March 15, 2010

Food and vitamin supplements for life and travel in Ghana

Supplements can really help your energy levels and boost your immune system when traveling in developing countries. Here are a few of recommendations based on my experience. Let us know if you have some favourite strategy for keeping healthy on the road and which products or supplements you prefer.

Acidophilus powder.
This is “good bacteria” for your digestive system. It is excellent to prevent upset stomachs whether traveling or during normal life. You can buy it by the bottle as loose powder to be taken by the spoonful or in capsule form. Some require refrigeration is it’s a live culture but others have been formulated so as not to need refrigeration. It can also be found in some yoghurts, but my naturopath in Sydney explained that the powder form is way more effective than yoghurt from the supermarket (and she wasn’t selling the powder). In my experience, those designed to be chilled are more effective. I carried mine wrapped inside a freezer bag (like you use to chill beer) when I first came to Ghana and this kept the bottle chilled for a good 40 hours between home and my final destination.

Protein powder.
This helps ensure you get enough protein each day to support travel-weary muscles. Unlike acidophilus powder, this doesn’t need refrigeration, but it’s still important to get a good brand. Protein powder has little taste and you can add the recommended spoonfuls to plain water or juice or to oatmeal or a shake. Protein bars are also popular alternatives.

Liquid iron.
Iron gives you energy. When you don’t get enough of it in the diet you can really begin to feel tired. If you get malaria, your iron levels will drop even more.
Fortunately, you can buy liquid iron in pharmacies in Ghana for between 2-9 Cedis. It’s called “blood tonic” and the more expensive, I noticed, the more effective. One good brand is called “Feroglobin”.

Chewable Vitamin C
If you take these in combination with liquid iron, the iron is more easily absorbed into your bloodstream. Incidentally, calcium inhibits the absorption of iron into the blood so don’t drink dairy before taking iron supplements (which is why I thought it was weird to see milk with iron supplements added to it—as a selling point!) You can also buy these in pharmacies for about 20 pesewas a strip or bring your own.

Top quality multi-vitamins
If you can get hold of a good all-round multi-vitamin you will also strengthen your immune system for the down times and maybe even avoid serious illness. I advise women to get tablets especially formulated for women to help during the monthly cycle.

I’ve been out of the developed world loop for several years now and would love to hear of any new health products for improving well being while traveling. Thanks in advance.

Download a free sample of our Travel Guide to Ghana see inside the guide before buying.


  1. Hi Gayle - Omega 3 is also great and there is a brand readily available in Ghana called Seven Seas...

  2. Hi Holli,
    You are so spot on. Thanks! Do you mean in the tin?!


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