From sunburn to salmonella there are hundreds of ways holiday heaven can turn to holiday hell this summer. Matt Chittock sources the natural approaches to help travellers fight back

We’ve all been there. As the initial feel-good just-got-off-the-plane holiday buzz starts to fade, it’s replaced by something a lot nastier. That twinge in the tummy might be diarrhoea – and could that tingle on your skin be sunburn – already?

According to a YouGov survey for the British Red Cross, we’ve got pretty good reason to be paranoid. The research shows that more Brits are worried about falling ill with sickness and diarrhoea on holiday than any other health problem. And yet, only around a quarter (26%) would have the first aid knowledge to do anything about it.

Get smart

With this in mind, it’s got to be a smart idea to buy a basic first aid kid and do some research about how to use it before your travels. It also pays to make room in your luggage for some of nature’s best holiday health solutions too.

“Holidays are always something to look forward to, however, for some they bring a few problems,” explains Kelly Rose from Higher
Nature’s nutritionist team.  “Travelling to the holiday destination can be a stress in itself for some, and those who have issues around flying may find anxiety and panic sets in. Nutrients such as theanine and magnesium are known to support anxiety and theanine in particular is a great choice as it is thought to promote alpha wave production in the brain, which is associated with relaxation.  These nutrients may also be of use for helping to calm excitable or fearful children.”

And it’s not just fear of flying that can be an issue,  once you’ve landed jet-lag often follows travel to long-haul destinations. To help beat it, Rose recommends the amino acid 5-HTP, which she says may help return the body’s sleep-wake cycle to its natural settings.

As natural health experts know, 5-HTP is a precursor to melatonin, the hormone produced by the pineal gland in the brain in response
to darkness.

“Being sensible
on the booze front
can solve a lot of problems before
they happen”

Prepare yourself

Another all too common health issue around going away is the dreaded holiday flu that comes as a result of burn-out when you’re trying to clear your pre-holiday in-box.

Erin McCann, nutrition consultant at Unbeelievable Health, recommends bolstering the body before travel with immune-supporting foods including citrus fruits, broccoli, garlic and onions.

“Add natural immune-supporting nutritional supplements to your diet,” she says. “Look out for beta glucans which aid the immune system in developing antibodies to microbial and fungal invaders, and elderberry which helps slow the rate of viral infection by altering the viral cell membrane, making it difficult for the virus cells to move and to replicate. Propolis is also an excellent natural choice.”

There is a natural place for a high-dose vitamin C supplement to strengthen the immune system as well, complemented by a reliable multivitamin.

And what about the dreaded ‘holiday tummy’? Rose says that the humble grapefruit can be a great
helper here.

“It is worth packing some grapefruit seed extract, a natural anti-microbial, which may be taken daily while on holiday,” she says.

“It can also be used in drinking water to sanitize it and for washing fruits and vegetables if it’s a self-catering holiday. Increasing garlic usage may also be beneficial, as research shows that bacteria causing diarrhoea are highly sensitive to it.

If we’re talking anything to do with the stomach then probiotics are always a good idea,” adds Aimee Benbow, technical services manager at Viridian. “There’s a strain of probiotics  – Saccharomyces boulardii – which research shows can actually help treat holiday bugs. Taking it before the holiday starts, as well as when you’re at your destination, can help.”

Catching the rays

Meanwhile, when it comes to sun protection, these days everyone seems to get the basic messages: use a high SPF sun cream (there are some great natural choices – like Lavera’s Sensitive SPF30) and stay out of the sun at peak times.

However, there are also some good natural ways to boost your levels of sun protection even further. For instance, Rose says that beta carotene – the carotenoid naturally found in yellow, orange and green fruit and vegetables – can help protect the skin against UV rays and sunburn.

“Its effect seems to be at its highest after ten weeks of supplementation,” she says. “Boosting dietary intake by including peppers, carrots, squash, apricots, spinach and broccoli may also be wise prior to a holiday.  Studies have also found that astaxanthin, another carotenoid which is found in the green micro-algae Haematoccus pluvialis, protects the skin against UV rays and offers potent protection for skin cells. Further research has shown that astaxanthin might minimize the effects of sun exposure such as wrinkling and sagging.”

