Tips to Prevent Sluggish Digestion While Traveling

Dear Dr.Kim

My digestion better than it used to be but when I travel and am away from home I can suffer with bloating and sluggishness. I have several trips planned for this summer and am wondering if you have any suggestions for helping to keep my digestion on track?

K.S. Victoria

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Dear K.S.

This can be a common predicament when people are off their routine. Varied nutrition choices, changes in fluid intake, and possible shifts in gastrointestinal microbiota (‘bugs’) can change the digestive milieu putting solid digestion on shaky ground. The good news is that there are several strategies you can deploy to help keep your digestive system happy.

The digestive tract is host to millions of microbes –including good bacteria, putrefactive (or non-beneficial) bacteria and yeast. The ‘bug’ environment is dynamic and responds to stressors, hormone levels and the foods you eat. When people travel or are on vacation it is natural to want to whoop it up and with that vacation nutrition can include more carbohydrates from sugar and alcohol. Unfortunately most microbes in the digestive tract feed on these carbohydrates, releasing gas as a byproduct resulting in symptoms of bloating and discomfort. Have a great time while doing your best to moderate these influences.

Continue to enjoy a healthy daily intake of vegetables and fruits to keep your fibre and fluids supported. Keep in mind that cooked vegetables can be easier to digest then raw so even though it is summer, you might choose vegetables soups over salad.

Consider taking a probiotic before and while you travel. Probiotics, such as Lactobacillus acidophilus, Bifidobacter bifidis, and ‘Lactobacillus sporogenes,’ are beneficial bacteria that help in food digestion. In addition, they contribute to a healthy digestive environment and inner peace. Probiotics should be well tolerated and some varieties do not need refrigeration making them ideal for traveling. If you have digestive woes and don’t notice a big difference in your digestion from taking a daily probiotic –it doesn’t mean it is not benefiting you – it can be like putting a police officer into a riot – and that you need a fortified approach.

Finally, when you are on the move it is common to limit or have limited access to water. Do your best to keep hydrating fluids flowing so your system doesn’t ‘dry up.’Transit time from eating to eliminating is 24 hours and hydration is a factor in keeping things moving.