The last thing anyone wants is to experience sickness or stomach upsets when travelling or on holiday. However this is common occurrence when you’re travelling as your digestive system experiences many different foods and drinks prepared in unfamiliar environments. This is especially common in underdeveloped countries.
Traveller’s ‘tummy’ happens when there is an unbalance in your natural gut flora, which can cause stomach pains, diarrhoea, nausea, bloating, cramps and vomiting. Many people take probiotics during their travels to help reduce the risk of this happening.
What are probiotics?
Probiotics literally means ‘good bacteria’. One’s gut is made up of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria. When more ‘bad’ bacteria than ‘good’ bacteria are present it can result in stomach upset and diarrhoea. Probiotics are taken to help retain the natural balance between these ‘good’ and ‘bad’ bacteria’s in ones gastrointestinal tract. This unbalance does not only happen when travelling and so many people take probiotics daily to aid the overall health of their digestive system.
What are the benefits of probiotics when travelling?
Probiotics have many health benefits when travelling. The objective of consuming probiotics is to build up the population of ‘good’ bacteria’s in your gut so when your digestive system predictably encounters excess ‘bad’ bacteria’s, your gastrointestinal tract is prepared.
Just some of the other benefits of consuming probiotics, both for daily digestive health and when travelling are listed below:
- Protecting the body against infection: not only do probiotics aid your overall digestive health, they are also known to protect your body from many different infections including urinary tract infections and yeast infections. They are also known for supporting the body against E. Coli contamination, acute diarrhoea, acne and irritable bowel syndrome.
- Increases immunity: taking probiotics can help lead to a healthy gut flora, this is directly linked to a stronger immune system.
- Aids absorption of nutrients: consumption of probiotics has been shown to aid the absorption of vitamins and minerals in the body, particularly calcium and vitamin B.
- Probiotics support skin health: by discouraging the production of toxins and neutralising existing toxins in the body
- Aids detoxification in the body: probiotics promote the detoxification of the body naturally. This aids the reduction of the occurrence of constipation.
- Helps the body recover after antibiotics: Antibiotics inadvertently kill many of the ‘good’ bacteria’s present in the digestive tract. Probiotics help restore the natural balance of bacteria’s in the body.
- Probiotics help energy levels: by producing short chain fatty acids and B-complex vitamins which help metabolism and support energy production.
Why take probiotics?
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO) (2001) defines probiotics as ‘Live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts confer a health benefit on the host’. Although probiotics can be found in foods such as yoghurts and pickles many of them can’t survive through the stomach before reaching your intestines, which is where they are most beneficial. Also, all the different strains needed to help prevent travelers ‘tummy’ cannot be got from food alone. “One strain can’t do it all” (Institut Rosell). Taking a supplement will help ensure you get all the beneficial bacteria needed to balance the bacteria’s in the digestive tract. This in turn can reduce the risk of travellers illnesses associated with consuming unfamiliar foods in different environments. Overall, probiotics can only benefit you, both in daily life and when travelling.