Make room for these five supplements in your luggage

This article was originally published March 11, 2013.

March Break, time to take part in the Canadian tradition of escaping the last of winter for a week or two. It’s a time to relax and enjoy a break from your daily routine.

Keeping up with your nutritional routine is important but can be challenging while away. Available foods are often different from your usual selections and in some places it’s necessary to avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that have been washed in local water supplies.

What can you do if faced with limited choices or foods that are more indulgent and less nutritious than you would normally make for yourself at home? Here are five supplements that I consider essential to help travelers stay on track:

1) Good quality multivitamin – Maintaining fundamental nutritional requirements when away from home can be as simple as a daily multivitamin, especially for nutrients that are not stored in large amounts in the body like water-soluble vitamins such as B and C, and minerals that are needed daily for multiple biological functions.

2) Green powder – Chances are your vegetable intake will be reduced while on vacation. Green powders mixed with bottled water can fill that gap, alkalinize your body and take away some of the pain of vacation partying.

3) Fish oil capsules – You never want to be away from Omega 3 for too long. Anti-inflammatory and helpful for the nervous and cardiovascular systems, they help balance the pro-inflammatory foods and beverages that are part of a vacation. Apart from the guacamole made from local avocados, they may also be one of the few sources of healthy fats that you take in.

4) Probiotic – Vacation temptations are often sources of refined flours and sugars, which can contribute to digestive issues. Probiotics can help to prevent or at least reduce discomfort, bloating and problems with elimination that may occur with consumption of those foods, plus they are an important part of the body’s immune system and may help fight travel “bugs.” Look for a shelf-stable product as those don’t need to be refrigerated.

5) Fibre supplement – Travel constipation is not uncommon, as fruit and vegetable intake is often lower than at home and whole grains can be tough to find. I try to make a habit of buying apples for the hotel room, but if local produce can’t be trusted, adding fibre in powder form to your greens or taking a fibre capsule can keep things moving in the right direction, so you’re ready for the next holiday adventure.

One last suggestion: Just like medications, keep supplements in your carry-on bags and in their bottles to save potential confusion at Customs.

Happy travels.