making sure your holiday is healthy
With holidays looming now is the time to start preparing your body for its annual holiday. We all need some sunlight on our body to help provide our bodies with vitamin D. This important mineral helps to maintain calcium levels in the body and ensure we have healthy bones and teeth. However it doesn’t take too much time to increase our levels and sunscreen is essential to avoid sunburn. When our skin cells are exposed to too much sunlight, UVA and UVB wavelengths, our skin cells experience stress and shut down. This stress can overload our antioxidant nutrient supplies and so it’s important to make sure these are topped up before we head off on our summer holidays.
Luckily many of the antioxidants that we need to help our skin are also delicious.
Sweet potatoes – these are packed with beta-carotene and antioxidants that will help to act as a defence shield against the sun.
Olive oil – a Mediterranean diet staple that contains squalane, which helps to protect the skin’s lipids.
Tomatoes– rich in lycopene (especially when cooked). A study in 2011 found that tomato paste could help to protect against acute photo damage.
Strawberries– packed with vitamin C, which helps to protect the body from free radicals.
Sunflower seeds– high in vitamin E, which is a potent antioxidant.
Wild salmon– high in omega-3.
Pomegranate– a superfood hero packed with antioxidants including vitamin C.
Green tea– has been shown to help block DNA damage from UV light.
Another problem that many experience when they jet off on their summer holiday is traveller’s tummy. This can be due to various reasons – a change in water, foods we are not used to, a germ-ridden flight or just our immune system not as strong as it should be. With 80% of our immune system residing in our gut it makes sense to take a dose of probiotics before jetting off on holiday, especially if you have found yourself prone to traveller’s tummy in the past. A study in 2007 found that several probiotic strands worked against preventing traveller’s tummy and a mixture of bifidobacterium bifidum, lactobacillus acidophilus and a yeast saccharomyces boulardii were the most effective. Make sure you pick a brand that has at least 5 billion CFUs (colony forming units) per serving. Start taking the probiotics at least two weeks before you travel and continue for the time you are away and for a week when you return.
If you are travelling off on holiday by plane then no doubt you’ll be sampling the dreaded airplane food. There’s no doubt that, however hard airlines try, aeroplane food is not healthy. In order to make the food palatable at a high altitude they have to pack it with more salt than you would normally consume. This in turn dehydrates you. If it’s a short haul flight then eat at the airport before you travel and then you can totally avoid eating on the aeroplane. If you are heading off on a long haul flight then you might want to consider fasting. Scientists have found that fasting for 16 hours before you arrive at your destination is the way to avoid jet lag. Your brain has a master clock that responds to the time that we eat and a bout of fasting can turn off this clock which is turned back on again with the reintroduction of food. So eating a meal at the correct time in your new time zone can effectively help to ward off jet lag. Make sure you drink lots of water though to keep hydrated on your flight. If you don’t like the idea of fasting for a long haul flight then again eat at the airport and pack some healthy energy balls and treats to keep you going on the plane.
Where ever you are going this summer – have a lovely and very healthy holiday.