5 Ways to Stay Healthy During Summer Travel

"Our gut microbiome, which is highly influenced by our eating habits, plays a fundamental role in the function of the immune system" 

People are traveling now more than ever after two years of lockdowns and uncertainty. Whether you’re planning to travel abroad or stay close to home, it’s important to keep your immune system strong if you’re afraid of an unexpected illness getting in the way of your fun. Practicing good hygiene when traveling is important, but so is keeping healthy habits before and  during your long-awaited vacation. From exercising to hydrating, here are the top five ways to avoid catching that dreaded  summer cold (and how to recover quickly if you do).  

1. Get Lots of Sunlight and Exercise 

A simple walk in the sunshine can boost your immune system by activating your T cells, which help protect your body from infection. Studies show that sunlight makes hydrogen peroxide in T cells, which makes the cells move.1 This can help the cells more readily get to the site of an infection and orchestrate a response. Sunlight also helps the body convert cholesterol into vitamin D, a crucial nutrient that promotes gut health, regulates inflammation, and boosts immune cells’ production of microbe-fighting proteins.2, 3 

Similarly, exercise also gets immune cells to move throughout the body, fights inflammation, and helps you maintain a healthy weight, which can all boost your immune response.4 But not all exercise regimes are the same. Research shows that moderate-intensity exercise is best for immune health while prolonged high-intensity training without rest can actually suppress your immune system.5

Knowing the benefits of sunshine and exercise makes outdoor exercise even more useful for your immune system. Walks, swimming, a game of volleyball, or maybe an outdoor yoga class can all work. Just don’t forget to wear sunscreen.

2. Eat Meals at Local Times 

When traveling outside of your time zone, your sleep times and mealtimes can feel all jumbled up. But it’s important to adjust your schedule to your new time zone to keep your body’s internal clock, or circadian rhythm, in balance and your immune system strong. Studies show that our circadian rhythm governs the movement and activity of our immune cells.6 And our gut microbiome, which is highly influenced by our eating habits, plays a fundamental role in the function of the immune system. When it comes to aligning your circadian rhythm, start eating your meals according to the destination you’re traveling to a few days before your trip and you won’t just banish jet lag quicker, you’ll also banish the likelihood of getting sick. 

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3. Drink Plenty of Water 

Staying hydrated is one of the smartest things you could do for your health, especially during the summer when temperatures rise. When your body is dehydrated it cannot properly transport nutrients to each organ system. And your immune system is highly dependent on these nutrients. Staying hydrated is also very important for detoxifying the body and clearing out foreign invaders and waste through lymphatic drainage. Experts recommend drinking  a minimum of half your body weight in ounces of water. 

4. Drink Sensibly 

It’s easy to overindulge when you’re on vacation, but be sure not to overdo it when it comes to alcohol and caffeine. These beverages are both notorious for hindering your immune system. Though some caffeine-containing drinks like coffee have anti-inflammatory effects, both caffeine and alcohol can wreak havoc on your sleep, and lost sleep can weaken your ability to ward off illness. When you’re drinking alcohol and caffeinated drinks, you’re also less likely to drink water, contributing to dehydration and inflammation. Even more, when you drink alcohol, your body is forced to prioritize breaking down toxins, thus suppressing your immune response.   

5. Set Your Limits 

You may want to check a dozen or more items off your bucket list this summer, but it’s important to know when your body has had enough. If your adventures start to interfere with your sleep or your diet and you find yourself bombarded with stress, it’s okay to leave a few of those items unchecked. This is especially true if you do happen to catch a summer cold. If that happens, your plans don’t have to be ruined. Your body will need rest to recover quickly, and Brillia Health products can help speed up the process even more. 

If you find yourself battling symptoms like a runny nose, congestion, sore throat, or body aches, use Brillia Health’s Cold-Flu Recovery to support your immune response, reduce fluid build-up, and shorten the duration of your illness without making you drowsy or causing stomach upset. If you're battling a wet or dry cough, Brillia Health’s Cough Control helps you feel better by reducing coughing and relieving the stress that coughing places on the body. These homeopathic, non-prescription medications can also be taken together for an even more powerful approach.  

Find out more about staying healthy with Brillia Health this summer at the Brillia(nce) Resource Center and get more tips on supporting your immune system all year long.

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References: 1https://gumc.georgetown.edu/news-release/sunlight-offers-surprise-benefit-it-energizes-infection-fighting-t-cells/, 2https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/vitamin-d-from-sun, 3https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-d/, 4https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2018.00648/full, 5https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/41356/diets-and-eating-patterns-effects-on-the-immune-system-and-its-regulation, 6https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/41356/diets-and-eating-patterns-effects-on-the-immune-system-and-its-regulation

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