Holiday Health – How to Survive the Summer Holidays

Want to keep healthy on holiday?  Whether you’re heading abroad or staying closer to home make sure you pack some healthy essentials  

We all look forward to our summer holidays. It gives us a chance to relax, and escape from the fast pace of daily life. But before you set off, get prepared and keep healthy. Here’s how to look and feel your best.

Get Sun Savvy

We are all aware of the importance of vitamin D and getting sufficient sunlight but that does not mean burning. So before you set off prepare your skin by eating plenty of sunshine friendly foods. These are foods rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, lycopene, carotenoids and astaxanthin that may help protect the skin against sun damage. While they can’t replace sunscreen of course, it’s worth including plenty of these antioxidant rich foods. My top choices include watermelon, tomatoes, green tea, blue and purple berries, summer squash, sweet potato, coloured peppers, leafy greens and carrots. An antioxidant supplement can also help support the skin’s defences while essential fatty acids such as evening primrose oil and fish oils can keep your skin nourished from within.

Hot weather can also leave our skin feeling dry and dehydrated. Ideally keep drinking water through the day – you can flavour it with lemon or lime or add slices of cucumber. Other options include coconut water or probiotic waters – these are not only a great way to rehydrate but probiotic water includes beneficial bacteria for alleviating tummy troubles too. Alternatively try making your own iced herbal teas or green tea. I also love making iced drinks with water kefir or kombucha

If you do burn there are many great options to try – traditionally aloe vera gel applied topically can be effective or creams containing Manuka honey, marigold or chamomile.


For some of us packing and arriving at your holiday destination can be incredibly stressful. Travel can also stress the immune system, especially if you’re travelling long haul. Supporting your immune system with a probiotic supplement like Saccharomyces boulardii  may be helpful as it is known to help alleviate diarrhoea in particular. Pack plenty of healthy snacks with you as food on planes is typically very processed and full of sugar and carbs.

If it takes a while for you to unwind when on holiday then try some calming herbal support. Ditch the caffeine and switch to herbal teas such as chamomile, lemon balm and passion flower. Magnesium, is nature’s very own tranquillizer, known to help relax muscles and nerves, and protect against the effects of stress so you could try a magnesium powder. There are great supplements too which contain calming GABA or L theanine. Other supplements may help you adjust to different time zones too.

Jet lag

Jet lag, medically referred to as desynchronosis, arises due to changes in the body’s circadian rhythms as a result of long-distance flights (east–west or west–east).  For some people jet lag can last several days. One of the best ways to tackle it is to keep hydrated when flying and avoid caffeine or alcohol which may stimulate the body too much.

Melatonin is a hormone that influences the sleep wake cycle and so increasing it may help with jet lag. While it can be prescribed from your doctor it is not available as a supplement in the UK you can try 5 HTP which is a precursor to serotonin which the body can make into melatonin. You could try drinking montmorency cherry juice which is naturally rich in melatonin. A study by Harvard University researchers has shown that if you avoid eating on a long haul flight, then eating on arrival you can cut the time it takes to adjust to a new time zone. Take a travel pillow, eye mask and ear plugs with you, to help you sleep on the plane if you need to. And if you need to refresh yourself on arrival bathe with few drops of Grapefruit, Rosemary, Juniper or Lemongrass oil. Homeopathic remedies are also available which may ease jet lag.

Travel Sickness

Motion sickness or travel sickness is never fun, and you can get it travelling by car, boat, plane or train.  One of the best ways to prevent it is sip water through the journey and stick to light easy to digest foods. You can also purchase bands worn around the wrist to tackle motion sickness, which work on acupressure points, following the same principles as Chinese medicine.

If you do feel sick then you may wish to try peppermint oil on a tissue or in tablets. Ginger is also a popular remedy. Try sucking on ginger sweets, drinking ginger tea or diluted cordial before and during the journey.

Tummy Troubles

One of the biggest complaints about travelling abroad is an upset digestive tract.  So ideally a month before you head off start taking a probiotic supplement to maintain a healthy population of beneficial bacteria and continue during and after your holiday. Many probiotic strains do not need chilling so are perfect to take with you. Saccharomyces boulardii is particularly effective against diarrhoea so is something I always take with me but you may wish to take a hardy mixed strain probiotic too.

If you like trying new foods abroad steer clear of buffets where food may have been sitting out for long periods of time. Stick to bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. Take some handy antiseptic wipes with you or pack silver colloidal spray, a convenient natural antiseptic with antimicrobial properties.

If you are susceptible to picking up infections you could take grapefruit seed extract or oregano oil whilst on holiday as a useful defence against unwanted pathogens.  Grapefruit seed extract diluted in water can also be used as a mouthwash, facial and nail cleanser, making it ideal for travelling.

Bites and Stings

While bites can be a simple nuisance when on holiday, getting bitten in some locations can of course put you at risk from illness.  For less exotic travels you can use natural insect repellent sprays many of which contain the herb neem, which has been traditionally used to deter insects such as midges and mosquitoes. Citronella spray on the skin may reduce the attractiveness of your skin to bugs.  One of the easiest ways to protect yourself is to keep your arms and legs covered in the evenings and your bedroom windows shut.  If you do get bitten dab on a little tea tree oil, lavender, calendula or aloe vera to calm and soothe the pain.  Certain creams contain manuka honey to heal broken skin and irritation from insect bites.

Get into the holiday mood and make up some of my healthy ice creams – try my superfood mint ice cream