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Naturopathic Holiday Essentials

Guest Blog by Allison Sheppard

Holiday season is upon us. Long, short or staycation, booking that trip is always a good excuse for updating your holiday essentials. As well as the new swimmers, day to night-time attire and fancy-pansy sunnies, there are a few helpful naturopathic principles that won’t hog space in your suitcase.

Holiday Prep 

Mosquitoes. There’s a very real chance you’re going to get bitten. Some more than others.  Blood type, hormones and body size, can all influence the deliciousness stakes where mozzies are concerned. The allicin content in garlic and onions can interfere with our natural scent and act as bug repellent. Yes it’s unsociable but eating them raw, prior and during your holidays, is most effective. The research is a bit mixed, but Vitamin B1 (thiamine), can also act as repellent.  B’s work best in a complex that includes other B Vitamins.  Take for a couple of weeks prior and whilst you’re away. And if they don’t keep the bugs at bay, B Vits are great for energy and liver support (think holiday cocktails).

Sunscreen. To help protect against sun damage it’s a good idea to increase your antioxidants. Eating a rainbow but specifically berries, artichokes, pecan nuts and (very) dark chocolate. Yes chocolate, are all rich sources of antioxidants. The debate around sunscreens is a moot point and not just in the context of Vitamin D. Many of the new generation creams contain nano particles, including zinc and titanium, which penetrate the skin, get distributed in the tissue and even pass the blood/brain barrier. They basically end up where they shouldn’t. Sorry for the doom and gloom. Sunshine is supposed to be a happy subject. The good news is there are more gentle (organic) sunscreens that use non-nano minerals titanium dioxide and zinc dioxide (dioxide is the important bit) that sit on the skin rather than penetrate it. The old rules apply, stay out of the midday sun and remember, wearing a t-shirt equals SPF 30.

Naturopathic First-Aid Kit

Arnica. I never travel without it. You may not need it but it’s fantastic for relieving bruises, reducing headaches and even a good night’s sleep. If there’s any kind of shock then reach for arnica and for those going long-haul it helps ease jet-lag. It’s good to pack both cream and pill form.

DIY mozzie repellent. There are a ton of essential oils that act as an effective ‘mosquito spray’ without the DEET-headache. My favourite blend is citronella, eucalyptus and lemon; but tea tree, lavender, thyme, basil and lemongrass are also effective. Get yourself a spray bottle; add some water, 2-3 drops of each of oil, and you’re good to go. Dabbing the oils on your pulse-points can also help.

Probiotics. The digestive system is very highly strung and will often react to a new environment. A different country means different bacteria which is often problematic. If you’re not already taking one, introduce a probiotic a couple of weeks before you travel, take whilst you’re away, and continue for a couple of weeks at home. Optibac do a good ‘travellers’ one.

Vitamin C. Ever come down with a cold right after flying? Me too. Modern planes use a combination of fresh and filtered air. Whilst improvements have been made in filtering bacteria and virus’ at altitude, when the plane is parked at the gate you’re more likely to be exposed to germs from the ground level ventilation system.

Taking 1000mg of vitamin C the morning you travel and for 2-3 days afterwards will help protect against colds and flu. Vitamin C is also handy for holiday tummy bugs.

Jetlag

Long-haul and the inevitable time difference leave our body tired and confused. Obvious things like setting your watch to the destination time and keeping hydrated whilst flying help. As does eating and sleeping at ‘local’ times.

A less obvious one is getting outside barefoot on the ground. The earth’s magnetic field differs from country to country. Your body is synchronized with this field, and one of the reasons we feel so rubbish when away, is that our body becomes out of synch. Standing barefoot on the earth helps ‘re-programme’ our body will the local magnetic field. Try it. It works.

Sleep

A new time zone disrupts the sleep hormone melatonin. Melatonin is made from serotonin and there are a few dietary sources than can increase serotonin production. Turkey, whole grain oats, wild caught fish, eggs and tofu contain a protein called tryptophan. Tryptophan helps synthesize serotonin so indirectly supports melatonin production. I hear you. Finding a restaurant on your first night that offers the above is probably not a priority. Is turkey even a thing on holiday anyway? In that case, a few drops of lavender or valerian essential oil on your pillow can help or try taking valerian in supplement form. Magnesium an hour before bed is all a winner.

If you’re interested in including any of the above recommendations then the Natural Dispensary can help with most. Use code ALLS010 for a 10% discount.

Wishing you safe and happy holidays.

Allison X

Find out more about our clinic date with Allison on Monday 18th June here.