Research: A holiday helps with health

As Britain continues its battle to become a healthier nation, new research today will give regular holidaymakers a boost. The data, backed by Dr Gillian McKeith, concludes that a holiday abroad is good for your health. Whilst it has long been known that a holiday rests the mind and spirit, new research shows that a holiday offers even greater health benefits.

On holiday Britons sample new cuisines, eat healthier foods and become more active. Research among Thomas Cook holidaymakers this summer reveals that the British are actually returning from holidays healthier than when they went. In response to the findings, Dr Gillian McKeith has issued a series of top tips for holiday health.

The research confirms that most British holidaymakers have moved on from the days of lager and chips in the sun, with 87 per cent of respondents saying they enjoy trying and eating local foods or delicacies of the country they are visiting.

More importantly, they are also returning home with more than just a suntan. Over 50 per cent introduce the new foods and cooking methods they discovered whilst on holiday to their regular routine back home.

And, holidaymakers are not just changing what they eat and drink whilst away - whether it’s a morning dip in the pool, an afternoon stroll or a game of tennis, 65 per cent of holidaymakers say they are more active whilst on holiday than when at home.


As part of current drives to improve the nation’s health, most Britons are aware that they should eat more fresh produce and drink plenty of water.

The research showed that a holiday could be a great step in the right direction. 36 per cent of holidaymakers increase their daily intake of fruit and vegetables whilst abroad and 60 per cent keep themselves more hydrated and refreshed by drinking more water.

When the holiday is over, nearly 40 per cent say they feel more motivated to continue a fitness regime and have a more active and healthier lifestyle in general.

The research is supported by Channel 4 You Are What You Eat’ host, Dr Gillian McKeith, who said: “If you’ve come back from holiday feeling relaxed, rested and a few pounds lighter, try to think about the reasons why. As well as gettinglots of sleep and sunshine you were probably much more active on holiday than you normally are. And you may have eaten more fresh, unprocessed foods without even realising it. Don’t go back to your old habits; keep the holiday feeling alive.”

Dr Gillian’s tips to keep committed post-holiday are listed below.

Bronwen Griffiths, Thomas Cook spokesperson, said: “The British have moved on from the stereotype of overindulging on holiday. Instead of coming home a stone heavier from drinking too much and eating fatty foods, we are returning glowing with health and positivity. For anyone wanting to change their eating and exercise habits at any time of the year, it would seem that a holiday is a great place to start.”

Whether just returned or thinking of planning a winter getaway, Thomas Cook has created Can You Cook It’, a mouth watering recipe book filled with traditional dishes from around the world that will help Brits either recreate the holiday feeling at home or get a taste for future holiday destinations. Free copies are available by calling 01733 417272.

To book a holiday perfect for the mind, body and soul visit any Thomas Cook store, or call 08701 111 111.

Dr Gillian McKeith’s top tips to keeping the holiday feeling alive:

1: Eat more fresh, raw unprocessed foods. Raw food is ready made.You don’t have to cook it.

2: Keep your activity levels high; if you ran about a lot on holiday, find ways to run about a lot at home. Turn the radio and dance like crazy for starters.

3: Even though the sun isn’t shining and you aren’t sweating, keep drinking loads of water: up to 2 litres daily.

4: Keep a colourful fruit bowl on your desk or table to encourage you to snack healthily.

5: You wouldn’t miss breakfast on holiday so don’t miss it at home; breakfast is your most important meal and a great way to rev up your metabolism.