Esthetique's philosophy

Holiday Heaven... top tips to help you enjoy both the journey and the destination

Holiday time is exciting; it1s time out from the ordinary, a chance to do something different, be somewhere else, relax and be stimulated by different experiences. But while you are unwinding, your immune system will actually be working overtime to keep you well in the face of foreign bugs, the sun's rays and even cramped travelling conditions. The secret to staying fit and healthy when travelling is to support your body's natural defences before, during and after your trip. Here are my essential recommendations to ensure optimum health on holiday:

Are we there yet...?

Flying dehydrates, as the air is not always properly humifidified throughout the cabin. Travellers may suffer from the drying of the mucus of the mouth and nose, which acts as a protective barrier to bacteria and viruses.

Dehydration can be prevented by drinking fluids and by avoiding alcohol and caffeine. Try drinking water as regularly as possible throughout the flight, don't rely on being given enough water on the flight, and carry on a large bottle of water for yourself.

Dry skin is a further side effect of this dehydration, make sure you have a good moisturiser with you or perhaps a hydrating sprtiz and reapply regularly to reinvigorate your skin, so that you arrive looking refreshed, rather than drained.

If you're one of those people who always gets a cold every time you fly, take extra vitamin C before during and after the flight. As much as 3000mg a day will boost your immune system to fight the re-circulated bugs that often inhabit aircraft!

Pack some bags of green tea in your suitcase. Research shows that a couple of cups of green tea can reduce inflammation - and this includes that initial sun reaction that happens on the first sightseeing walk around the resort! Have a cup every morning as green tea is naturally rich in antioxidants, which help protect the body from free radicals - naturally occurring particles in the body associated with accelerated ageing and an increased risk of major diseases. Exposure to excess sunlight increases the number of free radicals in the blood, but the potent antioxidants found in green tea can act as an additional sunburn insurance.

DVT - deep vein thrombosis or, more simply, a blood clot, is a very real concern when faced with cramped flying conditions, especially for people with poor circulation, pregnant women, or those who suffer from the genetic condition thrombophilia, which increases risk of blood clots.

Standard advice focuses on taking an aspirin a couple of hours before flying, getting up to exercise mid-flight, and wearing flight socks that help to boost circulation to the legs.

There are also particular nutrients that go one step further to increase your protection against this potentially fatal condition. Pine bark extract, for example, helps to maintain blood flow, while grapeseed extract is rich in flavonoids which have been shown to help boost circulation. Certain supplements now combine these nutrients with other antioxidants to help you stay healthy in the air.

What's good about... activity holidays

Get moving, holidays are great opportunities to get some physical exercise. Walk on the beach, swim, cycle, hike over the scenery and maybe do some dancing.

Exercising makes you feel good as endorphins are released in the brain giving you a natural high. Being active on holiday when you are having fun gives the whole thing a positive spin and could kick start a healthy habit when you get home. You may find a great dance class when you come home after salsa-ing away on the beach, or perhaps might invest in your own bicycle after hiring one while away to get around your resort area. Whatever you do, just bring a bit of the holiday activity home with you - exercise is very anti-ageing and just 30 minutes a day can make a big difference.

Make the most of every minute and make sure your energy doesn't let you down. Take your ProVitality vitamins with you - they are so conveniently packaged they are ideal for travel. And don't forget to balance lots of activity with rest. You want to return home feel energised not exhausted.

What's bad about... holiday food

Take advantage of the rich variety of foods when abroad. Remember each fruit and vegetable has a unique combination of vitamins and minerals. So eat plenty of variety. A room with a refrigerator can be great to keep fruit and vegetable snacks.

However, your digestive system and immune system are put under greater strain when you are away from your normal environment. Exposure to different foods not normally on the menu at home puts extra demands on your gut and requires a good supply of digestive enzymes. Contact with foreign bacteria makes your chances of picking up a stomach bug far more likely than at home. However, you can prime your body to reduce your risk by making sure that your levels of probiotic bacteria are sufficient - and the best time to start is before you even leave your front door. You can also take digestive enzymes to boost your digestive process and avoid gut disturbances.

Eating fermented foods such as live cow, goat or soya yoghurt, Japanese miso paste and pickled vegetables will all help, as these are natural sources of the probiotic bacteria that line your intestines to ward off bugs and aid proper digestion. You can also eat plenty of prebiotic foods - foods that feed the probiotic, friendly bacteria. Prebiotic foods include leeks, garlic, onions, Jerusalem artichokes, chicory roots, bananas and rye.

I don't advise people to buy the premium-priced, sugar packed 'health drinks' which claim to contain beneficial bacteria - their high sugar content (some brands contain more per weight than cola!) can counteract probiotic benefits. I do, however, recommend that you top up your levels with a good quality probiotic supplement.

Drink plenty of water too - dehydration can make you feel bad, have equal water for every alcoholic drink. Carry bottle with you everywhere.

For more information: Improve Your Digestion by Patrick Holford £6.99 available from your salon.

ANP presents: ProBiotics & DigestPro

Probiotics powder contains beneficial bacteria - Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidus - to aid digestion and help support the immune function of the gut. It is useful after infections and a course of antibiotics, which deplete the body's store of 'friendly' bacteria. And as it's a powder it can be sprinkled on food and is ideal for children and adults who don't like swallowing capsules.

Digest-Pro is a blend of vegetarian digestive enzymes and herbal extracts to help maintain healthy digestive function. It includes the enzymes protease, that breaks down protein, amylase, that breaks down carbohydrate, and lipase that breaks down fats, plus lactase, the enzyme that digests lactose the primary sugar in milk. Digest-Pro is also useful on holiday when you are trying new foods and eating local and your digestive system may be glad of some help dealing with your culinary experimentation.

Digestive enzymes can also be helpful in times of stress and for those recovering from illness or those with poor appetite and digestive problems. It is also a useful supplement for older people whose levels of digestive enzymes decrease with age.

Edited by: Lucy Ibbison

Esthetique's philosophy