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How to have a healthy holiday

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Top tips from our experts on how to make the most of the holiday feeling...

1. Boost your immune system

According to researchers, one in five airline passengers gets ill within a week of flying. And, according to the study, published in The Journal of the American Medical Association, so-called ‘leisure sickness’ leaves sufferers with headaches and cold and flu-like symptoms.

Though studies examining the difference between recycled air and fresh air on an aircraft remain inconclusive, there is a clear link between travelling on an airplane and an increased risk of getting a cold. A spokesman for British Airways said: "the issue is not about air travel as such but one of proximity. If you have 400 people sitting close together on an eight-hour flight to New York, germs [are bound to] spread.”

Try giving your immune system a boost by upping your intake of vitamin C about a week before you travel. You might also benefit from a pelargonium supplement, such as Pelargonium cold relief THR, which is proven to help ward off runny noses and coughs.

2. Guard your gut

The last thing you want when you go on holiday is a stomach bug – or ‘traveller’s tummy’ – as its commonly referred to. But stomach bugs and diarrhoea are fairly common-place among travellers. Why? “Most of our immune system is located in the gut,” explains Professor Glenn Gibson, head of food microbial sciences at Reading University. “We change our diet and lifestyle on holiday and often our level of exercise, too – all of which influences our digestion and immunity.”

Experts recommend taking probiotics (aka ‘friendly bacteria’) to prepare your digestive system to cope with foreign bacteria and prevent symptoms of traveller’s tummy from ruining your trip. A 2010 Cochrane review reported that probiotics can reduce infectious diarrhoea in both children and adults. Taking a supplement for approximately one week before you travel could also help normalise your digestions, reducing the likelihood of constipation and bloating. Try Healthspan’s Super50 Pro, which supports immunity and energy metabolism.

3. Protect your skin

“Summer can be a challenging time for your complexion, leaving it more parched than peachy”, says beauty expert Trish Lesslie. “It’s long been known that exposure to the sun’s UV rays is one of the biggest causes of premature ageing, so protect your skin by limiting exposure between 11:30AM and 3:30PM, wear a wide-brimmed hat and always use SPF.” Try Nurture Daily UV Defence SPF50 to guarantee protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Already feeling the burn? “Soothe the soreness of sunburn and reduce inflammation with an after-sun lotion or spray. Avoid hot baths and showers until the redness and swelling have subsided and keep burnt areas out of the sun”, says Trisha.

4. Make sure you drink enough

The amount of water you need to replace your fluid losses varies from day to day. Typical fluid loss tends to be around two to three litres a day, but can be up to six litres if you travel to a hotter climate.

“The brain is particularly sensitive to dehydration, resulting in tiredness, poor concentration, reduced short-term memory, headache and mood changes such as agitation, impatience and feeling stressed”, says Dr Sarah Brewer. Make sure you carry water with you at all times whilst on holiday, but avoid drinking from the local taps which can cause stomach upset. If you’re really suffering, you might benefit from drinking electrolytes, found in the like of Lucozade, which help replenish the trace minerals and salts lost through sweat.

5. Increase circulation

Staying cramped in an airline seat for up to four hours or not getting out to stretch your legs during a long car or coach ride can lead to deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is when a blood clot forms in the leg and can travel around the body - in some cases with fatal consequences.

As well as taking general precautions, such as getting up and walking about, taking a Pycnogenol supplement could help. Pycnogenol contains pine bark extract, which is good for circulation problems and could help prevent disorders of the heart and blood vessels. Moreover, the antioxidant flavonoids in Pycnogenol combine to aid circulation and strengthen capillaries, encouraging blood flow to the legs and feet. 

The Nutrition Expert editorial team compiles articles with the help of Healthspan's experts to answer key questions from our community as well as researching common health topics and news.

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No statement or article should be understood as providing treatment advice. If you have a health problem consult your GP and check compatibility of new supplements with your GP or Pharmacist if you are taking any prescription medication.

Nutrition Expert sources the latest information and advice from a range of qualified doctors, nutritionists and coaches. We always endeavour to have the most up to date information possible and publish new content weekly. However with the constant research in this field sometimes some of our older articles can become out of date. If you see anything that you believe needs to be updated please let us know via our Contact Us page