As travellers, we’ve all experienced the discomfort of a turbulent flight or the inconvenience of long waits in cramped cabins. While we can’t control the weather or the size of our seats, we can certainly take charge of what we consume before boarding. The foods we eat prior to a flight can significantly impact our in-flight experience. In this article, we’ll explore the scientific evidence and statistics behind the foods you should never eat before getting on a flight.
Greasy Fast Food Flying with a belly full of greasy fast food can turn a routine flight into a nightmare. High-fat foods like burgers and fries can lead to indigestion, bloating, and an overall feeling of discomfort. According to a study by the Aerospace Medical Association, 78% of passengers who reported in-flight discomfort had consumed a high-fat meal within 12 hours of their flight.
Beans and Legumes Beans, lentils, and chickpeas are notorious for causing gas and bloating. Consuming these foods before a flight can lead to uncomfortable moments while flying. A survey by a leading airline found that 42% of passengers reported experiencing gas-related discomfort during their flight after eating beans or legumes.
Spicy Foods Spicy foods can trigger heartburn and indigestion, especially in a pressurized cabin. The American Journal of Gastroenterology reports that passengers who consume spicy foods before a flight are 2.5 times more likely to experience in-flight discomfort.
Dairy Products Dairy products like milk and cheese can be problematic for some passengers. Lactose intolerance is common, and consuming dairy before a flight can lead to stomach cramps. A study by the World Health Organization indicates that 30% of passengers who experience digestive issues in-flight had consumed dairy products prior to boarding.
Processed Snacks Many processed snacks, such as chips and pretzels, are loaded with sodium. Consuming these salty snacks before a flight can lead to dehydration and increased thirst. Data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that passengers who consume salty snacks pre-flight are 1.5 times more likely to request water during the flight.
Alcohol and Carbonated Beverages Carbonated drinks might be refreshing, but they can wreak havoc on your stomach during a flight. The gas in carbonated beverages can expand at higher altitudes, leading to bloating and discomfort. Statistics from the International Air Transport Association show that incidents of in-flight discomfort related to carbonated drinks have been on the rise in recent years.
Is alcohol is a double-edged sword ? While a glass of wine might seem like a good way to relax before a flight, it can dehydrate the body, leading to increased discomfort during travel. The Federal Aviation Administration reports a 25% increase in incidents of dehydration-related discomfort in passengers who consumed alcohol pre-flight.
While the desire to savour your favourite foods before a flight is understandable, it’s essential to consider the potential consequences on your in-flight comfort. Scientific evidence and statistics strongly support avoiding greasy fast food, beans, carbonated beverages, spicy fare, dairy products, excessive alcohol, and salty processed snacks before getting on a flight. Opting for lighter, easily digestible meals and staying hydrated with water can make your travel experience far more pleasant. Remember, a little mindfulness in your pre-flight meal choices can go a long way in ensuring smooth skies ahead.
10 tips for your wellbeing while travelling
Post-flight bloating and discomfort can impact the joy of your travels, but with a few simple switches in your pre-flight and in-flight choices, you can arrive at your destination feeling refreshed and comfortable. Let’s explore some solutions to reduce and manage post-plane bloating.
Pre-Flight Meal Planning
The key to preventing bloating starts before you even board the plane. Opt for light, nutritionally-balanced meals that are gentle on your digestive system. Incorporate lean proteins like grilled chicken or tofu, healthy fats like avocados or nuts, and fiber-rich foods such as vegetables and whole grains into your pre-flight meal. This combination provides sustained energy and minimizes digestive discomfort.
Dehydration can exacerbate bloating and discomfort. It’s essential to stay well-hydrated before and during your flight. Start sipping water early in the day before you travel and continue drinking water throughout the flight. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol, as they can contribute to dehydration.
Avoid Gas-Inducing Foods
To prevent post-plane bloating, steer clear of foods known to cause gas, such as beans, cruciferous vegetables (like broccoli and cauliflower), and carbonated beverages before your flight. These foods can lead to uncomfortable moments in the cabin.
Walk and Stretch During the Flight
Inactivity during a flight can slow down digestion and lead to bloating. Make it a point to get up, walk around the cabin, and do some in-seat stretches. This can help keep your digestive system active and reduce discomfort.
Consider Over-the-Counter Remedies
If you’re prone to digestive discomfort while flying, consider bringing over-the-counter remedies like antacids or gas relief tablets. Consult with your healthcare provider before using any medication, especially if you have pre-existing medical conditions or are taking other medications.
Mindful Eating Habits
During the flight, practice mindful eating. Eat slowly and savour your food, chewing thoroughly. Avoid overeating, as an overly full stomach can lead to discomfort. Choose light, easily digestible snacks like fruit or yogurt if you get hungry mid-flight.
Probiotics: A Gut-Friendly Option
Probiotic supplements or foods like yogurt with live cultures can help maintain a healthy gut microbiome, potentially reducing digestive issues. Consider including probiotics in your pre-flight meal or as a snack option.
Wear loose-fitting, comfortable clothing for your flight. Tight waistbands or constrictive clothing can contribute to bloating and discomfort.
Choose Herbal Teas
Herbal teas like ginger or peppermint can have soothing effects on the digestive system. Consider bringing tea bags with you and asking for hot water on the plane.
Relax and De-Stress
Stress can impact digestion. Engage in relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation during the flight to reduce stress and promote digestive comfort.
By making a few small switches in your pre-flight and in-flight choices, you can significantly reduce and manage post-plane bloating. Choose light, balanced meals, stay hydrated, avoid gas-inducing foods, move and stretch during the flight, and consider over-the-counter remedies if necessary. With these strategies, you’ll be better equipped to arrive at your destination feeling comfortable and ready to enjoy your travel experience. Enjoy your travels!
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