We actually just want to lie comfortably on the beach in our new bathing suits, dig our toes in the sand and let our minds wander, but an unpleasant pinch in our stomach pulls us out of our idyll and we have to rush to the nearest toilet in a foreign country - stomach- Unfortunately, intestinal problems on vacation and while traveling are a problem for many people that make everyday life difficult. Especially abroad, hygiene standards are often different, the drinking water is heavily chlorinated or the local dishes are too spicy for European standards. All of this can lead to digestive problems and significantly limit the amount of time you can relax, thus putting your well-being on vacation into perspective.
In this article we would like to explain to you how exactly our intestines react to culinary conditions abroad, why jet lag can disrupt our digestion and why so many people generally suffer from diarrhea and stomach aches abroad.
We would also like to show you natural and efficient ways in which you can prevent potential digestive problems and optimally prepare your intestines for your trip abroad.
How can I prevent traveler's diarrhea?
There are various ways to prevent traveler's diarrhea abroad. Well-known methods include only eating cooked meat and fully cooked fish and avoiding fruit that you haven't washed yourself. Likewise, some people say “no” to ice cubes in restaurants. Many holidaymakers also avoid street food and ice cream completely and generally only drink packaged drinks. If you buy fruit or vegetables at street markets, you should wash them thoroughly before consumption - if necessary even with packaged mineral water if the local tap water quality is unsuitable for consumption.
Foods that require caution abroad:
You should pay particular attention to the freshness and quality of the following foods on your vacation:
- meat and fish
- fruit and vegetables
- Ice cream and ice cubes
- Buffet meals
In principle, you can enjoy a medium rare steak or eat sushi in established restaurants and hotels abroad, but you have to weigh this up yourself on site and decide based on the situation. Visits to the local weekly market are a must for many holidaymakers. If you buy fruit or vegetables at street markets, you should wash them thoroughly before consumption - if necessary with packaged mineral water if the local tap water quality is not suitable for consumption. You don't necessarily have to forego street food either: observe the preparation itself and the selection of ingredients - if everything looks fresh and clean, then you can also enjoy street food. Basically, when buying and eating meat and fish, you should pay attention to what you pay attention to at home: color, smell and taste generally give a good indication of the freshness and quality of animal foods. Fry beef and salmon abroad so you don't risk it.
Take charcoal tablets with you when traveling?
For many vacationers, charcoal tablets are a basic essential in their first-aid kit. It's easy to explain why many people swear by charcoal tablets.
Activated charcoal has the ability to bind substances in the intestines. So if you suffer from severe diarrhea, the charcoal tablets will slow down the frequency at which your intestines empty because the pathogens are bound in your intestines. The activated carbon acts as a kind of framework with pores that absorb the undissolved parts in the intestine, such as bacteria or toxins. Even gases can be absorbed by the medicinal charcoal, which in turn is beneficial for flatulence.
In other words: If you have diarrhea and take charcoal tablets, you no longer have to go to the toilet as often and can counteract a bloated stomach. This can be very practical and tempting in the short term for beach holidays and the busy pool in a chic hotel.
Nevertheless, you should not overdo it with the charcoal tablets and only use them for a short time and in a targeted manner, as the activated charcoal not only binds bacteria and potential toxins, but also all other nutrients that your body actually urgently needs during a gastrointestinal illness. The activated carbon makes no distinction between “good” and “bad” substances, but rather absorbs all substances. It should also be noted that activated charcoal can also impair the effect of some medications, such as heart and diabetes medications or the contraceptive pill.
If you suspect that you are suffering from food poisoning, which can happen abroad, then charcoal tablets are highly recommended due to their ability to bind toxins and bacteria in the intestines. The recommended dose for an adult is 1 g of activated charcoal per kg of body weight.
How to support digestion on vacation?
To support your digestion while on vacation and prevent gastrointestinal illness, different methods are recommended. A healthy metabolism and a strong intestinal flora are essential for our body's defense functions. Our intestines are full of a variety of “good” bacteria that play a major role in our digestion and defense against bacteria and pollutants. If you support and strengthen these bacteria, your intestinal flora will be better equipped to fight unknown bacteria on vacation or to withstand greater stress. In order to clarify how we can support our digestion on vacation, we would like to briefly talk about the function of our intestinal flora.
Function of our intestinal flora
The good bacteria in our intestines fulfill a variety of functions, such as digesting fiber and producing vitamins K and B12. They also produce biotin and folic acid. Our gut is part of our learned immune system, the so-called adaptive immune system. From our first day on this earth, our intestines begin to catch pollutants and pathogens through special cells in the intestinal wall, which are then passed on to our lymphatic tissue, the so-called defense tissue. Our body reacts to this by producing so-called T and B cells, which render the pollutants or pathogens harmless.
The healthy bacteria in our intestines have the task of preparing our immune system for the various pathogens and teaching it which cells are harmful and which are not. In order to prevent possible gastrointestinal problems on vacation, we have put together 5 tips for you on how you can strengthen and protect the microbiome in your intestines.
