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How To Stay Healthy During Your Travels

How To Stay Healthy During Your Travels
    "Travelling" from Mr iMaax on flickr

    When I was working in my corporate career, I was traveling 25% to 50% of my time on overnight trips, sometimes for an entire work week. I still travel for some out of town speaking engagements and conferences but not nearly as much as I use to. However, it is still a challenge to stay healthy during any business or vacation travel.

    Many people end up gaining weight after their trips because of not eating healthy, sitting on airplanes or in meeting rooms for hours at a time as well as being stressed. Sometimes the rush of making flight connections results in stuffing yourself with airport fast food just to fill your stomach and when you finally get back to your hotel room, you are just too tired to do anything else.

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    So here are some tips that I have come up with during my travels to help you stay healthy while away from home.

    Get Proper Nutrition While On The Road

    It is much easier to follow a healthy balanced diet with home cooking, but when it comes to being on the road, proper nutrition is often very challenging if you have to eat out for all of your meals during travel. Here are some eating guidelines I adhere to.

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    • Avoid hotel breakfast items loaded with fat and salt such as sausages, bacon, and fried potatoes
    • Pass on the fast food breakfasts too
    • Start your day with fresh fruit, yogurt and cereals
    • Stick with lighter fare lunches especially if attending conferences and meetings
    • Find good salads and lower fat, whole-wheat sandwiches for lunch
    • Don’t overeat, especially at buffets or you will feel it back in your hotel room
    • Minimize the amount of fried, fatty foods
    • Drink lots of water (bottled where tap water is not safe)
    • Limit your alcohol intake as hangovers during travel are no fun
    • Don’t overdo the coffee shop trips during the day
    • Avoid junk food snacks – pick up some fresh fruit at local grocers instead
    • Pack enough multivitamins to last your entire trip

    Exercising While On The Road

    When I observe people at big meetings and conferences, it is incredible just how few travelers exercise or stay active on the road. With overeating and inactivity, it is no wonder why many travelers end up gaining weight. So here are some tips to stay physically active on the road.

    • Use the hotel/cruise ship gym – even 20 minutes will help prevent weight gain
    • Do laps in the hotel pool if there is one (always pack your swimwear)
    • Use the hotel gym weights even if you have to modify some exercises
    • If the neighborhood around the hotel is safe (ask the concierge), take a brisk walk outside
    • If no hotel gym, do basic calisthenics plus low impact cardio inside your hotel room
    • Although tempting to party into the wee hours, get adequate sleep

    Sometimes much of the challenge during travel comes from the fact that you have to do what most other travelers will not be doing. If you choose to eat healthy and exercise on the road, you will be among a minority of travelers. However, since it is your own health that matters, do not worry about what others are doing (or not doing) during trips.

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    It is possible to stay healthy during your travels. Although you may have to take some extra efforts to get the proper nutrition and exercise during your time away from home, you will be rewarded at the end of your trip. You will be able to pat yourself on the back since you maintained your fitness level and did not gain extra weight.

    If you have additional tips on how to stay healthy or are willing to share some of your challenges while away from home, please leave your comments below.

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    Happy travels to you!

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    Last Updated on August 12, 2019

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    12 Best Foods That Improve Memory and Brain Health

    Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

    But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

    I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

    Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory and brain power:

    1. Nuts

    The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

    Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

    Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

    Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

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    2. Blueberries

    Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

    When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

    3. Tomatoes

    Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

    4. Broccoli

    While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

    Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

    Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

    5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

    Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

    The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

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    Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

    6. Soy

    Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

    Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

    Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

    7. Dark Chocolate

    When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

    Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate: 15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

    8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

    Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

    B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

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    Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

    Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

    To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

    9. Foods Rich in Zinc

    Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

    Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

    Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

    10. Gingko Biloba

    This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

    It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

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    However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

    11. Green and Black Tea

    Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

    Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

    Find out more about green tea here: 11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

    12. Sage and Rosemary

    Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

    Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

    When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

    More About Boosting Brain Power

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

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