Monday, Dec 11, 2023

Six Common Travel Illnesses - How to Treat Them


Adventure! Indulgence! It's a break from the routine. These things make traveling a joy. However, they can also cause problems for our systems.

Henry Emmons MD, integrative psychiatrist, author of The Chemistry of Joy, says that even if you travel for pleasure, it is still inherently stressful. "There is just so much going on."

It may be difficult to have the food and resources that we need to feel great at home. The excitement of novelty can also lead to greater exposure to psychological and physiological stressors.

These discomforts are often considered the price of traveling. However, there are simple lifestyle and nutrition tips that can help you feel steady and strong.

These strategies will help you overcome the most common travel problems.

Fear of flying

Some people experience racing hearts, shallow breathing and clammy hands when they board a plane. This can lead to a cloudy mind, racing heart, clammy hands and racing heart. Emmons says that it's a mini panic attack. "Your body is going into fight-or flight mode with too much adrenaline. It is impossible to talk yourself out of this situation.

There are other options. Consider supplementing with magnesium about a week prior to your trip, says Samantha McKinney (RD, CPT), a nutritionist and Life Time master trainer. She recommends magnesium malate or glycinate.

You can avoid anxiety by emphasizing fat and protein in your meals and mid-flight snacks.

McKinney says that cortisol is released when you are anxious. This can spike blood sugar and make you more vulnerable to glucose swings. McKinney recommends choosing nuts, seeds and cheese over starchy or sugary foods.

Emmons says that calming supplements like passionflower, cannabidiol (CBD), or L-theanine can help. This is especially true when they are in liquid tinctures. Another travel friendly option is Rescue Remedy. It's a combination of five relaxing flower essences. These can be used before or on-the-spot to relieve pain.

Breathing exercises can be a great way to get grounded, even in the air. Emmons says that if your breathing slows down, it sends a signal the sympathetic nervous system to tell it it can stop."

He suggests:

Hold the breath for four counts. Then exhale to seven.

He notes that counting is another distraction. These are other breathing exercises you might like.

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Motion sickness

Motion sickness is when you feel something different than what you see (movement), and what you feel (sitting still). McKinney explains that the body uses different mechanisms in order to sense your equilibrium and balance. Your brain may have trouble processing if there is a mismatch in the visual and inner-ear information that help you to know where you are within space.

Emmons points out that maintaining blood sugar levels stable can help prevent motion sickness. He suggests eating moderately-sized snacks that contain some fat and protein. You can think of carrot sticks, hummus, or high-protein granola bars. You want fiber that is slow to digest.

Sara Jean Barrett, ND, says that ginger is another proven tool to calm nausea. Gin Gins are individually wrapped ginger chews that she likes to carry around in her bag or pocket.

Peppermint oil can also be used to calm upset stomachs. Emmons says that aromatherapy has the advantage of being absorbed into your body instantly. "Anything that you inhale will experience a time lag."

If you are familiar with your motion sickness, homeopathic remedies such as tabacum and nux vomica can be an option. Barrett explains that tabacum can be used if the nausea is worsened by warmth, while nux vomica is useful for those who feel less chilly.

These remedies can be taken as tablets or small pellets, which dissolve under the tongue. (Learn more on homeopathy by visiting "What Is Homeopathy ?"

It can help to keep your eyes on the horizon. Barrett says that acupressure bracelets, which put pressure on the Nei-Kuan (or P6) acupressure point, can provide additional relief. This is located three fingers from your base on your inner wrist. You can also gently press the spot on each wrist at once.

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Jet Lag

Anyone who has ever slept through the night on a flight before knows how travel can impact sleep. You can't sleep well if you add in stress, time zones changes, and new environments.

Barrett suggests that you adapt quickly to any time zone when traveling. She suggests that you eat meals that are in sync with your current location. "Eat breakfast if it's morning when your land." Morning sunlight is one of the best ways to adjust your internal clock.

Make your last meal lighter and eat earlier. "If your body is digesting food at night, you won't sleep as well," says Emmons.

McKinney says that a small amount of carbs can be added to a protein-rich meal to support serotonin or melatonin production. She says that adding sweet potato or quinoa into a meal can help to improve overall sleepiness.

A good way to reset your circadian rhythm is to take 1 to 3 mgs of melatonin 30 minutes before you go to bed. Barrett says that higher doses don't cause more effect; they only make you feel worse the next day.

She suggests that melatonin be used for multiple nights if you are traveling in many time zones. Sublingual melatonin is also available in chewable tablets.

At bedtime, a tincture of passionflower (cannabidiol), or a combination of cannabinoids CBD and CBN (cannabinol), may help calm your mind. You can easily pack sleep-promoting tea packets with valerian root or chamomile hops, passionflower, and place them in your bag.

Even if you are traveling in the same time zone as your home, it is possible to encounter challenges due to changes in routines or environments. McKinney notes that the circadian rhythm is linked to how we exercise each day and what food we eat. McKinney notes that if this routine is disrupted from its usual pattern, it can lead to disruptions in sleep.

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Changes in routines, stress levels, and new environments can all affect our sleep. Emmons notes that people are more likely to travel and have less time for themselves. "The GI system shuts down for a lot people," says Emmons.

It is harder to make mindful food choices when you are on the go. It is possible to eat less fiber or eat more quickly. Barrett says, "All these things combine."

It is an important part of digestion. She says that flying is a great time to keep hydrated, as the recycled air from planes can quickly dehydrate you.

