Foods to Avoid Before Flying
Flying puts a strain on the body; this is especially true for frequent travelers who have to jet around the globe on a recurring basis.
Issues such as weight gain, flatulence and dehydration become common, making it virtually impossible to enjoy a flight or relax for a couple of hours while you’re several thousands of feet in the air. Here are some tips on what not to eat before flying – they’ll help your body prepare for the flight and you might actually arrive refreshed.
What Does the Expert Say?
Eating protein before you fly will suppress your appetite
“While flying can be stressful for most people, the effect it has on our digestive systems can be embarrassing or catastrophic if you catch diseases such as food poisoning," says Alice Ndong, a certified nutritionist. "To begin with, you want to make sure that you eat a piece of protein a few hours before heading to the airport for your flight. Protein typically lasts you about 7 hours before you start feeling hungry again.”
Ndoing also recommends protein-rich foods like steak, a chicken or turkey sandwich and whole-wheat buns. "This is because the body digests protein slowly and over a long period of time, helping you feel full much longer," she says.
Why would you want to be full for the duration of your flight? Nutritionists universally agree that having some protein in your digestive system will stop you from craving and snacking on high-sodium nibbles like those nuts and salted crackers offered on most airlines.
Sodium is the Enemy
Found in the salt that comprises these snacks, it robs your body of vital fluids and sends you on a fast track to dehydration, constipation and gas!
The last thing you want to be is stuck in an airplane toilet trying to coax a bowel movement in the midst of unpredictable turbulence and snippy cabin crew. As for gas... don’t be surprised if your neighbor asks for a change of seat.
Say No to Sauce
On the other side of the scale, you should also avoid foods that contain a lot of moisture and sauces or those that need to be reheated. These kinds of foods may contain microbes that can put you at risk of contracting food poisoning.
Acidic Fruits Cause Discomfort
Most of us think of fruit as healthy, but actually they're acidic. Eating fruit pre-flight could give you uncomfortable heartburn or gas. Oranges, bananas, mangoes and pineapples are guaranteed to cause gas, discomfort, reflux and indigestion as they pile up in your intestinal tract and ferment. Ever wondered why you have a bloated stomach? Fruits can also ignite burping or hiccups!
Love fruit? There are options like pawpaw, watermelon, sweet melon, grapes and peaches for a gas or acid-free alternative.
Food and Beverage to Avoid when Flying
Here’s a list of more foods that you should just say no to when flying:
Garlic – this leads to bad breath which will only get worse while flying. Garlic also permeates your skin membrane, meaning that your body odor will basically be that of garlic...not cool for anyone seated close to you!
Spicy or peppery foods – these irritate the bladder lining and cause bad breath, as well as stomach discomfort.
Coffee – it will irritates your bladder, make you jumpy and dehydrates you, which means you’ll find yourself making lots of trips to the toilet.
Alcohol – despite the fact that this might help calm your nerves inflight, it causes extreme levels of dehydration.
Greasy foods such as French fries or burgers – these foods are high in trans fats and salt, leading to fluid retention and may also cause your feet to swell.
Carbonated drinks - coupled with the pressurized cabin environment, sodas will give you heartburn and flatulence thanks to their high carbon dioxide and sugar content.
Carrying an antihistamine will help you control any allergic reaction you may get from foods such as nuts. Also, you might want to take a fiber supplement before and after flight to help maintain proper digestion throughout your travels.
It’s always a good idea to keep your body hydrated by drinking at least 8 glasses of water. This staves off dehydration and constipation, keeping your digestive tract working in top condition.
Lastly, a vitamin C and zinc supplement complex will help boost your immunity, helping you avoid catching cold and flu germs which are easily transferred in cabins.