Exploring new places is one of life’s great adventures. You get to experience new cultures, meet new people, and see unforgettable sights.
However, traveling can take a toll on your body, especially when you are eating unfamiliar foods or not taking care of yourself as you usually do.
Depending on where you go, there may be risks of contaminated food and water. Still, even in more common travel scenarios, you might be eating less healthful foods and feeling exhausted and anxious from jetlag. These stressors can upset your stomach and ruin your trip.
Staying Healthy In New Places
When traveling to a new place, take some time to research your destination’s food and water situation. Understanding what foods and drinks may or may not be safe is one of the best ways to minimize your risk of any unwanted surprises.
Eat cooked vegetables. While raw foods like salads and fresh fruits may seem appealing, cooking will destroy any harmful bacteria that might be present. If you eat raw fruits and vegetables, make sure they are peeled and thoroughly washed. You need fiber from plants, so you shouldn’t avoid them completely.
Cook your meals. Find a local grocery to buy ingredients, vegetables, and meats, or bring them with you. Restaurants can be a nice treat, but they often fill their meals with fats and salts that may upset your stomach, cause heartburn, and raise blood pressure.
Stay hydrated. Drink bottled water and avoid tap water. Ice cubes are typically made from tap water, so it’s probably best to avoid those too. Dehydration is a common cause of stomach discomfort and can lead to many other health issues. Sugary and caffeinated beverages should also be moderated or avoided.
Avoid excess alcohol. Whether you’re traveling for a vacation or for business, staying out late and drinking too much alcohol is not the best idea. Alcohol can irritate your guts and disrupt your sleep, and it can hamper your immune system’s ability to fight off whatever bacteria or viruses you might be exposed to.
Manage stress. Traveling can be stressful, especially if it’s your first time going to a new city or country. You might feel overwhelmed and anxious, which can affect your digestion. Make sure that you are getting enough rest and have healthy coping mechanisms to deal with any negative moods that may arise.
Know where the hospitals and emergency rooms are. If something goes wrong, you’re going to want to know where the closest medical professionals are. If you are experiencing any symptoms indicative of a serious illness, like bloody diarrhea or bloody vomit, seek out the emergency room immediately.
It may feel like being in another place away from home is somehow separate from real life, but your metabolism still works the same way and has the same needs. If you don’t treat your body well, you won’t be having fun either.