Veronica Burke

By Veronica Burke

Expert Advice, Health Advice, View All Health Advice

Holiday Health Hazards (and how to avoid them)

Ever feel like you need a holiday after a holiday? You think a week in the sun will leave you relaxed and revitalised but instead you're exhausted, sun burnt and bloated. Fear not, all of your post holiday hang ups can be avoided with a little bit of preparation.

Problem no. 1: Sizzling sunburn

Having a good tan hides a multitude of sins and has an instant slimming effect. However, if you're like most Irish folk, your pursuit of beautifully bronzed skin results in heat rashes and sun damage. The key to avoid getting fried is to gradually increase your skins tolerance. Start off with a high SPF and work your way down. Moisturise with aloe vera and drink at least two litres of water daily – this will keep skin hydrated. Try taking TanCare Pharma Nord a month before your holiday. It contains beta-carotene which is a powerful antioxidant that helps protect the skin from harmful UV rays. It can also promote melanin production (the pigment that makes skin darker) allowing for a deeper, longer lasting tan.

Problem no. 2: Jaded and jet lagged

If you're travelling into a different timezone, it can take your body's internal clock several days to catch up, and in the meantime you’re likely to experience a disruption in your sleeping and waking cycle. The cabin air causes dehydration which contributes to jetlag. Aim to drink as much water as possible and avoid caffeine and alcohol. After arrival, spend time out in the sunlight, if you're still feeling fatigued supplement with Q10 and B vitamins which are needed for energy production.

Sun holidays normally involve very long days and minimal hours of darkness in the evening. This can really disrupt your circadian rhythm. Bring an eye mask and ear plugs. Taking a magnesium supplement right before bed can help aid with a deep and restful sleep.

Problem no. 3: Wallowing in weight gain

Arriving home a stone heavier can really kick start the post holiday blues. The good news is that holiday weight gain is often due to fluid retention. We tend to over-do it on refined carbohydrates when on holidays. Such foods cause the body to hold onto water. In fact 1 gram of carbs will attract 3 grams of water. Refrain from weighing yourself immediately. Drink lots of water with lemon or apple cider vinegar, it will help to de-bloat you while also flushing out some toxins. You should be back to your old self in a matter of weeks.

Problem no. 4: The hangover from hell

A hangover results from a combination of different things but the main issue is dehydration. Alcohol acts as a diuretic, which results in the body’s organs attempting to replenish their own water, usually by stealing it from the brain. This causes it to decrease in size and pull on the membranes which connect it to the skull. The result? A very nasty headache. Most people think that you can overcome dehydration with water alone but that is only half the problem. Electrolytes are needed to regulate hydration in the body. Coconut water is loaded with potassium and magnesium which are the two main electrolytes that alcohol depletes. Short of getting an IV drip, coconut water is by far the most effective fluid for recovery and hydration.

Problem no: 5: Tummy troubles

The balance of good and bad bacteria in our gut has a huge impact on how we feel. High sugar and low fibre foods can cause an imbalance in gut flora. Probiotics are 'friendly' bacteria that help to mop up toxins and crowd out the bad guys which cause bloating, irregular bowel movements and flatulence. Take a probiotic before, during and for a few weeks after your holiday. Choose one with at least 4 billion strains of bacteria. If you feel sluggish after a meal or struggle to digest protein rich foods, it's usually a sign of low digestive enzymes. Raw foods are rich sources of enzymes so having salads before a big meal can help aid with digestion and prevent constipation.