Steer Clear of the Cold: How to Boost Your Immune System While Traveling

girl on plane

Whether you get to be away the whole summer, are hitting the road every weekend for the beach or getting a week long getaway, summer often finds us away from home. But traveling can be quite the stressor on the body, meaning your immune system has to work overtime. Sniffling and sneezing can put a damper on summer festivities. One of the best things you can do to prevent yourself from getting sick is to strengthen your immune system through nutrition. After all, you want to be able to taste those gorgeous summer meals! Give your immune system an extra boos with these tips.

Hydration: Water, water, water. I can't stress this one enough. Your body needs water to function, and your immune system is no exception. We tend to get lazier later in the afternoon, so stick to "LBL" -- liter by lunch. Why? If you drink half of your necessary fluids in the morning, it will be easier to sneak in an adequate amount of water later in the day. Many times my clients express that they don't drink water because it's boring, so I suggest adding natural flavors from lemons limes, mint and/or cucumbers. Plus, you'll get a natural boost of energy and essential vitamins that support immunity!

Yogurt: It's no secret yogurt is good for us. It's packed with beneficial bacterial cultures that help support digestion and our immune system. It's inevitable: Your child's camp, your office, they're all filled with germs, so it's crucial everyone starts their day off right. Try Siggi or Fage brand yogurts, or if you need a non-dairy option, I like Silk's plain dairy-free yogurt alternative. You can even freeze yogurt on Popsicle sticks for a fun, immune-boosting dessert! Don't want to make them yourself? Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars are a great option. 

Keep It Clean: Airports, planes, trains, rest stops, and even your own car can be a breeding ground for germs, but you don't have to be a victim. It's simple: Keep your hands clean. Don't hit the road without hand sanitizer in tow. I never leave the house without my Herban Essentials Towelettes. Many hand sanitizers are filled with chemicals, but these are made with all-natural ingredients. I have to admit, I'm a sucker for great-smelling soaps and lotions, and I'm a big fan of the orange scent. You can also use these to wipe down a plane or train seat when you get onboard or commonly used surfaces in your hotel room when you check-in, like the TV remote and door knobs. 

Pumpkin: Orange is the new green. Its orange color indicates pumpkins are packed with powerful antioxidants. In particular, pumpkin is high in beta-carotene, which helps fight harmful bacteria. We may not be in the short pumpkin season, but pumpkin puree is available year round. 

Seaweed: Or as I like to call it, "C" weed. One serving of seaweed may pack in up to 20 percent of your daily recommended vitamin C intake. A shot of vitamin C increases cold-combative white blood cells and helps shorten the duration of sickness. And that's not all. Seaweed is also loaded with vitamin B, which may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Talk about a super food! Instead of high-calorie airport food, I tell my clients to throw gimMe Roasted Seaweed Snacks or SeaSnax Chomperz in their carry-on bags. Noshing on seaweed snacks is a great way to satisfy your crunch craving while warding off disease.

White Tea: The health benefits of tea are hard to ignore. Some studies indicate it may even help prevent cancer. Try it iced in the warm summer months for its antioxidant and bacteria-fighting qualities. White tea is one of the least-processed teas, meaning it has higher levels of immune-boosting polyphenols.

Heather Bauer, RD CDN
Heather Bauer, RD CDN


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