So many things about travel are great: escaping bad weather, seeing new places, trying new foods, experiencing new cultures and traditions. But we could do without traveler’s diarrhea, jet lag, sore stomachs, lost sleep, and other side effects of travel.
Good planning can help you have a great vacation, and of course it’s important to avoid drinking too much and eat a balanced diet that includes lots of produce–much easier if you’re going south and can enjoy delicious in-season fruit. But what else can you do to avoid some of those negative aspects of seeing the world in order to better enjoy the great ones? Here are three supplements you can try to relieve or prevent some of the worst effects of travel.
If you struggle with jet lag due to time-zone changes, you might want to pick up some melatonin before your next trip. There is some evidence that it can help prevent jet lag and shorten its duration–doses as small as 0.5 milligrams can be effective, according to the Mayo Clinic. If you are pregnant you shouldn’t take melatonin, and avoid alcohol while using it. Also, speak to your doctor about how your medications might interact with the supplement.
There’s a reason that even conventional anti-nausea medications are made with ginger these days–the root can help settle a queasy stomach and calm motion sickness. It’s also safe for children, and doesn’t come with the side effects of drowsiness and dry mouth that can occur with other anti-nausea medications. Try ginger capsules or pills, ginger tea, ginger lozenges, or candied ginger–take some before you travel and have it on hand for relief throughout.
Sitting in an airplane with all that recycled air can really dry out your sinuses, which makes it easier for bacteria and viruses to take hold. As well, being in close quarters with a lot of people can up the chances you’ll catch something, particularly during cold and flu season. Frequent hand washing is your best defense against illnesses like colds and flus, but zinc supplements might help too–one study found that using zinc lozenges could cut the length of a cold by a day, for example.
Whether you are heading to the mountains for a ski vacation, or to relax under the palms trees at the beach, the right nutrition will allow you to get the most from your trip. Bon voyage.