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From Sakara In-House Nutritionist Colleen Coffey, MS, RDN, LDN

Picture this: Your plane just touched down in your dream destination, a sparkle of sunshine greets you as you look out the window. You’ve been planning for months—the reservations, the outfits, the OOO hand-off—and now it’s finally time to relax and relish your vacation. 

Nothing can throw off the vibes. That is, until you feel that first sniffle…and know that the dreaded ‘vacation cold’ has arrived.


Why We Get Sick on Vacation

Coming down with a cold while jetsetting isn’t all that surprising. Traveling often exposes us to new environments (and new pathogens), which can put undue stress on our bodies and overwhelm our immune systems. Many of these environments also happen to be crowded—from airports and train stations to destination hot-spots (like popular dinner spots or lines to see, say, the Mona Lisa)—elevating our risk of infectious agent exposure. 

Our routines, like our sleep patterns, diet, and exercise regime, are also disrupted when we’re away from home. These alterations can negatively affect our immune system, making us even more vulnerable to a pesky cold.

Traveling often exposes us to new environments (and new pathogens), which can put undue stress on our bodies and overwhelm our immune systems.


How to Nourish Your Immunity While Traveling

To minimize the impact of travel on our immune system, it’s important to prioritize good hygiene, adequate rest, and ample hydration—both before and during our trip. The weeks leading up to your trip, eat a diet rich in whole foods (such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein) to provide your body with immune-supporting essential nutrients, antioxidants, and vitamins. 

During your trip, lean on these cough-busting, runny nose-banishing nutrients:

  • B-Vitamins: Members of the B-vitamin family are crucial to producing immune system cells, and clinical studies have shown that deficiency compromises your immune function.
  • Zinc: This essential mineral helps your immune system fight off invading bacteria and viruses. 
  • Omega-3 fatty acids: Omega-3 fatty acids are anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce inflammation in the body, in turn supporting immune function.
  • Vitamin D: Need another excuse to lay out on the beach (slathered in SPF, of course)? Vitamin D is important for immune function and can be obtained from sunlight exposure or supplements.
  • Ionic Trace Minerals: Ionic trace minerals, like magnesium, improve our white blood cell’s ability to seek out and destroy germs.

(Travel must-haves: The Foundation—our easy-to-pack daily supplement pack—is abundant in the micronutrients that balance your immune system, and our Beauty Water Drops are deeply-hydrating, TSA-friendly tinctures of ionic trace minerals.) 

Whether vacation entails dining out or ringing room service in a plush robe, look for these immune-boosting foods: 

  • Garlic: Rich in phytonutrient allicin, garlic is an antimicrobial that fights bacteria, viruses, and protozoa (parasites). Plus, it has a powerful effect on the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems. Aglio e Olio pasta, please. 
  • Elderberry: Not only does elderberry have antiviral properties (related to phytonutrients called anthocyanins), it’s also rich in vitamin C—an antioxidant that helps to protect cells from damage and supports the immune system.
  • Broccoli: Within these little trees, you can find sulforaphane, a bioactive and natural chemical that helps ramp up your immunity.

Safe travels, Sakaralite. 

Traveling in the contiguous U.S.? Nourish and support your immune system by ordering your Sakara meals to your destination—allowing you to flood your body with clean, whole, plant-rich foods for lunch, and then go out and revel in the joy and spontaneity of the night.

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Filed Under: Foods for immunity, Healthy travel tips, How to get rid of a cold, How to stay healthy on a plane

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