Stay Healthy when travelling by air
Boosting your family’s immune system before you board a plane is a great way to prepare for your trip. It’s easy to catch a cold on a plane, so maintaining a high level of immunity is essential to ensure you arrive at your destination ready to explore, relax and enjoy. Some simple swaps can help you do that. Modern western airports are full of outlets selling snacks or meals packed with sugar, salt and caffeine. Whilst these are tempting, after all you are on holiday, sugar is known to lower immunity, so limiting or if possible avoiding sweet sugary foods is a good idea. Substitute the sugar with immune boosting foods rich in vitamin C, zinc and omega 3 fatty acids, such as fruit, vegetables, lamb, oily fish, nuts and seeds.
The mucous membranes that line our mouths and noses act as our first line of defence against bacteria and viruses, but their effectiveness can be compromised if you become dehydrated. The atmosphere and cabin humidity has been proven to have a dehydrating effect. Combine that with the consumption of salty snacks, tea, coffee, and alcohol, and you will be giving your body a bigger challenge to stay in optimal health. Make sure the whole family drink lots of water, taking little sips throughout your flight. Tea, coffee and alcohol and sugary drinks are tempting but will only dehydrate you too, save those for when you get to the hotel bar!
Reducing jet lag
Reducing the symptoms of jet lag will improve everybody’s holidays all round (no tired little ones up in the night!) Sleep pattern changes especially for children can affect their mood, concentration and behaviour. Some strategies, which may be helpful, include balancing blood sugar levels by eating regularly, including protein with meals and avoiding high glycemic load foods. These are the foods, which will rapidly raise blood sugar levels after eating such as bread, cakes or pasta.
Getting outside in the light, and going to bed in a dark room can also help your body to adjust to time zones. Prior to bedtime eating a light snack of foods rich in tryptophan with folic acid, vitamins B6, C and zinc can help production of melatonin, our sleep hormone. Foods to pack for this purpose include nuts (especially almonds), seeds and oatcakes. Other beneficial fresh foods, which you may be able to buy at your destination, include hummus, natural yoghurt and bananas.
A valuable addition to your wash bag may be a small pot of magnesium oil spray. Using magnesium oil directly on the skin can aid relaxation, support restful sleep and be useful during the flight and for those first few nights. Just remember to be included in your hand baggage the pot must be under 100ml.
Ensure Healthy Digestion
The change of water, climate, food and time zone can also affect our digestion. Keeping this healthy whilst away is vital for energy levels, our immune system and general well being. Boosting friendly gut bacteria before the holiday and during travel can help to keep this environment optimal. Eating natural live yoghurt and supplementing with probiotics can be beneficial. Probiotics can also be purchased freeze dried and therefore suitable for travel and for children the capsules can be opened and sprinkled directly on food or mixed into drinks.
Keeping well hydrated and active will also lessen potential constipation. If this becomes a problem increasing soluble fibre with foods such as rice, beans, chickpeas, vegetables and fruit such as apples may be beneficial alongside magnesium rich foods such as nuts, avocado and sweet corn.
Hopefully, these top tips and pre-planning will help to ensure you and your family have a happy, healthy holiday and return home invigorated and refreshed.