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General Health - Happy Flying

By Debbie Paddington Dip ION

You have planned, saved and looked forward to your holiday all year, but before you can really start to enjoy yourself, you first have to deal with the hassle and stress of flying. So what can you do to ensure you arrive at your destination feeling well and relaxed? Equally, you don’t want to be feeling jet-lagged when you get there!

Well if the thought of flying or travelling worries you, a little preparation can make a big difference to your travel experience. Making sure you get to the airport in plenty of time already sets you up for a calmer journey and you will be less likely to forget something, too. Let the cabin crew know if you are anxious and they can keep an eye on you and if you don’t like turbulence, reserve a seat near the centre of the aircraft where it’s felt less strongly. To keep calm, occupy your mind with a good book or by listening to music. Nutrients such as theanine, Melissa officinalis, passion flower and taurine can be useful as they help to reduce anxiety and promote relaxation.

Let probiotics take the strain!

According to a recent study, one in ten medical incidents on planes are due to digestive problems. So boosting your population of friendly intestinal bacteria before and during your holiday may be a good idea. Lactobacillus sporogenes is a friendly bacteria that is not sensitive to heat so it’s ideal to take on your travels, as there is no need for refrigeration. Grapefruit seed extract also has the ability to support the digestive system and taken every day while on holiday it may help prevent any unwanted bacteria and other organisms from taking hold, causing the dreaded traveller’s tummy.

The same study found that by far the most common medical condition on board flights was deep vein thrombosis, commonly called DVT. Limited movement and often-cramped seating can cause circulation to become sluggish, or damage blood vessel walls, which leads to an increased tendency for a clot to form. You are most at risk if you smoke, are over 40, on the Pill, are overweight or have had the condition before. Recommended advice to reduce the chances of DVT are to drink plenty of water, avoid drinking alcohol, get up and move around as often as possible and wear compression stockings to improve circulation. Studies have shown that vitamin E, ginkgo biloba and fish oils help support healthy circulation.

One of the worst things about flying is jet lag, which can last for several days, especially after a long-haul flight and can cause fatigue, irritability and sleepless nights.

The amino acid 5HTP is involved in the sleep-wake cycle and so may be helpful to take about an hour before bedtime to help the body adjust to the new time zone. 

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