We’ve all been there: You’ve been counting down the minutes until your upcoming vacation, only to be knocked out by a cold or virus merely hours after arriving at your destination. Contrary to popular belief, flying won’t make you sick – but a compromised immune system will, and the recycled air in airports and airplanes is a prime place for germs to spread. While hand and seat sanitizers can work wonders while in flight, a healthy immune system is the best way to combat sickness, particularly leading up to long travel day. Scroll down for our top six pre-travel supplements, elixirs and lifestyle hacks to keep you healthy in-transit and beyond.
VITAMIN D: Vitamin D is crucial to activating our immune defenses, according to research from the Mayo Clinic. Although our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to the sun, it can be difficult to get adequate amounts during the long winter months. Supplements are a great way to boost the immune system, just make sure you look for at least 600 international units (IU) per day when choosing one. Prefer to go the whole food route? Fatty fish, cheese and egg yolks are all rich in Vitamin D. Bonus: Vitamin D can also help aid in digestive health and brain health—a win-win.
CHAGA MUSHROOM ELIXIR We’re huge fans of Four Sigmatic’s superfood mushroom beverages, and when it comes to boosting immunity, and we swear by the Chaga Mushroom Elixir mix. One packet contains extremely high antioxidant properties that support your daily wellness, energy levels, and protect your immune functions. Simply throw a packet in your carry on, ask the stewardess for a cup of hot water and voilà—you’ve got yourself an instant immunity elixir.
MAINTAIN YOUR ZEN: Your first line of defense against illness is adopting a healthy lifestyle, and this means doing everything you can to reduce chronic stress. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, can alter the immune system and suppress digestion when consistently activated. Help keep stress at bay by adopting a consistent yoga practice, practicing daily meditation and developing deep breathing techniques. The great news is these practices travel, which means staying zen on the road is doable.
EZC PACK: When it’s time to bust out the big guns (think: it’s been a long flu season and you’re boarding a red eye flight), we turn to this kit of heavy-duty Echinacea, Zinc and Vitamin C supplements. Starting this tapered pack five days before travel will enhance your body’s normal immune defenses and help you stay healthy amidst a plane of coughing strangers.
PLENTY OF SHUT-EYE: Lack of sleep can wreak havoc on our immunity and leave us susceptible to colds and other viruses, our founder Linden Schaffer knows all about this and upped her sleep game when starting Pravassa. She details this along with the science behind sleep in her book Living Well on the Road. While all our bodies are different, getting between seven to eight hours of sleep per night is key and a non-negotiable in the days before you travel. Your immune system will thank you! - Leah Abraham