5 Tips to Prevent Travelling Tummy Troubles
Common Sense and Probiotics
Have you ever had that feeling when you’re travelling? It starts with a rumble in your belly and ends with a night spent very close to the bathroom. Yes, it’s tummy troubles while travelling.
No one wants to lose a precious day or two on vacation, but it’s a common issue. It’s so common that it can strike up to 50% of international travellers, affecting up to 10 million people worldwide each year. Whether it’s rogue bacteria in a buffet or a parasite from a new country, these new companions can steal up to a week from your well-earned vacation.
Have you ever wondered why only a few people get sick when a large group of people eat the same food? This is due to our gut bacteria. The community of bacteria in our gut, otherwise known as our microbiome, plays a huge role in protecting us against these invaders. It’s a community of bacteria, yeasts and sometimes even a couple of friendly parasites that help us in so many ways…including protecting us from an invasion of unfriendly bacteria.
When our microbiome is a strong and healthy community, it protects us from bacteria like salmonella and E. coli. They squeeze them out so there’s not enough space for them to grow into a colony, and there are even some strains of good bacteria that produce their own antibiotics to kill them as soon as they come in.
This means when we’re travelling, we want to support our microbiome as much as possible. Research has found that one very hardy form of yeast called S. boulardii is particularly helpful when we travel.
S. boulardii helps to encourage and strengthen our gut bacteria community; additionally, it’s been proven to reduce the risk of traveller’s diarrhea and even antibiotic-associated diarrhea. So it’s a double hit of good protection if you’re struck with a bad bug or parasite and need to take antibiotics. A 2010 meta-analysis that looked at 27 clinical trials found that this strain is 84% effective against traveller’s diarrhea! Those are amazing results!
Here are 5 ways to prevent traveller’s tummy troubles:
1. Always use bottled water
2. Avoid street vendors or any food stored without refrigeration
3. Stick to fruits and veggies you can peel yourself
4. Be extra careful during stressful travel situations and during jet lag
5. Take a shelf-stable probiotic that contains S. boulardii
Lisa Kilgour is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and a faculty member at the Canadian School of Natural Nutrition. She believes how we care for ourselves — our emotions, gut flora, sleep, stress, and of course, the food we put into our bodies — all work together to help us heal.