Staying healthy on a sun holiday

Sun holidays should leave us feeling rejuvenated and re-energised, so why do some people return from holidays exhausted and weak?

Air travel, time zone changes, lack of sleep, eating out, foreign germs, sunburn, and other stressors from travel can weaken your immune system, making you susceptible to many unwanted side effects. That’s why it is important to look after your body inside and out when on holidays.

Protect your skin with antioxidant rich foods such as brightly coloured vegetables and fruit. They prevent free-radical damage and have a strong protective factor against sunburn and skin damage, while providing much needed vitamins and minerals. Healthy fats such as oily fish, nuts, seeds, and avocados are anti-inflammatory and promote skin healing.

Get adequate vitamin D to support your immune, skeletal, cardiovascular, digestive and nervous systems, cancer prevention, and more. A factor 8 sunscreen can reduce vitamin D production by up to 95 per cent; therefore it is important to get a cautious amount of sun exposure without sunscreen. For most, 15 to 30 minutes' exposure to bare skin for adequate production of vitamin D and protect against skin cancer risk.

Choose a natural sunscreen which does not contain any harmful or toxic chemicals and will moisturise the skin.

Eat probiotic foods such as sauerkraut, kombuca, kefir, and kimchi to maintain healthy immune and digestive systems. These prevent tummy upset, diarrhoea, and constipation. If you cannot source these foods abroad, it is recommended to take probiotic supplements at least two weeks before and two weeks after you travel.

Stay hydrated. The flight, sun, and alcohol intake all contribute to dehydration which causes symptoms of constipation, dizziness, headaches, fatigue, bloating, and water retention. Drink a sufficient amount of water to replenish any fluids lost.

Ginger, chamomile, or peppermint teas are excellent treatments or preventatives for nausea or travel sickness.

Bring packed lunches or snacks on outings to prevent hunger pangs and unhealthy food selections.

Order a large side salad and side vegetables as your meal when eating out. This will fill you up and save you from overindulgence at every sitting.

Check out local activities for exercise such as park yoga, beach volleyball, and walking/cycling tours.

Relax and unwind. Treat yourself to a spa day or massage. Take time to meditate and do deep breathing techniques to de-stress and support your body and mind.

This information has been brought to you by College of Naturopathic Medicine graduate Jacqueline Ryan.

If you would like to find out how you can train at CNM Galway for an exciting new career in naturopathic nutrition the next free open evening at the Galway Business School, Salthill, will take place on Thursday July 21 at 7pm. To find out more and to reserve your free place visit


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