By Nutritionist Fiona Campbell for CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).
As you start thinking about your travel insurance, sunscreen and insect repellent, you might also be interested to understand how you can reduce your risk of developing Montezuma’s Revenge (or traveller’s tummy as it’s often called) whilst you’re away.
It’s not just about avoiding the local tap water, it’s about ensuring the health of your digestion prior to travelling. The lining of your digestive tract is where our intestinal bacteria reside, and these bacteria provide the first line of defence against pathogenic bacteria, yeasts and parasites.
Prepare Your Gut Before Your Holiday
Probiotic foods are those that ‘feed’ the good bacteria in the gut and include bananas, Jerusalem artichokes, whole rolled oats, and avocados. Garlic, cinnamon, onions, thyme, rosemary, oregano and fresh lemon juice not only make your food taste great, they also help to discourage the ‘bad guys’ from taking up residence. If you increase your intake of these foods and decrease your intake of any foods which upset your digestion such as wheat, dairy, caffeine and alcohol, you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, happier tummy before you board the plane.
Natural Supplements to Build Up Defences
There are two natural supplements you should consider if you want to build up your defences before you go away:
1. A high quality probiotic supplement containing Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus acidophilus. These are two key strains of bacteria which colonise your digestive lining and lower the pH (amongst many other things). This makes the environment more acidic and much less favourable to occupation by unwanted microbes.
- Grapefruit seed extractis rich in antioxidants, and studies have shown that it can safely decrease populations of harmful bacteria, both in food product packaging and within the digestive tract.
Natural Care for Traveller’s Tummy
If you do develop traveller’s diarrhoea while you’re on holiday, the most important thing to do is keep well hydrated and avoid any irritants such as alcohol and caffeine. Beyond this, the herb Goldenseal can be highly effective for helping acute diarrhoea that has been caused by microbial infection, provided that you take it at the recommended dose. A mix of bananas, browned grated apple and cinnamon can also help.
If diarrhoea persists for more than two days, or if you notice any blood in your stools, it’s important to seek professional medical advice.
Nutritionist Fiona Campbell is a graduate of CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). CNM is the UK’s leading training provider in a range of natural therapies, with colleges across the UK and Ireland. To find out more about CNM courses, visit www.naturopathy-uk.com