommend bringing your hydrate on the road so you can get your daily dose of vitamin C (also important to support your immune system when traveling), support your gut with the L-glutamine, replenish electrolytes and just make staying hydrated a bit more enjoyable.

2) Eat enough fiber and never travel without your greens

Constipation is typically due to inadequate fiber intake. Therefore, you want to consume as much fiber as you normally would at home to stay regular. The best sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and beans. However, we know that most people don’t consume enough vegetables and fruit in general, so it is highly unlikely to get enough on vacation :)

According to the CDC, only 1 out of every 10 adults eat enough fruits and veggies. That study was done in 2015 showing 9.3% of people met vegetable intake recommendations and only 12.2% consumed the recommended fruit intake. 

We inherently know vegetables are good for us, so why don’t we eat them?

Well, many people under eat vegetables mainly due to convenience or because they don’t enjoy them. We also know that some of the most powerful superfoods aren’t easy to find in the local supermarket unless it's a high-end health food store. Even if they were, most people don’t know how to use ingredients like spirulina, chlorella, matcha & alfalfa. So that is why we have packed our greens supplement with 12 powerful ingredients like this along with digestive enzymes to help support your digestive system. 

Digestive enzymes are important when it comes to helping your body break down and digest the foods you’re consuming. Especially because most people don’t take the time to slow down, chew their food properly and eat without distraction - all which are important to helping your body properly breakdown food and turn it into usable substances in the body.

Additionally, our bodies slow down the production of digestive enzymes due to fast paced lifestyle/stress, aging, and the amount of convenient processed foods we consume. Therefore, incorporating the greens with enzymes can be beneficial in not only getting the nutrients you're missing from not eating enough fruits and vegetables, but also being able to better absorb the nutrients you get from whole food.

A lack of essential greens can lead to many of the most common ailments that you might be struggling with every day! These include:

  • Bloating/Gas 
  • Frequent Colds 
  • Fatigue/Lethargy
  • Constipation

3) Eat well rounded meals and incorporate protein at every meal 

Keep meals as simple and balanced as possible. It is easy to load up on carbs when on vacation, so we recommend focusing on building balanced meals with protein and veggies first, then carbs and fats.

A lot of digestive issues arise due to consuming foods that aren't in our typical diet at home or from an overabundance of fried foods, sugar and alcohol. All of these foods are a stress to the body and can ‘bog’ your system down compared to one ingredient, whole foods.

If you’re someone who really struggles with digestion when traveling, you want to be cautious of certain foods. Vacations are a time for us to enjoy and indulge a bit, but it isn’t worth being constipated or running to the bathroom frequently.

Here are a few tips if you find yourself with an upset stomach or travelers diarrhea: 

  • Avoid eating greasy foods that are high in fat and avoid very high-fiber foods.
  • Skip the caffeine.
  • Don't eat or drink dairy products.
  • Stay away from foods and drinks with a lot of sugar, including alcohol. Stick with things that are lower in calories and sugar.

4) Bring your own snacks - don’t get caught empty handed!

One of the best ways to avoid putting more stress on your digestive system is to try and stay in your routine as much as possible. Packing snacks also helps you spend less money, prevent you from getting overly hungry (or hangry!) and make healthier choices! These are some of our favorite snacks to pack for the road:

  • Protein powder mixed with greens
  • Collagen powder (protein powder and collagen are both great mixed with coffee in place of creamer)
  • Protein bars (aim to have at least 10g protein per 100 calories)
  • Unsweetened Oatmeal packets (add a ½ scoop proteinwith an oatmeal packet for a nutrient dense breakfast or snack anytime!)
  • Nut butter packets/raw nuts
  • Tuna pouches or canned tuna/chicken
  • Rice cakes (pair with nut butter)
  • Organic jerky
  • Microwavable rice pouches 
  • English muffins (pair with nut butter)
  • Fruit (ones that don’t squish easily like apple, oranges and banana)
  • Veggies (carrots, cucumber, bell peppers, radishes or celery)

 5) MOVE! 

Aim to get at least 30 min of a workout in! Don’t have access to a gym? Don’t use that as an excuse... bring a resistance band or jump rope if you have one or just do bodyweight work or a quick every minute on the minute (EMOM) workout. 

Depending on where you are, one of the best ways to get movement is simply walking. You can also be adventurous and rent a bike, go for a hike, or hit the trails running! We also recommend doing a bit of mobility and stretching to help offset the time spent relaxing at the pool or sitting when traveling. 

While it may not always be easy, exercising while traveling will help reduce stress, promote better sleep, and increase your energy levels. Further, exercise such as walking, yoga, deep breathing exercises have proven beneficial for your overall health, including reducing stress on your gut and improving digestion.

Brisk walking for around 30-40 minutes daily keeps digestive problems at bay as it stimulates the intestinal contractility, helping with the passage of stool through the colon.

In conclusion, a little bit of planning and focus can help your digestion tremendously when traveling. All of these things are foundational habits and things you should be mindful day-to-day, but even more so when you are traveling or going through a high stress time.

Our bodies need support and nourishment daily to function properly. If you truly want to look and feel your best, you need to be following a good nutrition plan, drinking plenty of water, and moving your body every day! 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/66/wr/mm6645a1.htm?s_cid=mm6645a1_w

https://www.solairus.aero/importance-hydration-traveling/


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