If there is a summer that the world has been waiting for, this would be it! After spending the last few years staying close to home to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we can finally get back to our normal summertime celebrations. This year more than any other, most of us are itching for a change of scenery, and the best way to achieve that is to travel.
So that begs the question—where will you be traveling this summer? Will you be driving across the country to visit family? Or are you planning to take some time off work so you can spend a week relaxing on a tropical beach? Maybe, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you’ll set aside time to go explore a foreign city and learn about its history and culture.
Whatever the case may be, there are things that need to be done, and now is the time to start preparing. While you’re busy booking flights, finding hotels, and making packing lists be sure not to overlook the very important task of making sure your gut is ready for the trip.
After all, there is not much worse than dealing with digestive issues like bloating, gas, or constipation while you should be enjoying your much-deserved vacation. Even if you aren’t typically prone to digestive discomfort while traveling, there’s a good chance your travel itinerary could take a bigger toll on your gut than you would think. And since your gut is at the core of your overall health and wellbeing, it’s worth taking the time to ensure it’s up for the challenge of summer travel.
How Travelling Affects Your Gut
Those who already struggle with digestive discomfort can vouch that traveling often makes it worse, and it makes sense when you think about it. When you travel, you’re likely indulging in different cuisines, switching time zones, and veering from your regular eating and sleeping habits. All of these changes can add up to have a couple of different effects on your gut. Let’s take a closer look at the two most common effects.
A Change In Your Gut Composition
By now you probably know that the key to keeping your gut healthy is to maintain a healthy balance of bacteria in your gut microbiome. There are a number of factors that can influence the bacterial composition of your microbiome, including things like diet, sleep, and even your environment.
With that in mind, it makes sense that traveling has the potential to impact the composition of your gut. A recent study compared the microbiome profiles of travelers both before they departed and immediately upon return, and found that people tend to pick up a variety of new microbiota during their trips.
Of course, we have no way of knowing if we’ll pick up good or bad microbes during our next vacation. But there is one thing we know for certain—when we return home, the composition of our gut will be different compared to when we left.
The Onset of Gut Lag
You’re already familiar with, and likely dread, jet lag. From a foggy brain to a general feeling of fatigue, jet lag can seemingly affect nearly every inch of your body. But did you know it can affect your gut too? It’s true, and it’s common enough that it even has its own name—gut lag.
Both jet lag and gut lag can occur when you’re travel itinerary puts your internal clock out of sync with the time in your new location. Your internal clock is based on your body’s circadian rhythms, which are the 24-hour cycles that your body operates off of. These rhythms help your body regulate your sleep-wake cycle by prompting your brain to release the proper hormones.
So what does this have to with your gut? Potentially everything! Research has shown that the activity and composition of gut microbiota changes depending on whether the host is awake or asleep, suggesting that our internal clocks somehow control the bacteria in our gut.
Because of this intimate connection, travel plans that leave you jet-lagged can cause your gut to start lagging behind as well, which can lead to a number of different types of digestive discomfort.
Supporting Your Gut While Traveling
Don’t worry, though. You don’t have to cancel all your summer travel plans in order to keep your gut healthy. There are steps you can take to support your gut both before you leave and while you are away.
Before You Travel
Making sure your gut is up to the challenge of traveling starts with the steps you take before you leave. Here are a few things you can start doing now to make sure you and your gut are ready to go.
- Research Your Destination. Just as you would research accommodations and activities for your trip, you should research more about the climate, the time difference, the availability of safe drinking water, and common foods in the area. These things may determine how your gut will react to the experience, and if you know what to expect ahead of time you are more likely to be prepared.
- Eat a Fiber-Rich Diet. Whole foods, especially ones high in fiber, are an important part of keeping your gut healthy, especially as you are gearing up for travel. Fiber is the favorite snack of the good bacteria that live in your gut microbiome, which means it can help promote a healthy balance of bacteria before you head out the door.
- Support Your Gut Bacteria. As you now know, traveling can affect the composition of bacteria in your gut. To help minimize the impact of this, you can start supporting your gut with supplements that contain both probiotics and prebiotics. Probiotics will help seed your gut with beneficial bacteria while prebiotics will provide food so those bacteria can thrive. Together, they are a powerful combination to restore and maintain balance in your gut.
- Adjust Your Schedule. Your gut is not only impacted by what you eat but also when you eat. If your travel plans involve crossing time zones, you can help your gut be ready by slowly changing your eating schedule before you leave. This way, it has time to adjust and won’t be shocked when you are suddenly eating earlier or later than it’s used to.
During Your Trip
Even if you start with a solid foundation, your gut will likely need some extra support during your trip. Here are some things you can do while you are gone to keep your gut as happy and healthy as possible.
- Think Before You Eat. While breaking away from your usual meal choices and trying new dishes is all part of the traveling experience, it’s important to keep in mind that the foods you choose will directly impact your gut. So while you should definitely break away from your norm and try something new, you’ll also want to be sure to avoid any foods you know usually upset your gut. In addition to that, you can help keep your gut in check by washing your hands before every meal, choosing meals made with whole foods, and enjoying small portions to avoid overeating. You can also pack an enzyme supplement to help your body digest all the delicious dishes you are going to try.
- Stay Hydrated. Being properly hydrated is just as important to your gut as it is for every other part of your body. Whether you are driving in your car, sitting on a plane, or exploring everything your destination has to offer, keeping a water bottle on hand and drinking from it regularly can do wonders to keep your digestive system operating smoothly.
- Stay Active. Taking a vacation is often done with the plan to relax for hours on end and do little else, which is great! Just remember that your gut, and the rest of your body, can always benefit from a little exercise. We aren’t saying you need to hit the gym or do a full CrossFit workout while you’re away, but you should consider finding ways to move your body every day. Even activities as simple as taking a walk on the beach, a bike ride around the town, or choosing to walk to dinner instead of drive can help keep your gut healthy and your digestive system operating at its best.
- Let Go of Stress. Whether you’re rushing to get to the airport on time or nervous about spending time in an unknown city, there is no doubt that planning and executing your travel plans can be stressful. Throughout your trip, try to keep in mind that your gut and nervous system are connected, which means that any stress or anxiety you are feeling is likely to lead to an upset stomach or other gut discomforts. When you feel nervous or stressed, allow yourself to pause long enough to calm yourself down. Your gut will thank you for it.
Support Your Gut On The Go With Essentials
Don’t let your gut stop you from enjoying all your summer travel plans. Instead, protect and support it so you can feel your best no matter where your vacation takes you. The best way to do that? With Essentials—our all-in-one, convenient daily gut support packs.
These daily packs contain everything you need to support both your gut and your body while you’re on the go this summer. Each pack of Essentials includes probiotics to seed your gut with good bacteria, digestive enzymes to keep things moving, and organic Wild Microalgae® to provide your whole body with the nutrients it needs to feel its best. What’s more? Each pack is small enough to toss into your purse or carry-on, so you have the ultimate gut support supplements easily accessible no matter where your travels take you.
So go ahead and keep your gut happy and healthy during all of your traveling adventures by putting Essentials to the test risk-free with our 90-day money-back guarantee.
At New Earth we are on a mission to positively impact the health of every body and soul we come in contact with. We specialize in producing third-party certified, organic whole food supplements including a variety of probiotics, and digestive support. Our supplements feature a rare, yet highly nutritious superfood, Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA). Also known as organic Wild Microalgae®, AFA is a unique type of microalgae that is available in many forms including tablets, capsules, and powders all designed to help you on your journey to holistic wellness. The best part? We offer a 90-day money-back risk-free guarantee on all of our products. Visit our website to learn more.