Ideally, we would not need supplements and would get all of our necessary nutrients from the food that we eat. However, using supplements to improve your health can be a great way to do just that – supplement your diet!
The best way to look after yourself is to have a diet that consists mostly of fresh whole foods, exercise regularly, get a good night’s rest, and then use supplements to help fill in any nutritional gaps.
When you are traveling it is even more important to make sure to take care of yourself and ensure you are getting all the good nutrients that our bodies need for optimal function.
Traveling outside of your normal environment can be extremely stressful for your body. You are spending time in airports and up in the air, in close contact with strangers from all around the world carrying who knows what, and then you arrive in a new place where your body is exposed to a variety of things it has not previously encountered. Needless to say, your immune system is not going to be performing at its best. This is why it is such a great idea to give your body a helping hand and use supplements to counteract the impacts of travel.
This is especially true if you are doing something like one of my Yoga Teacher Training immersion programs where you will be working hard physically and mentally, so need to maintain high energy levels and feel good! The health choices we make off the mat influence our yoga practice, and taking supplements to improve your health can be a minor change that has a major impact.
These are my top recommendations for supplements that will give you a boost and take your health to the next level.
My Top 3!
These first three supplements are my absolute favorite things to take and I always have them with me when I travel.
Oregano oil has properties of an antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-allergenic substance – it’s pretty much fairy dust! Carvacrol is the component in oregano oil that has these powerful antimicrobial properties. Oregano oil also has a very high level of antioxidants. Oregano oil has wide-reaching health benefits, including preventing foodborne illnesses, so adding it to foods helps kill the bacteria and may also reduce food poisoning symptoms.
Goldenseal contains the chemical berberine, which means it can help fight bacterial infections and fungal disorders. It is commonly used for colds, digestive disorders, urinary tract infections and skin conditions, and is a great way to boost your immune system when traveling.
Probiotics bolsters our immune system by replacing and promoting the good bacteria and yeast in our gut, which improves digestion and overall health. This is important as when our gut is compromised it results in problems like indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain and bloating – none of which you want to be dealing with when you’re on vacation!
It is especially important to take probiotics if you are taking an antibiotic to replace the good bacteria. Look for a probiotic that does not need to be refrigerated so you can travel with it. Probiotics can also be specifically targeted, for example, a probiotic formulated for women would have a higher amount of Lactobacillus, the good bacteria found in a healthy vaginal tract.
If you’re only going to take a few supplements to improve your health make it these top three and notice the difference!
Echinacea encourages the immune system and can help reduce symptoms of illnesses like the common cold. Echinacea can also be used to help fight against other types of infections including urinary tract, ear and throat infections.
5. Vitamin C
Our bodies cannot produce Vitamin C so we need to get it from food or supplements. Vitamin C helps the repair and regeneration of tissues, assists the body in its absorption of iron, protects against heart disease and lowers cholesterol. Vitamin C can also aid in reducing the symptoms of a common cold, help to delay or prevent cataracts, and generally support healthy immune function which is definitely what you want when traveling.
6. Fish Oil / Omega 3
Omega 3’s are great for stimulating circulation, lowing inflammation and supporting hormonal health. Basically, it’s good for everything – our hearts, brains, eyes, joints and skin! It is recommended for joint conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, as well as skin disorders like eczema and acne.
7. Vitamin D
It is estimated that a staggering 80% of the population are deficient in vitamin D! Vitamin D is essential for maintaining healthy bones as it regulates calcium and maintains phosphorus levels in the bloodstream, as well as supports muscular function and reduces inflammation. One of the easiest ways to get Vitamin D is from the sun, however, this carries risks of sun damage and melanoma, so a Vitamin D supplement can be very helpful.
Melatonin is a hormone secreted by the body that regulates our sleep patterns. When we travel, especially if we change time zones, a melatonin supplement can be extremely helpful to assist the resetting of your internal clock and helping you to fall asleep and stay asleep, so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for your morning yoga practice! This is best taken about one hour before you go to sleep.
9. Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is an essential vitamin for energy metabolism and is found in fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and milk. Therefore it is particularly important for vegans and vegetarians to supplement B12. B12 also supports red blood cells and our nervous system, helping to keep our body and mind calm, focused and energized – who doesn’t want that?!
10. Vitamin B1
Also known as thiamine, vitamin B1 is thought to help ward off mosquitoes which is helpful if you’re traveling to a tropical destination like Blue Osa. When we consume a large dose of B1 it is eliminated by the skin producing an odor that is not detectable by humans but is said to be disagreeable to flying insects like mosquitoes. Vitamin B1 has other benefits including supporting healthy functioning of the heart, muscles and nerves.
Turmeric helps reduce inflammation, relieves soreness and swollen or achy joints. When you practice yoga regularly it is normal for your muscles to experience inflammation, so a turmeric supplement can help your muscles recover from the inflammation and reduce muscle fatigue. While most people are familiar with cooking with turmeric there are benefits to taking it in supplement form, especially if you’re looking for a strong dose for noticeable results.
12. Vitamin B5
Vitamin B5 is great for promoting energy and is important for our metabolism and energy production. This is the vitamin that will help you to power through your day and encourage a strong yoga practice.
Ginseng helps improve mood, concentration, and energy levels, and is also said to help stabilize blood sugar levels.
Magnesium offers many benefits including helping you to feel calmer and more at ease, as well as alleviating muscle soreness, anxiety, and difficulty sleeping – all things you definitely want when traveling!
So there you have it, my top 14 supplements to help you feel at your best on and off the mat!
This article is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.