How To Keep Digestion Regular While Traveling
If you have trouble keeping your digestive system on track while traveling, try one of these methods to help keep your gut happy. It’s not unusual to experience digestive problems like constipation or diarrhea while traveling. From the hectic airport experience to sitting on a plane for hours to not getting nearly enough sleep on a red-eye, traveling can wreak havoc on your digestive health.
And let’s not forget about what can happen once you land: often, being in an unfamiliar environment can change your usual routine which affects your eating habits. It’s really not a surprise that all of these changes take a toll on your digestive system.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to help your digestive system stay relatively normal while traveling. These include:
- Sticking to a normal routine
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Eating fiber
- Drinking lots of water
- Staying active
- Trying to relax
- Enjoying a can of OLIPOP
Stick To a Normal Routine
One of the biggest causes for digestive system disruption is due to change in our routine. This shift in eating, drinking, and sleeping habits can throw off your gut health.1
The more you can keep your routine similar to what you practiced pre-traveling, the less likely you’ll experience bloating, constipation, or other unfriendly digestive issues.2
If you’re someone who usually goes to bed at the same time every evening, eats a big breakfast in the morning, or goes for a run every afternoon, try and maintain those activities while traveling. Not everything can stay the same — remember you’re on vacation after all! — but the more you can match your usual routine, the better.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
While you might feel that you “deserve” to take a break from a healthy diet on vacation or while traveling, your digestive system might disagree.
Your diet is one of the most important aspects of a healthy digestive system. And part of sticking to your usual routine is sticking (as much as possible) to your regular eating habits.
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your vacation and the desserts and cocktails that come along with it. But it is wise to be mindful of how much your diet is changing. For example, excessive amounts of fried food, processed food, or sugar can bring about or worsen constipation.2
Here are some digestive health supporting eating tips to consider the next time you travel:
- Pack your own healthy snacks: Worried there won’t be anything healthy for you at the airport or once you land? Pack your own snacks to ensure you have something healthy to munch on.1
- Avoid fried foods: Does anyone’s stock feel good after loading up on fried food? Taste and enjoy but try to know your limits and not over indulge.
- Limit your processed foods: The more whole grains, leafy vegetables, fruits, and lean meats the better. Skip out on heavily processed foods like baked goods, processed meats, or fast food.3
- Increase your probiotics: Probiotics are healthy bacteria that offer many health benefits, including promoting proper digestion. Try increasing your probiotics by enjoying foods like yogurt, kefir, kombucha, kimchi, and sauerkraut.4
- Sit down to eat: While often unavoidable, eating on the go is a common thing to do while traveling. But when you can, try and sit down to enjoy your meals. Not only will this reduce stress on your gut but also it will promote healthy digestion.
Eat Fiber (But Not Too Much Fiber!)
Unhealthy food we tend to enjoy while traveling is typically low in fiber. Fiber is a complex carbohydrate that aids in proper digestion, helping to relieve or prevent constipation and bloating.5 6
Here are some high-fiber foods to enjoy as you travel:
- Beans and legumes
- Fruits (avocados, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, apples)
- Vegetables (artichoke, green peas, brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes)
- Whole grains (popcorn, oatmeal, whole wheat bread, barley)
Not only are these foods good for you, but they can also help move things along if you’re feeling blocked up. But don’t feel the need to go overboard, vacation is not the time to experiment with how much fiber you can eat. Instead, aim for one to two servings of high-fiber foods like fruits and vegetables (or OLIPOP!) every day.
For a full list of high-fiber foods to enjoy while you travel check out our blog post: High Fiber Foods That You Can Easily Add to Your Diet.
Drink Lots of Water
A common cause of constipation is dehydration.2 And traveling can easily dehydrate you, whether it be from a long flight, change in routine, or an increase in alcohol or caffeine.
Here are some methods to help prevent this:
- Drink a whole bottle of water before you leave
- Bring a reusable water bottle that you can refill after you get through security or buy one at the airport or train station
- Drink regularly throughout your flight, train ride, car ride, etc.