5 things to prevent stomach problems on vacation
1: Take probiotics
Consuming high-quality and bioactive probiotics can strengthen the intestinal flora. You can do this before a vacation by consuming yogurt or probiotic supplements. Our Swiss Immune® 1, for example, supports the intestinal microbiome with the optimal combination of high-quality probiotic strains and Swiss colostrum. The probiotic Bifidobacterium Bifidum helps maintain healthy intestinal flora and strengthens resistance. The intact state of the intestinal microbiome has a positive influence on digestion, metabolism, body weight, immune system, appetite and general well-being. To strengthen your intestines before a vacation, you can take the capsules in the morning on an empty stomach and in the evening before going to bed.
2: Wash your hands before every meal, but not excessively
Washing your hands before eating is generally recommended - especially abroad, in hotels or holiday resorts, where many people meet and objects or door handles are touched by numerous people. However, we advise against washing your hands excessively while abroad without a good reason for doing so. Our skin is populated with bacteria and fungi that are designed to get along with common harmful bacteria and pathogens. If we wash our hands too often, not only is the healthy layer of bacteria and fungi damaged and destroyed, but the skin also becomes cracked and dry. Harmful bacteria and viruses can then enter the skin through these hair-thin cracks in the skin and make us sick.
3: Adapt to local time
If you've ever been on a long-haul flight, you may know that so-called jet lag quickly disrupts our "internal biological clock". We have a biorhythm that our body follows. If the time we are in shifts, this biorhythm is thrown out of balance and we suffer from jet lag - we are tired, cannot concentrate, are possibly easily irritable and often have digestive problems. The consequences of jet lag can not only be sleep disorders and exhaustion, but also digestive problems that limit our vacation. Our biological clock is controlled by brain functions and our hormonal balance, which in turn enables us to adjust to the new time zone. This habituation may take 2-5 days. In order to prepare your body and intestines for the time difference, it is recommended to prepare your body for the new time zone by sleeping. For example, if you know that you will be flying out during the day and arriving during the day, you should wait until bedtime abroad before you go to bed there. If you fly out at night and arrive at night, you should try to get shorter sleep periods before the flight so that you can stay awake on the flight and then be tired when you arrive at your holiday destination at night and can go to sleep there instead of getting off the plane all awake at midnight to rise. Always drink enough and stay in the fresh air when you arrive at your holiday destination to counteract jet lag and calm your intestines.
4: Eat cold potatoes – Resistant starch
Cold potatoes contain what is known as resistant starch, which we cannot digest. With their resistant starch, the fiber-rich, cold potatoes provide our good intestinal bacteria with a wonderful nutrient so that they stay healthy and strong. If we eat cold potatoes before or during a vacation, we strengthen our intestinal flora. Foods rich in fiber, such as unripe bananas and cold potatoes, are generally good for strengthening the intestines if you have irritable bowel disease or diarrhea. However, we warn you: If you come from Germany and ask for cold potatoes abroad, this tip will do you justice to the German stereotype. Prepare for smiling faces, but your gut will thank you!
5: Eat consciously on vacation
Finally, we generally recommend that you pay close attention to your diet while on vacation. Too much sugar and industrial fats weaken our intestines, while vegetables and fiber-rich foods, as well as probiotic cultures, strengthen our intestines and contribute to overall health. Only consume fresh and fully cooked meat and always wash fruits and vegetables with packaged or boiled water. Eat a balanced and varied diet.
BE THE CHANGE and travel preparation
Our immune system is a sophisticated protective shield in which our intestines are an important functional partner. We can support and strengthen this before we go on vacation. Swiss Immune® uses one of the most powerful, natural Swiss raw materials: colostrum.
The BE THE CHANGE products with immunoglobulin concentrate effectively and naturally build and strengthen a balanced immune system. They care for the gastrointestinal tract - i.e. the intestinal microbiome and counteract digestive irritations. The immunoglobulin concentrate promotes the regeneration of the entire body and offers the organism the best support for general well-being. Swiss Immune® 1 supports the intestinal microbiome with the optimal combination of high-quality probiotic strains and Swiss colostrum. The probiotic Bifidobacterium Bifidum helps maintain healthy intestinal flora and strengthens resistance. The intact state of the intestinal microbiome has a positive influence on digestion, metabolism, body weight, the immune system, appetite and our well-being.
BE THE CHANGE has done pioneering work and offers you the first 100% cold-processed Swiss colostrum, with the highest immunoglobilin concentration and bioactivity. Swiss Immune® 1 is a cold sterile filtered immunoglobilin concentrate according to pharmaceutical standards without additives or fillers, made from ingredients of 100% natural origin. Production takes place below 40° degrees Celsius in order to preserve the active ingredients.
We guarantee a minimum content of 60% immunoglobulins (IgG) in the colostrum portion of this product. Current batch (best before date 10/2023) = >75% IgG.
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