The exciting experiences of holiday travel-visiting friends and relatives, parties and rich foods - can have an impact on our bodies. Whether it's a nagging cough, fatigue or an upset stomach, we've all been under the weather as a result of traveling during the holidays.
Registered dietitian Deralee Scanlon suggests adding the following healthy staples to any holiday road warrior's travel bag:
Maintain a Balanced Diet: Eating at odd times or dining on unknown foods can tip the scales of a well-balanced diet. To receive all the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthful diet, Deralee suggests taking a multivitamin with you on the road. While never a substitute for meals, multivitamins help to ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need wherever you are.
Energize to Maximize Your Travels: Ginseng may help maintain physical stamina for an active traveler who is on the go from dawn ‘til dusk. Clinical studies show that ginseng may invigorate and fortify the body in times of fatigue, may help lower stress and can increase energy levels. Deralee recommends 250 mg of ginseng in standardized extract form or 1,000 mg in whole herb form daily. She strongly advises people with abnormal blood pressure or those who take anti-depressants, insulin or diabetic medication to speak with their health care professional before using ginseng.
Pump Up Your Immune System: The re-circulated air found inside of planes, trains and automobiles can be stale and unhealthful. To navigate through these environments unscathed, Deralee suggests taking echinacea to help boost the immune system function. Echinacea has been used for centuries and may even be used as a support for healthy lungs. If you're allergic to ragweed or related plants, Deralee strongly advises that you check with your physician before taking products that contain echinacea.
Protect Your Heart: Holiday mealtimes are often filled with rich foods and desserts that can pack on added calories from fat and may negatively impact cholesterol levels. To help support your heart health, try supplementing with plant sterols and stanols,which have been shown to reduce LDL (bad) and total cholesterol by blocking cholesterol absorption.
Avoid Counting Sheep: Valerian root may help promote pleasant dreams for even the most restless holiday traveler. Deralee recommends taking one or two 400 mg capsules containing the whole herb with water one hour before bedtime. Don't take Valerian if you plan to drive or operate heavy machinery.
Make A Pit Stop at the Doctor's Office: There may be certain vaccinations or other preparations required before traveling abroad. Play it safe and make sure to check with your health care professional before departing. Some doctors and/or clinics specialize in travel medicine. You may want to take advantage of these services to ensure a safe and healthy trip