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Keeping Healthy on Holiday

July and August signify holiday time to many people. With school term ending, weather improving and time away booked to various destinations, there is a lot to look forward to. If you are one of the lucky people heading away this year, whether it be to far flung destinations, or closer to home, you don’t want your holiday marred with illness or other holiday nasties. There is nothing like a bout of food poisoning, or a bad case of sunburn to put a dampener on a holiday. There are however things that you can do nutritionally to prevent you and your family from spending your holiday quarantined in your hotel room.


Food Poisoning

For many people, a good holiday means good food, often with endless opportunities to try local cuisine and a different restaurant  each night. No matter how careful you may be, sometimes this is not enough and a dreaded case of food poisoning can set in. With symptoms of vomiting, diahorrea, stomach cramps, dehydration and nausea being common place, a holiday is definitely not the place you want to suffer with it. The most common forms of food poisoning caught on holiday are often caused by a bacterial infection such as salmonella, campylobacter, or one of the main strains of Ecoli. How quickly symptoms develop, depends on the type of bacteria involved. Sometimes the onset is rapid and symptoms can occur within an hour of exposure and other times it can take days for symptoms of the poisoning to occur.


More often than not, food poisoning is caused by food not been cooked properly, poor hygiene or food not been kept in proper conditions, such as food that is left out for long periods of time in warm climates. Remember that most cases of food poisoning are mild and are not life threating, despite the fact that it may feel that way at the time.


So what do you need to think of if you, a friend or a family member is struck down by food poisoning whilst you are away. Firstly remember that both vomiting and diahorrea lead to dehydration, so it is very important to keep drinking fluids whilst ill and during the recovery period. Small frequent sips of water are best. Coconut water can also be helpful here, as unlike water, coconut water contains electrolytes such as sodium and potassium, which are lost from the body during vomiting and diahorrea. It is important to replenish the body with these minerals and drinking coconut water in small sips throughout the day can help you do this. Adding ginger to the water can also be very helpful, as ginger is known to help relieve nausea and ‘settle’ the digestive system, as well as alleviating any inflammation in the stomach and intestines that may be caused by the food poisoning. 


Once the main symptoms have passed and you start to feel a little better eating garlic and / or lemon juice (not necessarily together) can be helpful. Lemon juice contains acid which can help to kill toxins and micro-organisms which may still be in your gastro-intestinal tract. Drinking the freshly squeezed juice of a couple of lemons with a bit of sugar added can really help. Squeezing fresh lemon juice over food prior to eating can help kill mild strains of bacteria that could lead to stomach upsets, so this is good as a preventative measure, as long as you like the taste of lemon. Garlic has antibiotic, antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help kill the harmful pathogens found in the gastro-intestinal tract, so choosing garlic can be helpful as a preventative and after a bout of illness too.  Eating it in its raw form is best.


Sun Burn

No matter how careful you are, sometimes you can’t help but catch a little bit too much sun and the healthy glow you were aiming for can soon turn into that not so flattering lobster look. Tomatoes have been shown to  help protect the skin from UV damage and sunburn, with these protective effects coming from the high content of lycopene present in tomatoes. Cooked tomatoes contains even more lycopene than raw ones, so be sure to add these to your holiday menu, ideally in the morning before a day in the sun.

Pomegranates can also be helpful in reducing the effects of UV damage as can the consumption of green tea. Green tea contains powerful antioxidants, which have been shown to help protect against UV damage. Remember that UV skin damage results in premature skin aging and green tea antioxidants are very beneficial in helping minimise skin aging by fighting free radicals in the body that cause the skin damage.


If its already too late and you are now sporting a deep red burnt look, Aloe-vera gel is one natural product that can help take the burning sting out of your sunburn. Apply it directly to the skin and keep it in the fridge for extra relief and coldness.


Applying raw, cut potatoes to the skin may not be your first thought when it comes to sun burn, but the starch in potatoes can be very soothing to sunburn and help take the burn from the skin and accelerate the healing process.



Alcohol Excess

Let’s be honest, most people like a drink or two on holiday, and with all the rest and relaxation that holidays can bring, one or two drinks can easily lead to three or four or more! It may seem enjoyable at the time, but the morning after can bring a different story. Drinking water before, during and after drinking alcohol is a known help and should be done to help rehydrate the body and flush the alcohol and chemicals from the body.


There are however foods that can also help recovery rate after one to many. Although it may not be on your usual hangover food list, asparagus has been shown to help alleviate hangover symptoms and help protect the liver from toxins such as those found in alcohol. This is thought to be mainly due to the amino acids and specific mineral content of asparagus, so forget the fry up and reach for the asparagus instead.


Insect Bites & Stings

Wherever you are heading on holiday this year, chances are, that at some point, a mosquito may seek you out. Until recently, many studies showed that garlic could act as a mosquito repellent, however a more recent study stated that it had little effect, but there is certainly no harm in trying out its perceived effectiveness.   It was suspected that its mosquito repellent effects were caused due to the release of sulphur compounds that are emitted via the skin after consuming garlic. Surely if garlic deters blood sucking vampires so effectively, it should have the same effect on blood sucking mosquitoes too!


Mosquitoes do not like lemon, peppermint, lavender, or citronella, all of which can be bought in oil form and mixed with either a cream or a carrier oil that can then be applied directly to the skin. This will help act as a repellent and stop those mosquitoes thinking you are a tasty meal choice. You can also burn these oils, so the scent in the air further enhances the repellent properties.


Energy & Jet lag

Travelling can be tiring, especially if it involves jet lag, airports or long car journeys with children. Make sure you therefore have healthy and transportable snacks to hand, which can be easily reached for, when energy levels begins to slump. Taking your own snacks will stop you grabbing a high sugar snack as a quick ineffective fix, which will only make you more tired. A great transportable snack is mixed plain nuts (not of the salted variety) or an oat bar, as long as its sugar content is relatively low (Ideally less than 7g of sugar in 100g of the product).


If jetlag is likely to be a problem, the botanical extract ginseng has been shown to have anti-fatigue properties and is useful for cognitive function and also increases oxygen utilisation all of which make it a great remedy to help treat the effects of jet lag. You can purchase this as a tincture, as a drink or as a supplement.


Wherever you are going on holiday this year, everyone here at Planted HQ wishes you and your family, a wonderful, safe and healthy holiday.




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