PROBIOTICS FOR TRAVELLERS—EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW
Probiotic supplements are all the rage these days but as a frequent traveller do you need to supplement, is it really necessary?
That was similar to the question I asked the woman on the witches market in Bolivia who became my local dealer of herbs and potions for the next two years due to a particularly nasty strain of parasites I could NOT get rid of.
"What's a probiotic?" She Said.
If you travel frequently for work business or pleasure and don't fancy a trip to the witches market in Bolivia but do want to feel good and be a productive, functioning part of society then keep reading.
Gut health is definitely the sexiest topic around right now, here's why.
Without a properly functioning digestive system, you're not going to be able to manufacture all the vitamins, minerals, nutrients and even neurotransmitters (like the happy hormone, serotonin) your body needs—all that can't happen if the gut is not balanced.
DESTRUCTION OF GUT BACTERIA—THE BAD GUYS
- Over sanitation (put the travel sized bottle of hand sanitizer down)
- Previous food poisoning
- Emotional stress
HAVE YOU EVER EXPERIENCED:
- Low mood
- Brain fog
- Skin rashes
- Autoimmune problems
If you have in the past, or you do on a frequent basis then you, my friend could have a bacterial overgrowth.
Travelling increases the likeliness of you having digestive and gut issues due to a constantly changing geographical environment, increased exposure to toxins and foods your body maybe unfamiliar with.
If you suspect that you may have some kind of bacterial overgrowth then you DO NOT want to be taking pro-biotics because you'll only be adding more bacteria to an already overpopulated gut.
A Health Coach alongside a good functional medical practitioner will be able to run labs (usually an organic acid test, food sensitivity test or stool test) to see if there's anything funky going on there and will then advise a course of action to follow.
If you don't have any of the above issues, here's what you can do to promote gut health, pre or post travelling.
HOW PROBIOTICS WORK
Your gut contains both beneficial and harmful bacteria, if this gets out of balance (known as dysbiosis) meaning there's too much of a certain type of fungus, yeast or bacteria, it can effect the body in negative way.
By eating probiotic rich foods and supplementing, you can promote gut health and help bring the equilibrium back if it does get out of balance.
3 STEPS TO GETTING MORE PROBIOTICS INTO YOUR SYSTEM
1: EAT MORE PROBIOTIC RICH FOOD
If you're planning a big trip or travel regularly for work, you can start to put this into action now. Look out for Sauerkraut, kimchi, coconut kefir, yoghurt, miso, kombucha and apple cider vinegar and aim to get one probiotic rich food into every meal.
2: FEED THE PROBIOTICS ALREADY IN YOUR SYSTEM
Probiotics are living organisms so they're going to need to feed off something which is fermentable fiber, this is often the first food group to disappear when we're traveling which is why so many frequent travellers have digestive issues. Make the effort to make sure you're still eating enough fruit and veg on the road, flax and chia seeds are also great sources of high quality fiber.
3: TAKE A QUALITY PROBIOTIC SUPPLEMENT ONLY WHEN NECESSARY
Unless your health has been compromised in some way then just focus on eating a probiotic rich diet, if you feel you would benefit from supplementing it’s important to note that there are different types of strains of probiotics. The probiotics benefits of one probiotic strain may be completely different from the health benefits seen from another probiotic. If you're not currently working with a Health Coach or functional medicine doctor who can advise you on which probiotics are right for you then you may like to do some research into which strains of probiotics could be beneficial.
I would love to know which of the 3 steps to getting more probiotics into you're diet you're going to take action on, let me know in the comments below.
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I'm Emma, Integrative nutrition Health Coach and full time traveller here to help you feel and look your best wherever you are in the world.