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Sir Laurence and Lady Olivier Sir Laurence and Lady Olivier – Vivien Leigh – looking good after touching down. Photo courtesy State Library of Queensland

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Transatlantic Travel
How to touch down feeling good

The experts at London Health Spa Grace Belgravia let us in on the secrets to staying well whilst flying across the Atlantic
Published on May 9, 2018

We have all seen those at the airport who have perfected the art; somehow stepping through customs after eight hours or more on a plane neither dishevelled nor disgruntled; bright eyed and ready for what comes next.

Unfortunately for most, maintaining a positive outlook is not so easy after hours of recycled air, increased exposure to germs and bacteria, cramped seating, poor sleep and tray-table food that does little to fuel us. With 78 million people passing through Heathrow last year we turned to Grace Belgravia, a leading health and wellbeing club, for expert guidance on maintaining optimum health while in the air.

Aircraft cabins tend to be very dry with humidity levels under 20% (compare this to the home, which is usually above 30%). It goes without saying that drinking plenty of water will help keep the body in balance, reduce headaches and support skin which for many, will quickly show signs of dehydration; becoming dry and tight. Pack a rich moisturiser or facial oils (opt for something entirely natural and nourishing like JK7’s 100% organic Beauty Moisturising Mist or Zone Face Lift Facial Elixir) and give yourself an uplifting, facial massage to boost circulation. Skin is our largest organ and needs to be nourished and fed with quality ingredients to maintain health, plumpness and elasticity.

Internally, dehydration can cause mucus membranes to dry out, which makes us more prone to bacteria and infections. Coupled with the increased exposure to germs as we travel, it’s incredibly common to find ourselves with a cold, flu or other symptoms after travelling. Grace Belgravia naturopathic nutritionist, Jade Barkett, suggests boosting your defences through nutrient rich foods that are high in antioxidants before travelling. Or for a quick immune boost try an intravenous infusion; ‘We have a number of frequent flyers that use IVs as an effective way of maintaining a healthy immune system and boosting energy levels,’ she said. The body is only capable of absorbing 20% of oral supplements due to breakdown in the gut, while intravenous vitamin infusions ensure that you absorb 100% of the vitamins, minerals and amino acids as they are delivered straight into your blood stream.

Eating well while in the air is equally essential and if possible, avoid eating carbohydrate heavy airline food – which often contains additives and preservatives. Jade recommends packing light, balanced snacks that combine carbs with protein and fat. ‘Keep blood sugar levels stable and opt for energy releasing foods. Fruit is a good natural source of sugar but still raises insulin levels, so combine with a small handful of raw nuts. Blueberries, blackberries and strawberries are best as they have the lowest fructose content.’ Try packing protein rich hard-boiled eggs or an avocado, which will provide a filling, nutritious snack after an overnight flight. In the air, bodily gases expand significantly, slowing the digestion process so satiating your appetite with light, easily digestible ingredients is key to a happy gut.

Tempting as it is, Jade recommends avoiding caffeine if possible: ‘it will further dehydrate the body and disturb your circadian rhythm – making it harder to recover from jetlag.’ Instead she advises warm water with cleansing, stomach settling ginger and lemon (try Pukka teabags for convenience) or coconut water for an added potassium boost.

Many of us are familiar with symptoms of jetlag, which Grace Neuropsychiatrist, Dr Ivana Rosenzweig, describes as an asynchrony between the internal clock and the external light-dark cycle, induced by travel across time zones without sufficient time for the internal clock and circadian rhythms to adjust. ‘Jetlag can lead to the dis-regulation of sleep and many other bodily and cognitive functions; daytime somnolence, concentration problems, emotional fragility, irritability issues and general fatigue are among most commonly reported symptoms.’ Dr Rosenzweig suggests preparation is key. ‘There is some evidence to suggest that it’s beneficial when travelling eastward to go to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before departure, or similarly, to go to bed one hour later for several nights before flying westward.’ For frequent travellers who suffer more severely it may be worth considering more preventative treatments such as light therapy, hypnotics or a low dose of melatonin.

Fortunately for frequent female travellers, a leading London health and wellbeing club, Grace Belgravia offer an overseas membership, meaning those that are in the city regularly can benefit from exclusive access to the very best. For women seeking a home away from home, CEO Kate Percival has created a sorority of inspiring, intelligent women and Grace Belgravia is London’s only private members club providing women with a beautiful environment in which to focus on their health and wellbeing. Train in the gym, relax in the award winning wellness spa, host business meetings or do date night in the restaurant, with all you need to see you from dusk till dawn under one roof.

With over thirty health professionals providing support for all aspects of physical and mental wellbeing, holistic care, advanced diagnostic testing, GP services and everything in between, who better to advise on jet setting successfully?

To find out more about membership, or any medical services, visit www.gracebelgravia.com

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