Healthy Starts Made Simple: Health
Good-for-Your-Gut Vacation Foods
By Cathy Garrard for Healthy Starts Made Simple
Summer is the time to hit the road and explore someplace new. But changes in time zone, cuisine and your daily routine can leave your stomach feeling less than stellar. “Your digestive system works on a schedule, and you get away from it when you are on vacation,” says Beth Warren, a registered dietitian based in New York City. Here’s how to choose on-the-go eats — and avoid vacation pitfalls — to keep your system humming.
Choose Fiber-Rich Foods
Vacations provide ample opportunity to explore new kinds of foods. But these sneaky delights are often more fattening and exotic than your system can handle. To sidestep digestive distress, opt for foods with plenty of fiber, which helps aid digestion, prevent constipation and keep you regular. A bowl of fiber-rich Kellogg’s All-Bran is a good option, as are fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains.
Drink Plenty of Water
Hydration levels are more easily depleted when you’re spending the day at an amusement park, beach or pool. But beyond keeping you hydrated, water is essential for good digestion, since it can help flush the fiber through your digestive system, says Warren. Drinking eight glasses per day is the conventional wisdom, but your body may require more or less depending on your activity level, the temperature and the amount of watery foods you consume.
Pack Your Own Snacks
Give your digestive system a little familiarity on your next trip by eating foods it knows and loves. Pack cereal, nuts or fruit (dried or fresh) in your carry-on or tote bag so you won’t need to resort to less healthy, stomach-churning fare at the airport or gas station.
Add Yogurt to Your Morning Cereal
Yogurt can be a good source of probiotics, which are beneficial, living microorganisms similar to those naturally found in the intestinal tract. “Your gut is made up of billions of bacteria, and you want good bacteria to help battle the evil ones,” says Warren.
Follow these four simple tips, and you’ll spend less time worrying about tummy troubles and more time sharing memories with those you love. Isn’t that what vacation is all about after all?
Cathy Garrard is a freelance writer and editor specializing in health and travel. Her work has appeared in More, Prevention, Self, Glamour and USA Today, among others. She is based in Brooklyn, N.Y.