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Now that travel restrictions have eased, most are eager to say bon voyage to last year’s stuck-at-home mandates. But before you embark on that fall foray or family holiday, prepare yourself for safer travel: Amp up immunity and arm your body against stomach bugs, sleepless nights and other ordinary woes that can interrupt your long-awaited vacay. Try these five natural solutions – before and during your travels – to ensure smooth sailing on all your adventures.
Before You Go: Bolster Your Defenses
Even without the threat of a pandemic, you may be exposed to plenty of bugs on a plane – along with unfamiliar pathogens and other unknowns once you reach your destination. Bolster defenses before you go, with a combo formula that blends science-backed ingredients. Choose one with vitamin D, shown in some research to enhance immune response and reduce the risk of respiratory infections, plus zinc, elderberry and echinacea for added support. Look for formulas with Ester-C, a patented form of vitamin C, which appears to be highly bioavailable. It may help prevent coughs and sniffles from ruining your fun. Start taking immune formulas a couple of weeks before you head out, and choosing an extended support formula may be helpful in keeping you healthy when you get where you’re going.
Try: Nature’s Bounty Immune 24 Hour + with Ester-C, $10 for 50, naturesbounty.com
Protect Your Belly
Changes in climate and diet, upsets in routine, even travel stress and lack of sleep can lead to constipation, diarrhea and all kinds of stomach woes. Get your gut ready before you go with a high-quality probiotic that may assist in promoting regularity. A growing body of research suggests that probiotics may also have the potential to enhance digestion and significantly reduce the risk of diarrhea, support immunity and protect against respiratory infections. Choose one with at least 50 billion CFUs and a wide range of strains. Raw, whole-food formulas made with kefir, yogurt, fruits and vegetables may be rich in diverse probiotic varieties plus live nutrients and enzymes. You may find added support with one that includes protein-digesting enzymes. Start probiotics at least two weeks before you leave (it takes bacteria time to colonize), and keep taking them throughout your trip. Shelf-stable versions that don’t require refrigeration make life easier.
Try: Garden of Life Ultimate Care Raw Probiotics (shelf-stable), $57 for 30, gardenoflife.com
While You’re There: Sleep Sounder
Travel stresses, new environments and shifts in routine wreak havoc on sleep. Plus, changes in time zones can upset your circadian rhythm, the body’s natural sleep-wake cycle. Promote sounder shut-eye with melatonin, a hormone naturally produced by the pineal gland that lets your body know it’s time for slumber. Research suggests taking melatonin supplements before bed may be helpful in decreasing the time it takes to fall asleep and increase duration and quality of sleep. And because the body’s melatonin works in part by synchronizing circadian rhythms, melatonin supplements may be a good choice for cross-country trips
and to help decrease jet lag – even when crossing multiple time zones. Choose a liquid or sublingual tablet or lozenge for faster absorption. You can also find formulas that blend melatonin with herbs that may have a calming effect, like passionflower, chamomile or lemon balm.
Try: Source Naturals Sleep Science Melatonin, $9 for 100 1 mg, sourcenaturals.com
Muscle aches, headaches and joint stiffness from long hours of driving or cramped airplane seats can put a damper on your dream vacation. Make travel more comfortable with a turmeric extract. Curcumin, its main active ingredient, may assist in easing inflammation, minimizing joint stiffness and soothing pain. And some research suggests curcumin may have the potential to help relieve anxiety and improve mood. Choose a high-potency turmeric supplement as it may offer the fastest relief. A whole-foods formula with fruit extracts and, for more support, holy basil, an herb revered in Ayurvedic medicine for its anti-
inflammatory properties and other health benefits, may be a smart choice. Because curcumin is hard to absorb, look for one with piperine; this bioactive component of black pepper significantly increases absorption and may have some pain-relieving benefits of its own.
Try: MegaFood Turmeric Extra Strength Whole Body, $35 for 60, megafood.com
Ease Tummy Troubles
Nausea, indigestion or upset stomach? Activated charcoal may help keep those belly woes at bay. It’s made by burning coconut shells, wood, bamboo or other carbon-rich materials, then processing the burned materials at very high in a fine black powder with a highly porous texture. Activated charcoal works by binding to certain toxins in the gut, preventing their absorption and escorting them from the body. It’s sometimes used in emergency rooms to treat poisoning
and overdoses, and studies show activated charcoal can significantly reduce the absorption of many ingested toxins when taken as soon as possible, usually within an hour after ingestion. It’s used to treat mild food poisoning, and some research suggests it may ease gas, bloating and indigestion. Choose easy-to-tote capsules instead of messy powders, and take it with plenty of water to avoid dehydration. If you’re taking prescription medications, check with your doctor before taking activated charcoal, since it can interfere with their absorption.
Try: Nature’s Way Activated Charcoal, $12 for 100, naturesway.com
Discover more ways you can use supplements to stay healthy as you travel year-round: