Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Foods to avoid before flying

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Nervous flyers,

Frequent flyers,

Once in a blue moon flyers,

By the skin of your teeth flyers —

All flyers listen up!

It’s in the best interest of you and your co passengers to know what you must avoid eating before a flight.

Airport scenarios are tempting, report three to four hours in advance, the row of restaurants and bright, fluorescent lights of the shops might seem like they’re calling out your name but it’s time to think twice before you head towards them and dig into the food not because you are hungry but rather bored. Know that all of this food is pre-cooked and brought in, only to be electrically reheated and served. While you might survive most, there will be some triggers that can lead to your gut feeling ill.

Here is a list of foods and beverages you should not eat if you are due to fly —

Salty foods —

Airport food or inflight food options don’t put your health or diet first. It’s just trans-fat, prepackaged sodium-laden foods. Know that salty foods cause dehydration and tend to bloat the stomach area. In addition, when the cabin pressure drops inflight, the existing gas in your digestive system expands, leading to more discomfort, heartburn and tummy ache, dehydration, constipation and fatigue.

Digesting food is much harder when you’re thousands of feet above ground level in a pressurised capsule.

Be smart — eat light starting the day before or the morning of your flight to stay hydrated and light in your tummy.

Over-processed snacks and junk food —

If you have a sensitive stomach and you want to avoid digestion issues while flying, stay away from highly processed foods like candy and fast food. These foods can make your digestive system go haywire causing gas build up, bloating and dehydration.

Keeping your in-flight meals simple to avoid discomfort while you fly.

Fast food —

More often than not, we have no option but to eat fast food at airports. It’s also normal to crave junk food when you’re going on vacation. However, fast food is high in salt, sugar and preservatives which can cause bloating, dehydration and acidity while you fly.

Try carrying some healthy food options from home during your next trip to the airport.

Sushi —

This food might come as a surprise to you but sushi before a flight might seem tempting but its best to stay away.

Sushi has the potential risk of causing food poisoning and not the mention the high sodium levels of soy sauce.

Apples —

Apples are one of the healthiest fruits, but because of their high dietary fibre content its hard to digest it. While you fly, as mentioned earlier, it’s harder to digest foods because of cabin pressure which makes apples even more difficult to digest and potentially lead to bloating and constipation.

It’s best to opt for fruits that are gentler on your digestive system.

Beans —

Beans and some legumes like peas and lentils are hard to digest and can cause gas.

When you’re flying, this can intensify and lead to a very uncomfortable flight.

Cruciferous vegetables —

Cruciferous vegetables like bok choy, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower and collard greens are generally good for you, but are hard to digest and can sit in your large intestine for several hours, especially in a pressurised cabin. These veggies can contribute to intestinal gas and bloating in addition to the gas expansion that happens inside your stomach and intestines during flight. This can lead to uncomfortable gas and flatulence.

Opt for lighter greens such spinach, lettuce, or zucchini when you’re travelling next.

Chewing gum —

Chewing gum might help you with nausea and help you pop your ears but the excess air, sugar and artificial sweeteners can cause flatulence and gas buildup.

If you need a mouth freshener opt for a mint, mouthwash or saunf instead.

Spicy food —

While spicy food is loved by many, it can cause heartburn and acidity.

Its best to lay off the spice if you are travelling. You will thank yourself later.

Fizzy drinks —

Flying can cause most of us to feeling gassy and bloated. Adding to this extra gas is not a good idea. Stay away from carbonated drinks before or during a flight to avoid excessive gas, bloating and heartburn. Instead, drink water to stay hydrated.

However, if you’re feeling nauseous or motion sick, carbonated drinks can be helpful.

Coffee —

Coffee is a diuretic and drinking it on a flight can lead to dehydration, not to mention the caffeine can keep you awake when you should be resting and mess with your sleep schedule. Caffeine should be used very limitedly as a way to remedy jet lag because it can make you feel jittery and anxious.

Opt for an herbal tea instead.

Alcohol —

Drinking alcohol on a flight means getting intoxicated faster and dehydrated even faster than that because of cabin pressure. If you cant resist the free glass of wine to take the edge off, remember to hydrate to minimise unfortunate risks.

Its best to avoid alcohol while flying, if you can.

Skip heavy meals and big portion sizes —

Before getting on a plane, avoid filling up on heavy foods. They can upset your stomach and make you feel uncomfortable.

Opt for a satisfying but not overly heavy meal.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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