7 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling Through India

Ayurvedic practitioner and holistic health coach Sahara Rose shares her best advice for avoiding an upset stomach and keeping your immune system strong when traveling.

Photo excerpted from Eat Feel Fresh: A Contemporary Plant-Based Ayurvedic Cookbook by Sahara Rose Ketabi. © 2018, First American Edition, DK Publishing. Sahara Rose Ketabi is the best-selling author of Idiot’s Guide to Ayurveda. Learn more at iamsahararose.com.

1. Carry essential oils.

My favorite for India is doTERRA DigestZen, which contains an Ayurvedic blend of anise seed, peppermint plant, ginger root, caraway seed, coriander seed, tarragon plant, and fennel seed oil. I drink this with hot water every day—even when I’m not traveling to India—to keep my digestion on point.

2. Take oil of oregano capsules.

Start with one dose a day (follow instructions on the supplement package) three days before you go to India and continue it taking every day while you’re there. “Oil of oregano is like a natural antibiotic, which can help prime your body for any exposure to bacteria or parasites,” Rose says.

See also 18+ Ways to Use Your Essential Oils

3. Take peppermint oil capsules before meals.

This will help aid digestion and also kill bacteria.

4. Take high-quality, diverse-strained, shelf-stable probiotics.

India can be hot, even when you’re traveling in winter, which is why you’ll want to make sure none of your supplements require refrigeration. “Probiotics are great because they introduce more bugs to your microbiome and have been linked with higher immunity,” Rose says. “In the US, we’re not exposed to a wide range of bacteria in our food source. In India, you will be—and that can be a major shock to your digestive system.”

See also Probiotics 101: Your Go-To for Gut Health

5. Pack protein bars.

Choose a low-glycemic, high-fat bar with medium protein to keep you satiated and nourished. You will be ecstatic when you have nothing else to eat and remember you have these bars in your bag.

6. Bring your own chocolate.

If you have a sweet tooth, carry your own low-glycemic, high-quality chocolate. “Indian sweets have a lot of sugar and dairy, which can cause an upset stomach,” Rose says.

7. Always choose cooked foods and peel-able fruits.

The reason everyone tells you not to eat raw foods in India is because of the different bacteria and parasites in the soil, Rose says. Her go-to meal: palak paneer (spinach curry with cottage cheese) with vegetables, which is a common Indian dish available at almost any restaurant. “I ask to replace the cheese with mixed vegetables, which is usually broccoli, mushrooms, and peas,” she says. “I have that with whole-wheat flatbread, called chapati, or rice and add a side of cucumber raita, which is like Indian tzatziki.”

Banana with almond butter (which Rose brings with her from the United States) is one of her favorite breakfasts when traveling in India. “Mangoes are also a must-try—during mango season there are hundreds of varieties,” she says. “Just steer clear of grapes, berries, and apples—unless you peel them.” 

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