I am going traveling to South America soon and was wondering if there are any supplements you recommend I bring with me to prevent getting sick from the food or water? I am usually pretty careful when I go but do often get sick for a day or two. Would love to hear about what you take with you when you travel!
That is a great question, and one I get quite often, especially when I am somewhere tropical and the other people I'm with, or other tourists I meet, are getting sick but I am not. It definitely has to do with your individual microbiome, as well as digestive and immune system functioning, but there are a few supplements I take that I think really help with prevention and even if you do pick something up:
1. Activated Charcoal - I will take this as prevention for the first few days and then periodically throughout the trip. It is also great for when you do have symptoms of a food/water-borne illness as it helps rid the body of the pathogenic bacteria more efficiently.
2. Grapefruit Seed Extract - This acts as a natural antimicrobial agent. I add it to the bowl of water that I wash my fruits and vegetables in and also add a few drops to my drinking water occasionally.
3. Probiotics - These are so important! When we have enough good bacteria in our body and we do ingest some pathogenic bacteria, the good will simply outnumber and out-crowd the pathogenic strains. So many factors influence the diversity and quantity of bacteria that live in our intestines so it is very individual, but for the most part we could all use a nice boost of the good bacteria, especially when we travel somewhere new. Make sure to get a shelf-stable probiotic to bring with you, I really like Dr. Ohhira's.
There are numerous probiotic supplements on the market, if you are interested in learning more about what to look for when choosing a probiotic and which ones have the most research to back up their health claims check out this thorough review of over 200 different probiotic supplements from Reviews.com.
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I have been enjoying this simple yet satisfiying smoothie for breakfast and usually after yoga. I consider hemp protein and matcha two of my favourite travel necessities!
My Matcha Life Foodie's Matcha is perfect for adding to smoothies and provides anti-inflammatory and liver supporting benefits, not to mention the calming and energizing effect of the L-Theanine found in high-quality matcha.
Manitoba Harvest Hemp Powder is proving protein, fibre, omega-3 fats, and many more vital nutrients.
Simply blend with a couple of ripe bananas and water, coconut milk, or almond milk.
I always travel with a good book and my favourite brand of probiotics, and this time the two are very much related.
In "Let Them Eat Dirt" by Brett Finlay PhD and Marie-Claire Arrieta PhD, they discuss the important role that microbes play in our lives, especially during those critical first few years of life since this is when we are building the diversity of our gut microbiome - growing our inner garden.
I find this topic fascinating and have written previous articles about using fermented foods, probiotics, not over-sanitizing everything, playing in the dirt, and only using antibiotics if absolutely necessary. I am so grateful for antibiotics, there is no doubt how important they are, but I do feel they may be over-prescribed in certain circumstances.
If you are interested in learning more about the intricate balance of beneficial microbes in our environment and how to live a lifestyle that promotes the diversity of probiotic species in our bodies, then I highly recommend checking out this amazing book!
If you would like some individual guidance for improving your digestive health and energy levels book your complimentary 15Min Discovery Call.
Shawna Barker BSc., RHN is a nutritionist, college instructor, and raw food educator.