The Art of Healthy Travel – Manila Bulletin

Your practical guide to a worry-free holiday

As alert levels have dropped and restrictions have eased, many people are eager to travel after being locked down for two years. Not to discourage anyone, but it is prudent to take precautions all the same. Whether COVID-19 is hiding or not, we should always stay healthy, especially when we travel. You wouldn’t want to get sick in the middle of your dream vacation now, would you?

Safe travels

Checkup

Being a healthy traveler starts before the actual trip. If you have a medical condition and haven’t seen your doctor due to the pandemic, take the time to schedule a health check just to ensure you are physically fit to travel. Whether it’s a domestic flight or a long-haul flight.

Rest and sleep

Every traveler goes through the frenzy, days or even weeks before a trip. Trying to meet deadlines at work, packing and just getting things in order before you leave. This phase often leaves them sleep deprived and exhausted. Don’t fall into this trap. Sleep is essential for maintaining your immune system and energy levels. Make a conscious effort to rest and take that much-needed nap, especially the days before your trip. You will be more productive if you are well rested. Do you have trouble sleeping? Try wearing a soft sleep mask to block out light and help you produce more of the sleep hormone melatonin for good quality sleep.

To be active

When packing your things, include comfortable walking shoes or running shoes. Exploring places by taking more than 10,000 steps a day without hurting your feet will surely improve your blood circulation and cardiorespiratory endurance. This will help you burn the calories from the foods you enjoyed on the trip. Being physically active while traveling is a great way to boost your metabolism and immune system. Swim, walk, whatever it takes, just move.

Hydrate regularly

Carry an empty water bottle with you and have it refilled during a flight to stay hydrated. Get your hydration from pure water or calorie-free sparkling water instead of drinking high-calorie beverages like sodas and other concoctions that aren’t made from 100% fruit juice. One way to test your hydration level is to check the color of your urine. It should be clear or light-colored. Dark colored urine indicates dehydration. It could suppress your immune system and affect blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.

Supplement if needed

Eating adequate amounts of fresh produce from fruits and vegetables can be difficult for some when traveling simply because they may not be readily available during transport. Plant food sources contain plant chemicals or phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals, and fiber that help prevent disease, nourish good bacteria in the digestive tract or gut, and promote good bowel habits. Travel and changes in sleep patterns alter the gut microbiome. The good bacteria in the gut are depleted, affecting how we break down nutrients and compromising the immune system. We all know traveler’s diarrhea, right? Although contaminated food and water can be the main culprit, some people simply have loose stools due to changes in their gut microbiome.

With guidance from your Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, start improving your gut health by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains like brown rice even before you travel. You can also bring probiotic capsules and some functional foods like wheatgrass, barley, soybeans, mushrooms, vegetable extracts, and other plant foods in powdered form on your trip. This will ensure that you feed yourself despite the lack of fresh produce in your diet during your trip.

Remember to always prioritize your health and nutrition, especially when traveling. Be a healthy traveler.

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