While the thought of traveling can be an exciting and thrilling activity to do, some people find it stressful and exhausting. It’s because they have to deal with traffic, long queues, flight delays, and even trip cancellations.
These circumstances not only test your patience but it also disrupts your body’s natural function like sleep (due to jet lag) and digestion. Most of the time, the experts say one indication of travel stress is bloating. Let’s find out how traveling messes with our digestion and what we can do to remedy it.
According to renowned gastroenterologist Samantha Nazareth, most travelers tend to be stationary as they travel for hours. This includes riding a bus, a train, or even when you’re on a flight. Prolonged sitting and lack of movements slow down our metabolism and digestion.
This process is also known as peristalsis. According to Nazareth, Peristalsis is responsible for moving our digested foods from our esophagus down to our intestines through wave-like muscle contractions.
However, this process slows down when you’re sitting for hours while traveling. So the foods you eat or munch on will not be digested properly, causing us to get bloated. So how can we prevent bloating, constipation and other stomach aches while traveling? Nazareth recommends you apply the following tips.
Pack Light Snacks
While you cannot prevent yourself from eating while boarding a plane or riding a train, Nazareth recommends you pack some light snacks that are easy to digest in your stomach. An example of light snacks are wholesome foods like fruits, veggies, nuts, or smoothies. Not only are these foods simple to digest, but are also rich in fiber and nutrients, which helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time.
By the time when you get really hungry, you can indulge yourself in a fancy heavy meal without feeling bloated. Dr. Nazareth recommends you limit munching by staying away ftom your favorite cookies, chips, and other processed foods rich in sugar and starch as they are hard to digest – which usually cause you to feel bloated.
Dr. Nazareth also recommends you bring a bottle of water with you at all times to stay hydrated, especially when you’re traveling. Drinking water helps streamline your digestion and push down your food from the esophagus to the small and large intestines to prevent constipation and bloating.
Whether you’re traveling to a new city for work, or are on some beach getaway for leisure, make sure to go out and roam around once you reach your intended destination. Take this opportunity to truly travel and explore the place.
Take a walk as much as possible as you familiarize the place and take note of the routes, alleys, and directions in the process. The sooner you see the morning daylight, the sooner your body can adjust its body clock and you can get back to your normal routine.
Wear Compression Socks.
Wearing compression socks not only help your feet feel comfortable, but it also helps stimulate your lymph nodes to improve blood and energy circulation in your body. Proper circulation also aids your stomach to digest the foods you eat. Aside from that, compression socks help prevent your body from having lymphatic drainage due to long flights.
Aside from drinking water, the health experts also recommend you pack some anti-inflammatory teas like ginger or peppermint tea. These teas help in bloating, indigestion, and managing your reflux. You can just ask an attendant for a hot cup of water and take sips if you’re not feeling well.
Take Probiotics Before Your Flight
Before you board your trip or flight, the health experts recommend you eat foods rich in probiotics like kefir, kimchi, tempeh, sauerkraut, or yogurt.
According to the Green Chef executive chef Dana Murrell, eating probiotic foods together with your meals before boarding a flight not only helps you feel full and satisfied to eliminate binge-eating, but it also helps eliminate bloating. If you have an early morning flight, the experts recommend you eat plain yogurt paired with fresh fruit to start your day right.