Taking flight should be about kicking back, watching a film and perhaps even getting some shut eye. But if you eat the wrong food before and during your airplane voyage you’re more likely to spend your time uncomfortable, bloated and gassy.
We’ve spoken to some nutritional experts to shed some light on the foods that could be causing your inflight discomfort.
Excess air in your body isn’t what you want at altitude, so while chewing gum can help release the pressure build up in your ears, it’s not good for the gas situation.
“When you chew gum, you swallow more air, which can expand to cause more discomfort at high altitudes,” says Rachael Hartley, private practice dietician and the own of ‘The Joy of Eating’ blog.
Not only that but if you opt for sugar-free gum you’ll likely have flatulence issues to deal with too.
“Many sugar free gums also contain sugar alcohols,” adds Rachael. “These can be especially troublesome for people with IBS.”
They might be a healthy food choice but sadly apples won’t keep your gas at bay.
That’s because these crunchy, sweet and nutritious fruits are also filled with sugar, in particular fructose and sorbitol which both cause gas and bloating. Apples are packed with hard-to-digest fiber too.
Having a quick cocktail, beer or glass of wine to either calm your nerves or celebrate the start of your holiday can be tempting, but if you plan to get some sleep on board you should steer clear of booze.
“Alcohol can worsen dehydration that’s caused when travelling in the air and it can disrupt your sleep cycle,” says Kara Lydon, author of ‘Nourish Your Namaste’ and ‘The Foodie Dietitian Blog’.
Even if you do manage to drift off after a drink or two it’s unlikely you’ll get quality shut eye, or much of it for that matter.
Back away from the burgers! Fast food is appealing if you’re late for a flight or fancy a quick, but naughty food fix, however fats and oils in fries can cause heartburn. And your body will struggle to digest the grease this type of food is often swimming in.
“Greasy or very high fat foods often causes gastrointestinal discomfort,” says nutritionist Angela Lemond. “So things like fried meats or fried cheese are simply no good.”
The hefty amount of salt in fast food can also lead to fluid retention and make your feet swell up.
If you don’t fancy offending other passengers by emitting unpleasant odours, then broccoli and some of its other cruciferous friends aren’t good food choices pre-flight.
“Anything that causes gas/bloating or the urge to have a bowel movement should be avoided before and during air travel,” says Angela. “Popular offenders would be cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower.”
And, whatever you do: Don’t forget to pack your Lumity supplements and Facial Oil before you head off.