Holidays are the perfect time to sleep in, indulge and loosen the reigns on your usual diet and exercise routines for a few days, but what impact does this have on your body – more specifically, your gut health?

Spending a few days in a new place locally, abroad or simply at a place other than your home can alter your gut flora, proving that it doesn’t take much to affect gut health. Keep these tips in mind when you next plan a trip away from home:

1. Eat healthier versions of your favourite treats

While the odd fast-food feast or sneaky chocolate bar is okay, an unhealthy binge is not. Eating too much greasy and sugary foods can affect and even impair the good bacteria that live in your digestive system.

Instead, opt for a fresh fruit salad instead of pudding, a whole-wheat burger bun and sweet potato fries, and a few blocks of dark chocolate instead of the sugar-filled milky varieties.

2. It’s the little things that count

You don’t have to diet or starve yourself to maintain good gut health on holiday – sometimes it’s as easy as remembering to drink enough water and chew your food a little longer. Optimal hydration can help to balance your energy levels up so you can enjoy more holiday activities with your loved ones, and aids digestion.

3. Pick your poison

Holidays often involve a little tipple, but be aware that certain alcoholic drinks are better for your digestion and optimal gut health than others. For example, red wine contains micronutrients that act as fuel for good bacteria in the gut, while adding bitters to your drink can aid digestion.

4. Find fun ways to work up a sweat

Your gut contains thousands of different types of bacteria that all work to keep your body healthy and working as it should. However, when you get lazy, so do they! If you’re holidaying in a place you’ve never been to before, take the opportunity to explore by foot – window shop while you walk the streets or look for a low-intensity hiking trail to get your steps in. If you’re staying in a resort, go for a refreshing swim or play a lively game of pool volleyball with your loved ones to work up a sweat and have fun while doing it.

5. Populate with probiotics

Probiotics are live bacteria that help keep your gut healthy. While they are most commonly used as acute treatments to offset the deleterious effects of antibiotics on good bacteria, they can also be a proactive means to keep your gut health in check.

While foods such as yoghurt, Kefir, kimchi and the trendy Kombucha drinks are rich in probiotic cultures, introducing a daily probiotic supplement like Reuterina is an even better idea to help more effectively restore and maintain good gut bacteria.