How do you behave when eating and drinking when traveling to hot countries?
Vacation time is travel time and many spend their vacation in subtropical or tropical regions. Quite a few suffer from a gastrointestinal infection with abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting as typical symptoms in the first few days of the holiday. The cause is mostly contaminated food. The German Nutrition Society (DGE) has summarized in a current press release how corresponding infections can be avoided on vacation trips.
In many popular southern holiday countries, fresh vegetables and fruits are offered at street stalls. Basically a positive offer, because at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit should also be consumed daily when traveling, according to the DGE. The nutrients it contains, such as fiber and secondary plant substances, reduce the risk of cancer and cardiovascular diseases. However, vegetables and fruits can also pose a health risk.
Germs can reproduce well in the heat
The DGE reports that microorganisms multiply especially in heat and high air humidity, especially on the skin of fruit and vegetables. After unpeeled and raw consumption, health problems can often be identified. "Peel it, cook it or leave it" was therefore a common advice when traveling to tropical or subtropical areas. In principle, compliance with hygienic standards for food preparation in warm countries is particularly important. In addition, the motto "peel yourself" applies because pre-cut fruit and vegetables can also be contaminated.
Do not eat anything that has been in the heat for a long time
However, according to the experts, extreme caution applies not only to fresh fruit and vegetables. Ice cubes in drinks should also be avoided, for example, according to the DGE. Furthermore, thorough hand washing before eating is advisable, as this reduces the risk of infections. According to the DGE, foods that need to be refrigerated should be avoided if there is uncertainty as to whether the cold chain has been maintained. "Do not eat anything that has been in the warm for a long time," the society continues. Food should also always be thoroughly cooked through.
No tap water and no ice cubes
Adequate hydration is especially important in hot vacation countries. Drink at least 1.5 liters a day and in extreme heat an additional 0.5 to 1 liter per hour, according to the experts. Water, unsweetened tea or other calorie-free drinks are best suited. However, tap water should be avoided as this could be contaminated. If in doubt about the hygienic quality of the tap water, it can also be boiled, for example to use it for brushing your teeth - or you can also use the mineral water from the originally sealed bottle. According to the DGE, ice cubes in beverages should be avoided as a matter of principle, since contamination may also be present here.
For more information on eating and drinking when traveling to tropical and subtropical countries, the German Nutrition Society refers to the portal of the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR). (fp)