Always keep a water bottle, preferably with a filter in your carry-on, in your bag. Once you have passed security, fill it up. You can keep it on the plane and have regular refills. If you prefer to keep your drink secret, you can bring a reusable straw.

It is important to eat enough fiber. Barrett suggests that you bring your own high-fiber snacks and a meal prepared at home. Easy to prepare energy balls with nut butters, chia seeds and protein powder in advance.

A snack that is portable and well-balanced is carrot sticks with hummus. Prunes are an excellent choice to keep things moving.

McKinney suggests that you focus on vegetables, fruits, and beans when eating out, especially if you are grabbing meals for the go. "Be diligent in getting that fiber in." (Learn more about fiber and what foods are high fiber at "Fiber : Why it Matters More Than you Think").

Magnesium can also play a part in this. Magnesium is a key ingredient in maintaining regularity. It helps with stress and sleep, as well as keeping us healthy. McKinney states that magnesium is an excellent supplement to be taken regularly, not only when you travel.

Emmons also sells capsules of Triphala (an Ayurvedic herbal remedy which supports gut motility). He notes that while it won't cure constipation it can help to prevent it. It's better to start it a week before you travel than wait until then.

Deep-breathing exercises are a great way to keep calm on long flights or long drives. They also stimulate the vagus nerve which is crucial for healthy digestion. Learn more about the vagus nervous system at "Why the Vagus Neurone Matters for Your Health".

Take a few moments to practice gentle yoga poses once you have reached your destination. Barrett says that anything that twists your midsection is helpful. Barrett says that twisting, pinching, and large belly breaths can keep things moving. (You can start by trying these gentle, twisted yoga moves.

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Avoid getting sick

Vacations are not complete without getting sick. With the added stress of traveling and increased exposure to bugs, there is a greater chance of getting sick. Barrett says that stress will affect our immune system. "Plus, traveling can lead to more indulgences and more alcohol consumption, which will have a negative impact on the immune system."

Fortify your vitamin D levels to boost your defenses and take immune-supportive mushrooms such as maitake or reishi a few days before your departure. Barrett suggests that you have small packets of capsules or coffee you can add to your travels.

It is important to make the right food choices. McKinney says that sweetened beverages and sugary snacks are not good for healthy immune system function. McKinney recommends fresh vegetables and fruits rich in vitamin C such as strawberries, bell peppers, and citrus.

McKinney warns Emmons against using vitamin C packets as they can often be too sweet. While traveling, Emmons prefers to take vitamin C capsules of 1 to 2g twice daily. Some research has shown that adding zinc and quercetin to them may cause viral replication disruptions. Start taking them at least a week before you travel to ensure the most protection.

McKinney also uses N acetylcysteine, a precursor of glutathione (NAC), which is an immune-supportive antioxidant that can be depleted by stress and alcohol consumption. Teas that contain elderberry, licorice root or echinacea can help boost defenses while on the move.

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Some of the healthy habits we have established are almost impossible to abandon when traveling. It's possible to drink too much coffee, alcohol, eat out, or sleep less. That's okay! Emmons says, "Let yourself indulge once in a while." "Vacations are great for that!"

You don't have to be miserable if you are having fun. With a few adjustments, it's possible to compensate for the negative effects of celebratory drinking -- stomach upsets, fatigue, headaches, and hangovers.

Emmons advises that you try to not eat or drink too much before bed. A lot of problems can be avoided by staying hydrated, such as hangovers or indigestion. He suggests that you drink a large glass of water an hour before you start eating.

Supplements can be used to augment your natural digestive enzymes, which can prevent gas and bloating. McKinney suggests that you take digestive enzymes with your meals, not after, for the best results.

Barrett says that eating out three times a day can be difficult on the body. Barrett recommends that you use enzymes at the very least once per day if you have food sensitivities. A prolyl endoprotease called Aspergillus Niiger-derived enzyme can be used to break down gluten.

Lactase may be beneficial for those who are sensitive to dairy products. To help their sensitivities, others can choose a broad-spectrum enzyme.

Other methods are also possible. Barrett says that chewing gum after meals can aid in slow or sluggish digestive processes. It's also easy to keep in your bag. She explains that gum chewing stimulates saliva production and stimulates digestion.

Other useful digestive aids include ginger chews, ginger tea or peppermint tea. McKinney says that a walk after dinner can be a great way to get your digestive system working properly. McKinney says that light movement is good for the stomach.

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself regretting the food or drink choices made the night before. Bitter foods like arugula or Brussels sprouts and tart, stimulating seasonings such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice can enhance digestion and support natural enzymes.

McKinney advises McKinney to add arugula to your eggs or use bitters as a tonic. You can also add a slice of lemon to your big glass of water. Lemon juice stimulates liver function.

Nux vomica is a homeopathic remedy that can be used to treat nausea. Lycopodium can also be used to reduce gas pain and distention.

McKinney says that indulgence is fine and healthy. However, McKinney recommends taking a balanced approach. It's important to have fun when you travel for pleasure. You should have a clear picture of what you will feel like in the morning.

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Take-Away Snacks

If you don't know what is available, it's a smart strategy to bring your own food. These are some simple items you can pack.

Take off: A small container of nut butter for dipping. Sliced bell peppers, cucumbers, and prunes. Hummus, guacamole, or nut butterFlorets of broccoli or cauliflowerCheesePicklesOlivesTrail mixBananasHigh-protein, high-fiber granola barsBerriesVisiting friends or family: Dairy-alternative MilkGluten-free crackers or bread

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This article was originally published in Experience Life's November 2022 issue as "Treat Your Travel Woes".

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