“Astaxanthin can be found in salmon, so including it in the diet is a good place to start. Pick the wild variety rather than the farmed if you can as it contains around four times as much of this valuable anti-oxidant. It is also found in other pink seafood such as lobster, crab and prawns, so perfect for topping up your levels if you are in a seaside destination.”

Finally, as at home, when you’re abroad being sensible on the booze front can solve a lot of problems before
they happen.

“There’s a bit of common sense here,” says Viridian’s Benbow. “If you’re in a hot destination then you really need to stay well hydrated: drinking alcohol will dehydrate you. So have fun, have a bit of alcohol, but don’t overdo it!”


Troubles with travelling

Whether it’s brought on by turbulent flights, choppy ferry crossings or bumpy roads, travel sickness is no fun for anyone. At its heart, the condition is caused by confusion. When put under pressure, the brain’s input disagrees with what the inner ear senses, which is what leaves sufferers feeling dizzy and sick. Luckily, there are lots of natural ways to beat it, like:

• Ginger has been used to treat nausea for centuries. Yet ironically its distinctive taste can make travel sickness-suffering kids feel ill. One clever solution is The Ginger People’s Gin-Gin Chewy Ginger Candy – which mixes the hit of real ginger with the more-ishness of a sweet.   

• Nelson’s Travella product is a homeopathic aid for reducing travel sickness, featuring a 6c homeopathic potency of apomorph, staphisagria, cocculus, theridion, petroleum, tabacum and nux vomica.  All of which might be enough to help you start feeling better.

• Try the acupuncture angle with Sea Bands which have two plastic dimples that gently press into the wrist at key acupressure points. They work on a pressure point called Pericardium 6, which is found between the two tendons on the inside of the arm – the optimum position for reducing nausea.

• As we know, travel sickness happens when the brain can’t compute what the body is feeling. So focusing your gaze at a fixed point on the horizon (a distant car for example, or the setting sun) can help it reset.


Awards1Magnesium Body range

01226 814030
Email: [email protected] 

The BetterYou™ Magnesium Body range is this summer’s answer to healthy, glowing skin. The fast-absorbing formula has been designed to lock in moisture as well as repair and replenish skin cells. Magnesium is crucial not only for skin performance but importantly enhancing its ability to function as a protective barrier. Combined with 100% natural coconut oil, shea butter and vitamin E, the skin-kind formulation will guarantee to leave skin feeling beautifully soft and supple.  Dermatologically tested and suitable for the most sensitive of skin, BetterYou™ Magnesium Body Butter and Lotion are absolute essentials for every summer suitcase.


Dr-organicAloe Pura Skincare

Optima Consumer Health Ltd
Tel: 01274 526360
E-mail: [email protected]

A range of natural body, sun and hair care products containing soothing Aloe Vera, suitable for all types of skin. With organic Aloe Vera, Shea Butter and Vitamin E alongside advanced vitamin and botanical extracts. Helps restore dry and damaged skin, can also be applied to stretch marks, scars, chapped skin, sun burn, skin irritations and minor burns. With organic Aloe Vera and natural antiseptic Tea Tree Oil, cleansing and antiseptic, suitable for use on rashes.


Health-AidAcidophilus Plus

HealthAid Ltd
Tel: 020 8426 3400
E-mail: [email protected]

Acidophilus Plus 4 Billion – Just Good Health – A key to good digestive health and overall well-being is the maintenance of a healthy bacterial balance in the gut. Poor diet, stress, alcohol and antibiotics can wreak havoc in the gastrointestinal tract by destroying good bacteria. Bursting with four billion gastric and bile resistant strains of friendly bacteria, HealthAid Acidophilus Plus 4 billion capsules offers beneficial probiotics, all cultured, using a dairy-free medium. It helps to keep harmful bacteria at bay, while boosting and balancing the body’s natural defences, giving strength, vigour and vitality to the body. Acidophilus Plus 4 Billion, retails at £11.99 for 60 capsules. Contact HealthAid Ltd on 020 8426 3400 for purchase and stockist information or visit


