Staying Wellthy While Traveling ✈️
Aug 04, 2021
The Gut Health > Stress > Sleep > Immune System Connection
- Erin Antosh, Clinical Herbalist, Culinary Nutrition Expert, & Senior Wellth Advisor
Whether it is the stress you experience when preparing to get away, cortisol spikes when rushing to make your flight, or the anxiety associated with traveling in our current time, it is important to understand the connection between stress and its impact on our immune system when traveling. Since more than 70% of your immune system is housed in your gut, anything that impacts the delicate balance within your gut microbiome can weaken your immune system.
Think about a time when you were getting ready to travel. You likely put your all into wrapping up a stressful work project, clearing out your inbox, and ensuring that everything was in motion to run seamlessly (hopefully) while you're gone. Then finally, you set that OOO reminder, turn on your automatic reply, and check out for your much deserved vacation...only to get sick.
Most of us have experienced some version of this before. But why?
Due to the connection between our gut and our brain (the gut-brain axis), stress can cause gut dysbiosis and in turn, dysbiosis can increase anxiety, digestive distress, and much more.
Because of this connection and the implications of the stress that leads up to it, travel can send your body into a cascade that compromises your immune system.
When you are out of your normal rhythm, and potentially out of your timezone, your sleep is affected. On top of that, we all know it's hard to eat well and stay hydrated when traveling. The sugary, processed food that we tend to eat more of when traveling can harm your gut microbiome and often doesn’t contain a lot of fiber to keep things regular, contributing to constipation.
Travel-related stress, poor dietary choices while on the road, and interrupted sleep can all throw off the balance of your gut flora, which in turn can cause bowel irregularity, a weakened immune system, and yes...even more stress.
The cycle can be vicious, but the good news is that there are easy, delicious and even fun ways that we can protect our guts, and therefore immune system when we're on the go.
On-the-go gut friendly dosing tips
Nut Butter: Mix 1 tsp of Follow Your Gut or Triphala with 1 tbsp of nut/seed butter (you can find nut butters in travel size packets). The fat in the nut butter is very satiating and can hide herbs that are not as tasty (ahem...Triphala). This can help things well ... get moving.
Honey: Mix 1 tsp of Astragalus with 2 tsp of honey (preferably local raw honey for its medicinal properties). This is combination is a particularly powerful immune system boost.
Applesauce or Yogurt: Bring a travel sized applesauce or yogurt and add Slay All Day. If traveling by plane, note that TSA considers these liquids, so make sure it is in a 3oz container (or smaller). Slay All Day is the perfect way to add a steady and jitter-free energy boost to your long, exhausting travel day.
Tea or Coffee: One of the easiest ways to give your gut a hug is by sprinkling in a Signature Blend featured in The Littles in your coffee or tea. It's quick, it's easy, and it's an instant nutrient boost while you're on the move.