Traveling can be very fun and exciting, but there are some things you have to be aware of to ensure a great trip. One of the most exciting parts about visiting other places is their cuisine. However, this can cause stomach issues if you do not take the right preventative measures. There are several things you can do to ensure that you have a great time without any stomach issues getting in the way.
While this is not related to food, it is a prevalent issue among travelers. Medline Plus explains, this occurs as a result of an inner ear disturbance. You can experience it in a vehicle, on a boat or when traveling by plane. It can cause nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. There are several ways to cope with motion sickness:
- Look at the horizon
- Consider taking a nap or keeping your eyes closed
- Open a window and get fresh air if this is possible
- Chew gum
- Use ginger
To prevent it from happening, there are medications for motion sickness that you can take. These should be taken about 30 minutes before you start traveling. For extended travel, follow the directions on the packaging for repeat dosing.
Traveler’s diarrhea occurs as a result of drinking and eating bacteria-contaminated water or food. According to Mayo Clinic, this is more common in foreign countries compared to the United States. Use the following tips to avoid experiencing this issue:
- Avoid beverages and food that are unpasteurized
- Avoid street vendors
- Avoid vegetables and fruits that have no skin
- Avoid peeled vegetables and fruits
- Ensure all meat is cooked and very hot when you receive it
- Use bottled water to brush your teeth and drink
- Avoid putting ice in your drinks if it was not made using bottled water
If traveler’s diarrhea does happen, avoid greasy foods and those that are very high in fiber or fat. Do not consume any dairy products and avoid all caffeine. Do not consume a lot of sugar. It is also vital that you drink sufficient water since diarrhea can be very dehydrating. Dehydration can make the issue worse and can cause severe symptoms that make it impossible to enjoy your trip.
Constipation is not uncommon when you are traveling since travel can make it difficult to stick with your usual diet. When you experience constipation, it can cause abdominal pain, gas, discomfort and bloating. It is essential to try to eat on the schedule you usually do to avoid this. MiraLAX details some of the most common reasons for constipation. “For most people, constipation can be traced to a few common causes such as how much fiber are they eating, their fluid intake, use of certain medications, avoiding going to the bathroom or how much of physical activity are they getting.” The following can also be helpful:
- Be careful with any supplements or medications that can induce constipation, such as iron supplements, calcium supplements, diuretics, and antacids. Talk to your doctor about these before going on your trip
- Get a lot of fiber daily. This can be in your foods or in the form of a supplement
- Drink a lot of water every day
- When you feel the need to have a bowel movement, go right away and do not try to hold it
Heartburn can be absolutely miserable, so it is important to keep it under control when you travel. Avoid any drinks or foods that you know trigger heartburn. WebMD recommends you should also consider the following:
- Do not go to sleep within three hours of eating
- Try to eat smaller meals as opposed to large ones
- Avoid alcohol and do not smoke cigarettes
- When you go to sleep, raise the head of your bed or sleep on extra pillows to prop up your chest and head
- Stick to bland foods when heartburn is present
- Be careful with dairy products since these can worsen heartburn
There are also medications you can take to help with heartburn. If this is a chronic issue, talk to your doctor about preventative medicines you can use during your travels. You can also bring antacids with you. However, use these sparingly since they can cause constipation.
Gas and Bloating
Gas and bloating can cause pain and make it hard to get comfortable. Consuming too much fiber or a lot of greasy foods may cause these problems. If you have a lactose intolerance, this can also induce bloating and gas. It is essential to know which foods personally trigger you to have these symptoms so that you can avoid them.
It is best to stick with healthy foods to reduce your risk. Drinking a lot of water instead of carbonated beverages is also helpful. There are medicines you can use to alleviate bloating and gas once they are present. These can also act as a preventative measure. Your doctor can recommend one that might be the most helpful for you.
Polyphenols and Other Nutrients that Help
Polyphenols are full of antioxidants. Microbe Formulas explains, “they’re also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, which could be another reason why certain plants are effective in controlling gastrointestinal issues. In another study, plants and fruits high in polyphenols stopped acute diarrhea symptoms nearly two days faster than control groups.” All of these properties make them an effective way to prevent stomach issues.
Disrupting the good bacteria in your gastrointestinal tract is among the most common reasons for stomach issues. This is common when traveling since you are usually eating much differently than you do at home. Polyphenols can help to protect the healthy bacteria in your gut. This helps to reduce the risk of a number of issues, such as constipation, diarrhea, bloating and gas.
When stomach upset does occur, there are certain foods, and herbs you can turn to that are helpful for calming an array of gastrointestinal woes. These include:
- Ginger helps to ease nausea and vomiting
- Chamomile can help with intestinal discomfort and vomiting
- Bloating, constipation, stomach pain, and diarrhea can be relieved with peppermint
- Heartburn and indigestion can benefit from licorice
- Stomach pain and constipation can be alleviated with flaxseed
- Heartburn and indigestion respond well to papaya
- Diarrhea symptoms can be reduced by eating green bananas
- Diarrhea responds to pectin supplements
- Bowel movements can be regulated with probiotic foods
Your doctor can also provide additional information about how to avoid stomach issues while traveling. With a few quick precautions, it is relatively easy to stay well on the road.