Here's How To Poop Regularly On Holiday

Expert advice on how to avoid the dreaded travel bloat.
Couple is riding in a local Thai taxi and the woman is feeling a stomachache.
Johnce via Getty Images
Couple is riding in a local Thai taxi and the woman is feeling a stomachache.

Have you noticed issues with your gut health? Well, you’re not the only one. A study by Holland and Barrett found that 58% of people in the UK have experienced gut health problems, with 45% of those saying their issues are chronic (lasting three months or more).

Unfortunately, our gut problems don’t go away when we go abroad. With holiday season around the corner, it’s essential that we don’t allow our gut health to ruin our time spent in the sun. Especially since a poll at MADE wellness centre revealed that three out of five of their members were worried about their gut health having an impact on their summer holiday.

This is why Penny Weston a nutrition, wellness, and fitness expert and the director of award-winning Moddershall Oaks Country Spa Retreat is sharing her advice on how to look after your gut health whilst holidaying this summer:

1. Avoid going to bed on a full stomach

We all love to get a nice nap in the sun after we’ve had a full meal on holiday but you should wait a while before lying down.

“When you’re lying down, it’s much harder for the digestive system to work efficiently. Food is best digested when the body is upright. It can add to bloating if you sleep on a full stomach,” Weston says.

You need to give your body time to digest properly. “To do this, it is a good idea to have a lighter meal in the evening, so you aren’t bloated later on, and eat your main meal at lunchtime,” she says.

Weston adds: “However, I understand this is not always something we can do on holiday. I’m not saying restrict yourself whilst, on your holidays, I am just saying make mindful choices if you know it can have an impact further down the line.”

2. Skip the pre-flight fast food

Plane bloating might seem like a new term but it’s actually quite common as the gasses in our intestines can expand up to 30% when flying.

“Although it’s normal, there are definitely foods we can avoid which will help out with bloating on the plane” Weston explains.

“When we are chewing gum or eating a hard sweet, you will notice that we are swallowing more than we normally would - and most of this is air,” Weston says.

This can lead to bloating and even stomach cramps.“If you are going to have gum, I would definitely try to avoid sugar-free gums, as they contain an ingredient called sorbitol, an artificial sweetener which can act as a laxative due to the poor digestion of it,” Weston says.

Additionally, you should avoid having a big meal before a flight especially fast food. “Digestion is harder for the body when on a flight due to the expansion of gas in the stomach,” Weston says.

She suggests opting for a lighter meal when traveling, especially if you are flying long haul.

“Although fast food at the airport is a ritual for many of us, it should definitely be skipped. Fast food often contains more sodium, which can dehydrate you and cause headaches and dizziness. Fast food also contains a lot of saturated fats, which are difficult for the body to process,” Weston says.

3. Choose plant-based foods and probiotics

“I’m a firm believer in eating a healthy, balanced diet rich in all the essential nutrients that come from plant-based goodness, such as lots of fruit and vegetables,” says Weston.

Eating different vegetables in a wide range of colours will allow you to stock up on essential antioxidants to best help your body’s inflammatory response.

“They are also high in fibre, which is good for feeding gut bacteria and helping the process through the gut,” states Weston.

“Probiotics and fermented foods can also help promote healthy gut bacteria” Weston adds.

Eating food such as yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented vegetables is great for your gut health. “Probiotic bacteria is sensitive to heat and moisture and products should ideally be refrigerated. Most labels will say whether a probiotic needs to be kept in the fridge or not,” Weston adds.

4. Steer clear of the pre-holiday stress

It’s easier said than done but try to relax before your holiday. “We are often running around pre-holiday, tying up loose ends in work or making sure we have everything packed - however stress can have huge impacts on our gut health,” Weston says.

Stress affects tut health and has been shown to reduce the diversity in the gut.

5. Stay hydrated

Drinking water during or after a meal will help your body break down and process food and therefore help the digestion process.

“Water helps your body break down food so your body can absorb the nutrients,” Weston explains.

“Water helps move nutrients around the body and flush out bad toxins. Having a hydrated gut will help with better skin, the immune system, and brain function as well as energy levels.”

6. Give the hotel’s Happy Hour a miss

Drinking abroad is fun but drinking alcohol in excess can interfere with the production of digestive enzymes and juices so it becomes harder for your body to digest and absorb nutrients from food.

“This can lead to excessive fermentation in your gut, which causes bloating, gas, and loose stools,” Weston says.

She continues: “Alcohol is a diuretic, causing you to go to the toilet more and feel dehydrated. This causes symptoms like headaches and fatigue so drink plenty of water while drinking alcohol and before you go to bed.”