Long-haul holidays are full of fun: blue skies, beaches and fantastic food. Aside from all the joys that a holiday can bring, research shows that at least 20% of travellers are struck down with the dreaded traveller’s tummy, which can leave you confined to your hotel room and not having much fun at all.
To ensure that tummy troubles don’t ruin your trip, here are my top tips about how to take care of your stomach while travelling, allowing you the restful holiday you deserve:
1. Try fermented foods
Boost your levels of good gut bacteria by eating fermented foods in the lead up to your holiday to promote healthy digestion and influence immunity. Fermented foods are part of traditional cuisines across the world, from Korean kimchi and Japanese miso to sauerkraut and milk drinks like kefir. If you’re holidaying closer to home, a pot of live natural yoghurt at the breakfast buffet every day can help boost your good bacteria intake, giving your tummy the best chance to ward off infection.
2. Be Prepared
Traveller’s diarrhoea has hit up to 50% of us during our travels. Food and drinking water contaminated by pathogenic bacteria, like E. coli, Salmonella and Shigella, is a common cause. While most cases will clear up in a few days, traveller’s diarrhoea can last longer and ruin your trip. Some old over-the-counter treatments for diarrhoea work to slow down bowel movements, with toxins remaining in the digestive tract. Instead of using such drugs to tackle travellers tummy, I recommend Enterosgel (www.enterosgel.co.uk), an innovative intestinal adsorbent which acts by removing bacterial toxins from your gut naturally with the stool. Enterosgel is drug-free, effective and safe for the whole family, working quickly to reduce duration of diarrhoea and offer relief to ensure you can get back to enjoying your holidays. Start taking Enterosgel as soon as you see any sign of traveller’s diarrhoea; simply stir the gel into water and drink. Enterosgel acts quickly and it’s safe for the whole family, so it’s a smart addition to your suitcase. Make sure you also sip water across the day to replace lost fluids.
3. Get enough fibre
While you might worry about diarrhoea on holiday, constipation is also common. Excited by so many new foods to try, we often skip fruit and veg and turn towards refined carbs: croissants, rice, potatoes. But not being able to go to the toilet can be frustrating and even painful on holiday. Fibre keeps you regular, so seek it out. Enjoy lentil curries while in India, order a vegetable side dish at that beach-side restaurant or go shopping at the local market for local fruit – err on the safe side by choosing varieties you can peel, like mangoes.
4. Drink bottled water
If the water at your destination isn’t safe to drink, switch to bottled water for everything – hydration, washing fruit, even brushing your teeth. Avoid ice, including chipped or crushed ice in desserts and drinks. In hot weather, this can feel like a real challenge. But most street food stalls and all hotels will serve cold drinks without ice if you ask, and bottled water is cheap and plentiful. Believe me, your stomach will thank you! Always carry a bottle of water with you, to avoid dehydration and reduce the chance of constipation on holiday.
5. Eat like the locals
It’s tempting to stick to pizza and pasta on holiday, especially if you have kids or a sensitive stomach. Eating the local cuisine usually means fresh food and high turnover – and the chance to sample something new. Look for the food stall with the longest line of locals and eat at their meal times. Street food is usually cooked at high temperatures, killing off bacteria, and made-to-order meals are less likely to bother your tummy. Avoid pre-peeled and chopped fruit and uncooked vegetables, like salads.
6. Take time to go slow
While the lead up to a big trip is exciting, there’s often work and chores to cram in before taking that precious time off. Then it’s up early to make your flight, queue for ages at customs, fly for hours and adjust to a different time zone while exploring a new city. The truth is, travelling is tiring – and stress, even the positive kind, negatively impacts our immune system and digestion. To lower your chances of a stomach bug on holiday, make time for siestas, plan just one main activity a day and build in time to sit by the pool. Just slow down and enjoy the sunsets!