Kinetic---JASON-Travel-Size-ToothpasteJASON Travel Size Toothpaste

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
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JASON top selling fluoride-free toothpastes are now available in a handy 85g tube. Available flavours are Powersmile – an exclusive blend of gentle polishers and stain-fighting botanicals to prevent tartar build-up whilst gently whitening and brightening; and Sea Fresh – featuring Blue Green Algae to strengthen teeth, and gentle polishers and stain-fighting botanicals to help brighten and prevent tartar build-up. Free fro SLS/SLES, preservatives, artificial colours and sweeteners, propylene glycol and gluten. Certified cruelty free, and suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Available to retailers are retail displays with 12 tubes, perfect for by the till. For more information visit or call 08450 725 825


Kinetic---Life-Drink-SachetsTerranova Life Drink Sachets

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Life Drink Sachets contain an excellent super-nutrition powerhouse that makes a superb traveller’s friend, for times when healthy food is not accessible or at the front of the mind. Contains a staggering array of health-promotng ingredients including balanced vegetable protein from peas and rice, chlorophyll-rich spirulina and chlorella, a blend of 10 power-berries and 10 power greens, omega 3-6-9 oils, prebiotic fibre, 5 probiotic strains and 7 digestive enzymes, rice bran actives, and a power-mushroom combo of reishi and shitake. As with all Terranova products, this is suitable for vegans, contains no additives, colours, flavours, preservatives, fillers, binders or other excipients. For more information visit or call 08450 725 825


Kinetic---JASON-Summer-CollectionJASON Summer Collection

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Life Drink Sachets contain an excellent super-nutrition powerhouse that makes a superb traveller’s friend, for times when healthy food is not accessible or at the front of the mind. Contains a staggering array of health-promotng ingredients including balanced vegetable protein from peas and rice, chlorophyll-rich spirulina and chlorella, a blend of 10 power-berries and 10 power greens, omega 3-6-9 oils, prebiotic fibre, 5 probiotic strains and 7 digestive enzymes, rice bran actives, and a power-mushroom combo of reishi and shitake. As with all Terranova products, this is suitable for vegans, contains no additives, colours, flavours, preservatives, fillers, binders or other excipients. For more information visit or call 08450 725 825


unbeelievable-HealthxBEE Prepared immune support

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BEE Prepared for colds, hay fever, travel, exams & more! Multi award winning BEE Prepared immune support is  championed by Olympic athletes & notable health experts and enjoys excellent consumer reviews. Bee Prepared combines plant based nutrients, all of which have a proven history of benefits, including bee propolis, black elderberry, olive leaf , beta glucans and more and is suitable for most ages. Capsules may be opened into smoothies & juices. An all-in-one wellness must have!


Kinetic---JarrowJarrow Formulas Jarro-Dophilus

Kinetic Natural Products Distributor
Tel: 08450 725 825
E-mail: [email protected]

Jarrow Formulas Jarrodophilus Ultra Jarro-Dophilus 50 Billion Probiotics highly enough. As you can tell from the title each capsule contains 50 Billion Organisms per capsule of 10 different strains from 3 dif-ferent genera. Each capsule is coated with a gel matrix to protect the probiotics through their transit through the gut, so that they might end up where they are supposed to be – in the intestine. the product is vegetarian, and contains no wheat, no gluten, no dairy, no egg, no fish/shellfish, no peanuts/tree nuts. Each tub holds two months supply, at under £40! For more information visit or call 08450 725 825


WeledaxxHayfever Relief Spray

Tel: 0115 944 8200
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Weleda’s award-winning homeopathic Hayfever Relief oral spray (£9.95 20ml) is manufactured using plants grown by Weleda to Demeter-certified standards. Containing potencies of Euphrasia, Allium cepa and Gelsemium, it’s indicated for the symptomatic relief of hayfever and allergic rhinitis. Allium cepa is from fresh onion bulb grown biodynamically in Weleda’s Derbyshire herb gardens, whilst Euphrasia officinalis is from Weleda’s gardens in Germany. Gelsemium sempervirens, or yellow jasmine, is sourced from the wild in North Carolina. Suitable for children over 12, the spray is easy to use – just 1-2 metered doses three times daily, onto the tongue.