- If you don’t have easy access to a bathroom or forget to drink throughout your trip, make sure to finish a bottle of water after you get to your destination
- If you’re drinking a lot of caffeine or alcoholic beverages, which dehydrate you, make sure to match that consumption with water
- Carry a water bottle in your purse or a backpack as you explore your new destination so you always have water on hand
Traveling can often leave us stationary for long periods of time. Whether you’re sitting on a plane or a train for several hours or lounging by the pool on vacation all day long, this lack of movement can slow down or disrupt your usual digestive processes.7
It’s not just your body that gets moving with exercise, but your bowels also get stimulated by a little activity. If you’re feeling a little blocked up while traveling, it might be time to move things along by moving your body.
Go for a walk, do some yoga, or take advantage of your hotel’s pool or gym. The key is to find some way to build movement into your routine, even if it’s just making a pit stop for a quick stretch on a long drive.
Try and Relax
Traveling can be stressful, which can play a major role in your constipation or digestive troubles.
When the body experiences stress it switches off or slows down regular bodily functioning to dedicate energy to more of your “fight or flight” systems.8 This means if you’re feeling stressed or anxious, it’s going to be a lot harder to have regular bowel movements.
Finding ways to relax on vacation is not only the point of your vacation but could also help move things along. If you think stress is the cause of your digestive troubles while traveling, try incorporating meditation, breathing exercises, calming music, yoga, reading, or other relaxing activities into your routine.
Enjoy a Can of OLIPOP
At OLIPOP, we’re working hard to fuel your microbiome and improve your digestive health. One can of delicious soda contains 9g of dietary fiber and other microbiome-supporting ingredients such as marshmallow root, chicory root, nopal cactus, cassava root, kudzu root, and Jerusalem artichoke.
These ingredients make up 32% of the daily value of fiber. This helps keep things moving like normal, even when you’re traveling. So, as you try out these other methods of supporting your digestive health while on the road, make sure to also pick up a can of OLIPOP.
Keeping Regular Digestion While Traveling: The Takeaway
Part of the fun of traveling is getting to experience new foods and a new routine. You’re going to most likely have some disruptions in your typical routine, whether that occurs by eating and drinking different things than you usually do, exercising less, or staying up later.
As a result, it may take your digestive system a few days to catch up to this new normal and this could result in some digestive discomfort. By doing your best to stick to a routine, eat healthy foods, drink lots of water, and move your body you’ll help keep that discomfort to a minimum.
But if you’re regularly experiencing constipation, diarrhea, or other digestive problems while traveling, it might be time to consult with your doctor for some additional support.
- Laurence, E. (2021, August 24). Here’s How To Keep Your Digestive System From Going Completely Off Track When You’re Traveling, According to a Gastroenterologist. Well+Good. https://www.wellandgood.com/digestion-regular-while-traveling/
- Milanowski, A. (2020, January 31). 8 Tips to Keep You Regular While Traveling. Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/8-tips-to-keep-you-regular-while-traveling/
- Foods to Improve Your Digestion. (n.d.). Johns Hopkins Medicine. Retrieved October 6, 2021, from https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/wellness-and-prevention/5-foods-to-improve-your-digestion
- How to Improve Your Digestive Track Naturally. (2020, December 10). Cleveland Clinic. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/how-to-improve-your-digestive-track-naturally/
- Carbohydrates: Types & Health Benefits. (2021, February 8). Cleveland Clinic. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/15416-carbohydrates
- Fiber. (2019, October 28). Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
- Bolen, B. (2020, January 21). 11 Tips for Avoiding Constipation When Traveling. Verywell Health. https://www.verywellhealth.com/tips-for-avoiding-constipation-when-traveling-4062491
- Miller, A. M. (2018, April 9). Frequent Travelers Share 11 Secrets for Staying Regular on Vacation. U.S. News. https://health.usnews.com/wellness/slideshows/frequent-travelers-share-11-secrets-for-staying-regular-on-vacation
10 min read
How to Fuel Your Fitness With Functional Foods and Beverages
All exercisers need fuel. Learn more about healthy snacking and how to choose functional foods and beverages to power your workout routine.
3 min read
Celebrate March Madness with OLIPOP
In the spirit of March Madness, we sat down with three of our OLIPOP student-athletes to talk about what nutrition means to them and why they love OLIPOP. Check out their answers here.