5 serious health risks that rise with summer travel

Whoever said, “Traveling is good medicine,” never spent time on a cramped plane or in a crowded airport.

While it may be true that traveling is beneficial in the sense that it challenges the brain with new experiences and different environments, it can also take its toll.

Particular risks come into play if you have a preexisting health condition such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or have recently undergone surgery. These and other factors can make long-distance travel potentially dangerous for a number of reasons.

The good news is that there are specific measures you can take to ensure your journey is as perfect as your destination, and promote long-term health in the process.

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Circulation is key

Good circulation is essential for delivering oxygen and nutrients throughout your body. When you sit in one position for a long period of time – especially a cramped position as is usually the case on a plane – your circulation, particularly in your legs, becomes impaired. Combined with air pressure from flying, sluggish circulation in your legs can result in swollen feet and blocked blood flow.

Here are a few ways to support healthy circulation while travelling:

  • Move around: If you’re on a plane, opt for an aisle seat so you can get up, stretch and move around from time to time.
  • Hydrate: Dehydration can thicken the blood and slow circulation, so drink plenty of water before, during and after your trip.
  • Eat some curry: Turmeric, a common spice in curry, has in it a phytochemical called curcumin which is known for a variety of health benefits, including circulation support.* Both turmeric and curcumin can also be found in supplement form.
  • Drink ginger tea: The wonderfully warming ginger root is known to support circulation. It also promotes healthy digestion and occasional nausea, which is a plus for those of you who experience travel sickness!* Bring some fresh slices with you so you can add them to tea or plain hot water.

In my practice, I use a comprehensive Tibetan herbal formula backed by decades of clinical research showing its support for healthy cardiovascular, immune and circulatory systems. This formula can help reduce the inflammation and other factors that threaten you during extended sedentary periods.

Support circadian rhythms and prevent jet lag

Your body doesn’t understand it: Even though it may only be 8pm where you came from, it isn’t 8pm where you are now. Help your body adjust to the time differences when you arrive at your destination and when you return home.

Harmonize your sleep: Small amounts of melatonin can help you get to sleep at the right local time, to help re-set your internal clock. In addition, pure honokiol is a gentle way to help you relax and get some rest. This unique compound, derived from Magnolia officinalis bark, also has numerous additional benefits related to neurological health, anti-cancer activity and much more. It’s shown to offer significant support for a healthy mood and works by reducing anxiety, which can be helpful when you’re navigating new ground.

Bolster immunity

A strong, healthy immune system is important all year long, but especially when you travel.  Be sure to stay hydrated with lots of filtered water to flush your body and keep your immune system running smoothly. Get enough rest before and during your trip. In addition, the nutraceuticals listed below have been shown to offer targeted support for your immune system, to help keep you healthy and energized throughout your trip.

Medicinal mushrooms are ideal immune modulators. They help to train immune cells to function more efficiently and effectively against microbes and other pathogens. They can also support vital energy for extra endurance. I recommend a unique medicinal mushroom formula that contains 6 botanically-enhanced mushrooms, grown on a medium containing immune supporting herbs that support overall wellness and immune health.

Shield yourself from radiation

No matter how you may try to avoid it, we are all exposed to radiation – both natural and man-made. Natural radiation comes from components of the Earth’s crust, x-rays, outer space and more.  So why should you be concerned about radiation while traveling?

There is a large amount of radiation in outer space (known as cosmic radiation) that reaches the Earth. Normally, the Earth’s atmosphere protects us significantly from the effects of cosmic radiation. However, as you increase in altitude, the Earth’s atmosphere becomes thinner, decreasing its protective abilities. As a result, air travel exposes us to much higher levels of radiation. This may be of particular concern to airline workers and frequent flyers.

Protect yourself from radiation with targeted detoxification and free-radical scavenging formulas. Look for blends that contain antioxidant-rich botanicals such as boswellia, green tea and blueberry extracts, cats claw and others, that help protect DNA and cellular health against damaging radiation and oxidation.

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Support digestive strength

Foreign locations often expose us to new bacteria, parasites and fungi that the immune system isn’t used to. Strengthen your digestion and create a protective internal environment to help avoid any unexpected digestive discomfort.

Ingredients such as clove, black walnut, garlic, pumpkin seeds, goldenseal, MSM and others can kill parasites directly and create an inhospitable environment for them, while helping to maintain your overall health.

Probiotic supplements include live beneficial organisms, such as bacteria and beneficial yeast, which are known to protect intestinal health, assist digestion and support the immune system, among other benefits. Probiotics can be found in yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut and other foods, as well as in supplement form.

I also recommend an integrative digestive formula that contains botanicals, enzymes and nutrients to protect the GI tract against microbes, alleviate digestive discomfort, and help rebuild long-term digestive health.

With more and more people traveling for work, leisure, family and other reasons, we can expect to see exciting new breakthroughs in this field. Stay tuned for news on innovative measures that can help improve health and safety when you travel, better protect passengers, and promote long-term health no matter where you are.


Dr. Isaac Eliaz

By Dr. Isaac Eliaz

Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a renowned integrative medical doctor, licensed acupuncturist, researcher, product formulator and frequent guest lecturer. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the early 1980s, and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers on several of his key integrative health formulas. He is the founder and medical director of Amitabha Clinic in California, an integrative health center specializing in cancer and chronic conditions. Dr. Eliaz is an expert in using highly strategic, synergistic protocols to address numerous areas of health including metastatic cancer, immunity, digestion, detoxification, diabetes, cardiovascular health and more. His approach integrates modern science with traditional healing wisdom for optimal health and wellness. To download any of Dr. Eliaz's comprehensive wellness guides, click here.