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Patrick Holford’s travel-proof holiday health plan

December is a month focused on food, food and more food – with a lot of over-indulgence thrown in for good measure. Very often all the hard work we put into looking after ourselves throughout the year is compromised by the silly season and the holidays. The good news is that you can still eat like a king and look after your health (and your waistline) with very little compromise – simply by being armed with a lot of knowledge. With some effort and good old fashioned planning, Patrick says that your holiday needn’t turn into a dietary disaster.

Here are his top tips for a happy, healthy holiday;


 You are exposed to many stressors when you fly – poor air quality, dehydration, exposure to germs and a variety of chemicals, extended sitting and inactivity – leaving your body to work extra hard to maintain an equilibrium.  Help your body out by taking extra care of what you put into it. Avoid excessively salty foods and alcohol, which contribute to dehydration and can lead to sinus problems, constipation, swollen legs and low energy. Drink as much water as possible – many people don’t want to drink water while they fly because it means going to the toilet more often. Patrick argues that this is exactly what you want – getting up and stretching your legs every now and then will help keep circulation going. Processed meat and animal protein put extra stress on the body, so choose the vegetarian options when you book your flight. Patrick also recommends taking vitamins and additional antioxidants, including vitamin C and E, selenium and zinc to help protect you from extra germ exposure and the other stressors of flying.


Stock your holiday accommodation with bottled water, fresh fruit and healthy snacks such as homemade chia energy bars or Nairn’s Oat Cakes. Doing so helps remove the temptation to raid a hotel room’s mini bar and can ward off hunger during tourist activities. Make breakfast the most important meal of your day, where you meet up to discuss the day’s plans. This is usually easier said than done in the whirlwind of a vacation, but a good healthy breakfast helps to prepare you for a full day of activities. If your hotel offers a complimentary breakfast, stay away from the fresh pastries, scones and muffins. Choose instead a bowl of raw oats with fresh fruit (add you own seeds and nuts if they do not offer), or boiled or poached eggs on rye or wholemeal bread. The mixture of carbohydrate and protein will keep you going for longer.

Try your best to avoid fast-food outlets. Though they may be a comforting choice when you’re in a new city, these kind of meal options are often high in fat and calories, and more importantly, they may cheat you out of experiencing the local culture. Wherever you decide to eat, focus on meals that incorporate healthy components, like fresh vegetables and lean proteins.


If you travel to any area where food and water contamination is a concern, supplements are a must! Microbes do not populate and grow well in acidic environments or when stronger competitive micro-organisms are present, so taking probiotics and betaine hydrochloride can offer protection from food poisoning and other bacterial risks.  (Can I say something about Patrick’s supplements on the website?) Yes you can mention them but not describe what effects they have

Some other tips:

  • Boil all water for 1 minute if you are unsure of the sanity of it
  • Try to drink only bottled water, canned or carbohydrate bottled drinks or beverages made with boiled water
  • Make sure your ice is also made from the boiled water
  • Only eat fruits that can be peeled