Lepicol 3 in 1 High Fibre Formula

Tel:  01460 243230
E-mail:  [email protected]

Lepicol is a multi-fibre source product containing gentle psyllium husk which contributes to maintaining normal bowel transit, as well as inulin which is a prebiotic fibre source. Together, these two ingredients can help ensure your recommended daily intake of fibre. The third key ingredient of Lepicol is 5 probiotic strains that are naturally present in a healthy person’s digestive system. Lepicol is available in a handy travel pack containing 14 x 10g sachets and does not need to be refrigerated.


Solgar--Curcumin-Pack-ShotSolgar Full Spectrum Cucumin 185x

Solgar Vitamin & Herb
Tel: 01442 890 355
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More, better, faster…proven1, that’s the difference with Solgar® Full Spectrum Curcumin  185x. In fact, the bioavailability is 185x better1, meaning Solgar® has transformed poorly absorbed curcumin into a form that is more absorbable than ever before, making it readily available for your body. No one unlocks the power of Curcumin like Solgar®. Now, Solgar® changes what you believed was possible from Curcumin…forever. Solgar® Full Spectrum Curcumin 185x, convenient for an active lifestyle…one softgel, once a day – 185x better.1

1Compared to standardised curcumin extract.


Solgar1-(1)Imagine What Probi® Can Do For You…

Solgar Vitamin & Herb
Tel: 01442 890 355
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Probi® 20 billion and 30 billion from Solgar® is the next generation in digestive support. Focusing on today’s advances in digestive bacterial strains, Probi® concentrates less on the quantity of different strains, and more on an identified strain that can help with digestive concerns. With over 10 years of scientific review studies, Probi® helps to address occasional gas and bloating and helps support against daily abdominal discomfort. Taken once a day, the active bacterial cultures in Probi® work specifically and effectively to help balance your digestive tract.   So feeling well… becomes that easy.


BioKult_60_side11_HRTraveller’s Tummy Troubles?

Depending on your holiday destination, there is a 5-50% chance that you could experience a bout of traveller’s diarrhoea this year1.   Especially when abroad, local strains of bacteria will be new to the body and therefore, may cause some gut disturbance compared to those microbes we are familiar with at home2.  Since childhood we have built up a team of antibodies waiting ready to fight common invaders but are not ready for unknown foreign bugs.  

Live probiotic bacteria are being used successfully by many travellers and tested in studies to support healthy digestive and immune systems at these times.  A review of all 940 studies between 1977 to 2005, concluded that probiotics were able to significantly prevent traveller’s diarrhoea with no serious adverse reactions1.  One study looked at a group of tourists visiting Turkey where traveller’s diarrhoea affected 40% of the tourists compared to only 24% of those who took a lactobacillus containing probiotic1,2.  A multi-strain probiotic containing Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium bifidum was shown to be particularly beneficial1.

Bio-Kult is a unique, multi-strain probiotic with 14 strains of beneficial bacteria, expertly formulated to help maintain healthy digestive and immune systems.  Bio-Kult is an ideal probiotic to take on holiday as it doesn’t need to be refrigerated and will be stable at high temperatures for the short duration of a holiday. We recommend taking a probiotic two weeks before, during and two weeks after your holiday.

1.  McFarland LV. 2007. Meta-analysis of probiotics for the prevention of traveler’s diarrhea. Travel Med Infect Dis. 5(2):97-105.
2. Cartwright P. 2011. Probiotic Allies.  How to Maximise the Health Benefits of your Microflora.  Prentice Publishing, Ilford. pp65-66.



About the Author

Matt Chittock

Freelance Journalist

Articles by Matt Chittock
Matt Chittock
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