How to fight jet lag with nutrition

Thirty-one hours and two flights later, we had finally set foot in busy and bustling Bangkok, Thailand for the start of our one month Southeast Asia adventure!

Thailand is 12 hours ahead of Toronto, Canada and we had landed at 11:00am Bangkok time. That meant it was 11:00pm at home, and our bodies were telling us it was time for some much needed shut eye.

Planning to continue my Health Coach Certification studies with Nutraphoria throughout our journeys, I had brought along my iPad fitted with the course textbook Staying Healthy With Nutrition by Elson M. Haas. This book is pretty much a nutritional bible, covering everything from vitamins, minerals and yes, how to stay healthy while travelling.

In fact, there was a whole section on Healthy Travel that I had bookmarked to read on our flight down, and I’m so glad I did. This laid the groundwork for a smooth transition into Thailand time and maintaining vitality during our trip.

Alas, here are five stellar ways to help prevent jet lag during a trip or vacation

1. Power Through: This is perhaps the most obvious way to get ahead of jet lag. Since we had arrived in Thailand at 11:00am, and were 12 hours ahead of Toronto time, the only sensible thing to do was to stay awake until the natural Bangkok night fall to help our bodies acclimate to the new time zone. This was challenging, but we made it to 8:00pm Thailand time before hitting the sheets.

2. Water Intake: The air inside a plane is dry and can dehydrate a person rapidly. This is even more of a concern for long haul flights, like the one we took to Thailand. Furthermore, alcohol and coffee consumption can worsen the issue. In Staying Healthy With Nutrition, Haas suggests upping your water intake to avoid dehydration, constipation, headaches and fatigue as well as stress before, after and during a flight.

3. Eat Your Regular Foods: Bangkok is the mecca of delicious and sinful street food: pad Thai, fried banana pancakes, deep fried spring rolls and more. In the book Staying Healthy With Nutrition, Haas suggests bringing along or finding some healthy snacks that you normally enjoy at home to help maintain energy and keep your stomach in check. Although we didn’t completely avoid these sinful street foods, one of the first stops we made in Bangkok was at a fresh fruit market, where we picked up familiar fruits and nuts to snack on. From my studies with Nutraphoria, I’ve learned about the value and quality of local fresh fruit, and this really helped to keep us nourished and our exhaustion at bay throughout our journey.

4. Exercise Regularly: One of the last things you might want to do on vacation is exercise. However it is one of the best things you can do to help counter jet lag and maintain health and vitality during your trip. Haas says that regular exercise is essential, as it reduces stress, helps clear toxins, and keeps us fit for any excursions we might go on during our vacation. Luckily exercise comes in many forms, and we found ourselves briskly walking rather than cabbing throughout the streets of Thailand which helped us maintain our physical fitness and work up a healthy appetite.

5. Take Your Vitamins and Supplements: Vitamins can really help you adjust to a new time zone quicker by helping to relax the brain and body. To counter jet lag, Haas suggests taking Vitamin C, calcium, melatonin and magnesium to get a proper sleep, especially after flying from West to East. To strengthen your day time energy, use herbs such as ginseng and tea for wakefulness.

All of these tips are merely suggestions, and it is important to do what feels right for your body to optimize your health and vitality while on vacation (and of course that means leaving room for indulgence!)

If you are interested in learning more about how to maintain a healthy body, mind and soul, visit Nutraphoria’s website for information on their affordable, online holistic nutrition and health coach programs.

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