Travel Tips for Maintaining Regular Digestion

For many of us, we have been “grounded” since March 2020-but now is the time to return to exploring new places and experiencing new things. Ungrounded provides expert-backed insights all month long to help you feel confident, safe, and energized as you venture outside your home.

It should be a blissful experience for you to take a vacation, when you have no worries but what to eat for lunch or whether to lounge by the pool or the beach. Thus, it’s upsetting (as in, more upsetting than usual) when your digestive system doesn’t function properly while you’re on vacation.

A number of symptoms can accompany abnormal digestion. It could literally be days before you poop in the morning. Traveling could be a problem that happens all the time for you (i.e. looking for restrooms everywhere) or the complete opposite. There are several possible reasons why you may suffer from digestive issues while traveling, regardless of where on the spectrum you fall. The shift in diet and hydration often accompanied by travel can affect the way we feel since our gut microbes and motility shift. This can cause us to become bloated and constipated during travel, for example.

Often, traveling is associated with a change in diet and hydration levels-and often stress, too. All of this has an impact on our health.” -gastroenterologist Marvin Singh, MD

In addition to the sleep cycle disruptions caused by travel, Dr. Singh believes that digestion is also affected by travel. The early wake-up, skipping out on your routine, and scrambling to get out the door when you have to fly somewhere are all common ingredients for gut disorders,” he explains.

You can still take steps to keep your digestive system on track while traveling, despite not being able to change the time of your flight. You can let your anxiety about pooping while traveling go when you put the tips below into practice.

A gastroenterologist offers these tips for keeping digestion regular while traveling

1. Drink lots of water

You may try to minimize liquid consumption when you’re traveling for a long time. However, Dr. Singh and Melanie Keller, ND, an expert in gut health, recommend the contrary, especially if you tend to feel bloated or constipated while traveling. If you’re traveling by air, drink eight to 16 extra ounces of water during the trip. Dr. Keller recommends drinking half your body weight in ounces in general and 16 ounces or more when flying. Flying is more humid than being on the ground, so you need to consume more fluids than usual.

Even before you embark on a trip, Dr. Singh recommends you begin increasing your hydration levels. The day before your trip, drink extra water and be vigilant to ensure that you have regular bowel movements,” Dr. Kalantari advises.

2. Before leaving, consider taking a digestive aid

Dr. Singh recommends that travelers who tend to become constipated during travel take a digestive aid – such as an enzyme or probiotic – the day before they leave. Hence, “you don’t have to worry as much if you don’t have a bowel movement on the day of travel,” he explains.

It is also recommended that you experiment with something new before your trip, rather than wait until just before. Before traveling, make sure you’re at home and have no trips planned at all so you can test how the digestive aid will affect you.

3. Learn how to take care of plants

Dr. Singh says eating a variety of plants is a good habit to build, but to help you get your gut going and digestion back on track when you’re traveling, eat even more when you’re away from routine. Fiber can help you move things along if you’re feeling backed up.

4. Consume foods with magnesium

Because magnesium is linked to aiding bowel movements, Dr. Keller recommends including magnesium-rich foods in your diet, such as pumpkin seeds, almonds, and leafy greens. Nutrients rich in chlorophyll are natural laxatives that help the digestive system. Therefore, incorporating magnesium-rich foods into your diet while traveling can help reduce any feelings of bloating or constipation.

5. Stay away from hard-to-digest foods while traveling until you feel better if you experience diarrhea

You should follow the B.R.A.T. diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast) if you have diarrhea while traveling. That, and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. She explains that these foods may assist in softening stools.

In addition to packing your own travel snacks, Dr. Singh recommends doing the same for people with sensitive stomachs. This will prevent you from being stranded somewhere with foods that you’re concerned will attack you the wrong way. The gut is also sensitive to stress, so having anxiety about what you eat can worsen the sensitivity of your gut. No need to worry if you have healthy snacks on hand, he says.

The most important thing to keep in mind prior to travel is to know your body and determine what it needs. Being prepared can go a long way, whether it’s keeping snacks in your suitcase, snacking on digestive enzymes, or drinking herbal tea to relax. Taking it on the go is like having a passport to good gut health while you’re traveling.

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