Traveling can often put a strain on your health.
Crowded airports, hotels, rental cars, and rideshares can be a breeding ground for viruses and bacteria. Adding to the risk, disruptions to your sleep, acclimating to different time zones, and eating on the go can further weaken your immune defenses.
What can you do to keep your body healthy and well when it’s time to take flight?
Of course, you already know the common sense methods for warding off travel germs:
- Stay hydrated (traveling can dehydrate your body)
- Wash hands often with soap and hot water
- Carry hand sanitizer
- Maintain a consistent sleep schedule
- Avoid traveling to areas with confirmed outbreaks
But what if you could do more to shore up your health while you’re on the go?
We asked Functional Medicine Nurse Practitioner Maggie Berghoff for some out-of-the-box, next-level health tips for travelers.
Berghoff works with celebrity and CEO clients who often have to travel and these are her recommendations for staying energetic and healthy on business and leisure trips.
Eat Greens on the Go
Dark, leafy greens like spinach, swiss chard, and kale are rich sources of immune-supporting nutrients like vitamins C, K, and folate, not to mention antioxidants that help fight free-radical damage in your body.
But getting your greens can be difficult when traveling—it’s not like you can pull out your blender in the middle of a flight to prepare a green juice smoothie.
Berghoff recommends traveling with green juice packets to easily put into a reusable water bottle twice a day to boost your nutrients and immune system.
“Traveling takes a toll on the immune system with gravity changes, circadian rhythm changes, time zone differences, stress, consuming foods you don’t typically eat, and more. I always travel with easy, on-the-go packets of powdered greens to support my immune system,” says Berghoff.
Ditch the Hotel
Hotels may bring some added convenience to your trip. (Hello, room service!) But if you’re trying to stay well while traveling, you may want to seek out accommodations that offer more comforts-of-home over convenience.
Berghoff suggests staying at an Airbnb/ VRBO, rather than a hotel.
“Many hotels have tiny mini-fridges that don’t hold much, if anything, and no way to heat up or prepare food. When you’re at an Airbnb/VRBO, most people feel more comfortable and at home, but it also allows you to purchase foods at the local health store to stock in the refrigerator and cook,” says Berghoff.
“Eat as close to how you eat at home while on the road, to keep your digestive system happy and energy levels up.”
Long-distance travel can increase your exposure to EMF radiation.
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) are invisible areas of energy emitted from x-rays, cell phones, wifi networks, computers, and Bluetooth devices, which the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
When you travel through an airport, you’re increasing your exposure to EMFs.
Consider the number of people using their cellphones, tablets, and computers, all connecting to a Wifi signal amplified throughout the entire airport. Full-body scanners at security checkpoints also emit EMFs.
And once you’re in the air, you’re exposed to EMFs from computer and communication systems, radar, onboard wifi, and even from space. The BBC warns frequent air travelers to be aware of cosmic radiation—high speed, subatomic particles that you could be exposed to at high altitudes.
All of this added EMF exposure during long-distance travel is why Berghoff recommends blocking EMFs if you’ll be boarding a flight.
“There are undergarments and blankets you can purchase that will help to block harmful EMFs from your body. EMFs may be everywhere, but we can reduce their effect by using protective barriers while traveling.”
Stay Healthy While You Travel
Whether you travel for business, wellness, or leisure, leaving your home doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your health.
Follow these health-supporting tips (and don’t forget common-sense preventative practices like washing your hands and carrying hand sanitizer) to keep your wellness in check the next time you travel.