[dropcap size=big]O[/dropcap]ur health is something we often take for granted.
If you come down with the flu or a rotten head cold, a quick trip to the doctor and a few days under the duvet watching re runs of your favourite TV shows will see that you’re soon on the mend. However for those who find themselves unwell abroad, a quick fix isn’t always quite so simple.
Medical insurance can be expensive, may not always be available, and the opportunity to lay on the couch and catch up with your favourite box set is unlikely to materialise.
If you’re unwell you are missing out on the opportunity to explore, or at best you’re having a fraction of the fun you would be having if you were on top form.
Sadly infections are as inevitable as death and taxes.
While we spend our youth teaching our immune system to fend off the most common bugs and microbes in the hope that when they come to visit again we’re equipped to give them the boot, travel opens the door to exotic nasties that can break down our defences with ease.
[divider] BOOST YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM BEFORE YOU TRAVEL [/divider]
Not all immune systems function alike. There’s a reason why some of us seem more susceptible to colds and flu; its because there are a number of factors that affect immune system health.
Some you can control, others you can’t.
When it comes to travel it’s the exotic but endemic microbes found in water and on food that cause problems, along with factors associated with leaving the comforts of home behind.
Increased stress, reduced sleep, changes in altitude, confined and crowded spaces; these are all commonly associated with international travel and can reduce your immune system’s ability to fend off invading bacteria.
Navigate through the tabs below to find out more ↓
[cbtabs][cbtab title=”RESOLVE TO STRESS LESS”]When you’re stressed your adrenal glands pump out adrenaline in an effort to keep you alert and able to cope, and while short bursts of intense stress can aid your immune system, the long term affects serve only to weaken your defences.
In the lead up to your trip do your best to keep a cool head by preparing for your departure in advance. Resolve any concerns you have regarding your itinerary and research your destination.
Stress reducing activities such as yoga and meditation have also been shown to have a positive effect on the immune system, so incorporating a few downward dogs into your daily routine may help.[/cbtab]
[cbtab title=”GET ACTIVE”]Exercise can aid is reducing stress and activating the digestive and immune systems, so a hearty 45 minutes of aerobic exercise each day will likely serve to reduce your risk of illness when you travel.
There’s also some research into the fact that aerobic exercise in cold weather actually reduces the risk of winter colds and flu, so regardless of the season get outside and get your blood pumping. Here’s some great advice from the Texas Heart Institute regarding exercising outdoors in cooler climes.[/cbtab]
[cbtab title=”IMMUNIZE AGAINST DISEASE”]Depending on your destination there’ll likely be a few vaccinations you’ll be recommended to have before you jet off abroad. While practitioners of natural health may advise you against these preventive toxins, it would be wise to research your options and choose a programme in which you feel confident.
Routine vaccinations have assisted in reducing, and in some cases eradicating a number of infectious diseases, however there are natural alternatives which some believe negate the need for chemical intervention.
If you’re considering taking the natural approach to preventative medicine I recommend researching the subject. Holistic Squid shares her thoughts here.[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
[cbtabs][cbtab title=”SUPPLEMENT YOUR DIET”]Deficiencies of zinc, selenium, folic acid and vitamins A, B6, C, D and E have been linked to a weakened immune system but there’s no conclusive theory detailing optimum levels of these nutrients for good immune health.
Consuming a varied, plant based diet and a daily multi vitamin is the recommended protocol for immune boosting prowess, just don’t overdose on the micro nutrients as studies have shown this can also lead to ill health.[/cbtab]
[cbtab title=”GET HERBAL”]Echinacea, eleuthero, ginseng and astragalus are just a few of the medicinal plants that boost immune system activity.
Packing a few of these happy herbs into your suitcase when you travel will offer relief from the first symptoms of illness on the road and might just be the boost you need to power through unaffected.
Incorporate fresh herbs and immune boosting foods into your diet before and during your travels. Raw garlic, fresh mint, coriander and antioxidant rich berries are a great addition to a balanced meal. A sprinkling of nuts and seeds are also great for a boost of heart healthy fats.[/cbtab]
[cbtab title=”AVOID EMPTY CALORIES”]Chances are if you’re heading off for a beach vacation you’ll be avoiding fast foods and sweets in the lead up to your departure. However, as well as ensuring you’ll look good in your swimsuit on the beach, watching what you eat can also reduce your risk of ill health.
Processed foods don’t offer much in the way of nutritional value and often contain nasty additives and chemicals that may not be so good for your insides. Don’t risk depleting your reserves of essential nutrients and steer clear of packaged foods before your travel.[/cbtab][/cbtabs]
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Do you have any tips for better travel health? Share your comments with us below.