Gut Prep: How to Stay Healthy While Traveling
Traveling is great. It opens our mind, fosters our sense of adventure, and can take us away from our normal life for some much-needed R&R. But for our gut… well, travel can be a bit stressful.
Travelling can mean poor food choices, jet lag, and a shakeup to our routine (guts are a creature of habit, they work best when there is a sense of familiarity).
Depending on where we are traveling, there is also the risk of contracting traveler’s diarrhea; an illness that affects 20-50% of people visiting from industrialized countries to high-risk developing one’s.1
What does this mean for a gut far away from home? It can mean constipation, bloating, general discomfort, or if we do become infected with traveler’s diarrhea, loose stools, abdominal cramping, and nausea.
To help reduce digestive issues when you’re away from home, we’ve put together our Healthy Travel Plan. The things you can do before, during and after your trip to keep your gut healthy, so you minimize your risk for digestive discomfort and maximize the reward of vacation enjoyment.
Boost Your Immune System
Foreign places mean foreign germs, which makes boosting your immune system before you leave, a valuable step in your travel planning.
Your gut plays a vital role in your ability to fight off germs. When it is healthy, your gut produces a mucous membrane which in turn secretes antimicrobial molecules that can destroy or inhibit the growth of illness-causing bacteria.
Your 'good bacteria' also have a crucial role to play. 'Good bacteria' act as a natural line of defense against foreign invaders. When your microbiome (aka your gut bacteria) is balanced and diverse, it can prevent bacteria and viruses from passing into your bloodstream.
Taking a daily dose of probiotics before your trip has been shown to be an effective way to prevent Traveler's diarrhea when abroad.2 As a bonus, probiotics are also a natural tool to help promote regularity, which can help prevent constipation and bloating that may result from lack of sleep and poor food choices.3
To prepare your gut for travel, start by taking 1 capsule of Bio-K+ 30 Billion Travel Protection, 3 to 5 days before your vacation.
While You’re Away
Whether you are visiting an exotic land, or just on the other side of the country catching up with family, being out of your normal element can have an impact on your digestion.
If you are traveling to a 'high-risk' region (South/Central America, The Caribbean, South Asia, Africa or the Middle East) extra precaution should be taken to prevent illness from occurring.
While it is essential to stay hydrated to prevent constipation, only drink boiled or bottled water. Watch out for ice and raw fruits and veggies (unless they have a skin you can peel) that have been made or washed with untreated water.
Be mindful of foods that provide the 'perfect conditions' for bacteria to grow: undercooked meats and fish, food left at room temperature for long periods of time, and unpasteurized dairy products like milk and cheese.
When it comes to choosing where to eat, typically home cooked food is the safest, followed by restaurant food, while street food is the most significant offender. But nothing is foolproof. Washing your hands with soap and warm water before you eat, reduces the risk from developing diarrhea by 30%.4
To keep your immune system strong during your trip, continue with 1-2 capsules per day of Bio-K+ 30 Billion Travel Protection.
When You Return
Just because you are home, doesn’t mean your gut health returns to normal. In fact, Traveler’s Diarrhea can still develop up to two weeks after you return from your trip.5
To get your gut back on track when you get home, get back into your routine and healthy diet, including lots of leafy greens, fermented foods, plenty of fluids, and quality rest.
As for your probiotic dose, it is advised to continue with 1 capsule per day of Bio-K+ 30 Billion Travel Protection for 3 to 5 days post-trip. After that, you can switch over to our drinkable probiotics, or try our 12.5 Billion Capsules to maintain digestive health. If you did become ill while away and required a dose of antibiotics we suggest you look into our antibiotic protocol to prevent Antibiotic Associated Diarrhea and restore the population of healthy bacteria.
What About Children?
Kids are especially at high risk for developing traveler’s diarrhea when abroad and suffer more severe consequences if they do contract the disease.6 Good hand washing practices with soap and warm are always recommended. If this is not available, it is advised to use a waterless hand sanitizer that is suitable for children. When it comes to consuming a probiotic, Bio-K+ 30 Billion Travel Protection is a great option for children over 6, and can follow the same prevention protocol as above.
If you have additional questions on how probiotics can work for you while away, let us know! Comment below, send us an email, join our community or get in touch on Facebook or Instagram. To stock up on Bio-K+ for your trip find a store near you.