In the first instalment of our new Living Well series of healthy living tips from Bupa Global, we look at ways to build your immunity before travelling or going on holidays, with Dr Edward Gaynor of Bupa.
It’s Day 1 of your long-awaited holiday and you feel a tingle in your throat, your body is sore and a cough is coming on – you’re unwell. Sound familiar? According to experts, it’s more common than you think.
If you’re preparing to travel this year, Dr Gaynor says now is the perfect time to start boosting your immune system to prevent sickness spoiling your holiday. “It’s not unusual for people to find themselves battling sickness when on holidays. Exposure to new environments and close contact with unwell travellers can increase your chance of picking up a bug, particularly if your immune system is run down,” he says. “A strong immune system is your best friend when preparing for holidays. It’s not something you can develop overnight but investing time in boosting your health and fitness in the weeks leading up to a much-anticipated break can make a big difference.”
Dr Gaynor recommends increasing your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables, upping your exercise and exposure to sunshine, and de-stressing as the best ways to boost your immune system for holidays. “Something as simple as adding a probiotic yogurt or mixed berry smoothie to your diet could work wonders to enhance your immunity to illness and infection. Probiotics have the added benefit of reducing the risk of gastrointestinal infections, which often occur when travelling.” He adds that de-stressing is also very important. “It ensures your body is relaxed and able to adjust to holidays properly.”
Here, then, are his top five tips for boosting your immune system for your holidays:
1. Sleep tight
“Sleeping for eight to 10 hours each night ensures your body is well-rested and ready to combat any illness which may come your way.”
2. Diversify your diet
“Upping your intake of foods rich in antioxidants, including leafy green vegetables, berries and citrus fruits, and adding a probiotic yogurt to your diet will boost your immune system.”
3. Daily dose of D
“Vitamin D has many benefits, one of which is reducing the rate of infection in the body. Ensure you have adequate exposure to daylight and safely soak up the sun when you can, or add a vitamin D supplement to your diet.”
4. Keep it clean
“Regular hand-washing is vital to stopping the spread of illness. Remember to wash your hands thoroughly at regular intervals throughout the day, particularly when using public facilities; and carry a hand sanitiser with you when travelling.”
5. Relax, refresh, revive
“In the lead-up to your holiday, focus on workplace wellbeing, including practicing mindfulness, to make the transition from a stressful working environment to a peaceful paradise easier on your body and mind.”
This article was brought to you by Bupa Global.
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This article first appeared in the Jun/Jul edition of Expat Living magazine. Subscribe now so you never miss an issue.