Choosing the Right Foods and Drinks for Your Flight2 min read
Many people look to food to manage the stress they face when preparing for an airplane flight, and others look to alcohol. But, there are some things that should be avoided prior to boarding a plane that will take you 40,000 feet in the air. While remembering to stay well hydrated before and during your flight is important, staying away from the following foods and drinks is also worth considering:
Digesting food like a McDonald’s Number 2 meal is hard enough on the body in normal circumstances; this problem is exacerbated in a pressurized cabin at high altitudes. Not only can indigestion come from the menu options available from Mickey D’s, Burger King, Taco Bell, or any other greasy fast food place commonly seen in airports, but it can also contribute to blood flow constriction, thus leading to blood clots in the legs, also known as Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Anything that will give you gas
Avoiding foods that cause intestinal expansion is a good idea in a pressurized airplane cabin because the pressure only makes the bloating worse. Fried and super-saturated foods are obvious contributors to this problem. The less obvious culprits include healthy foods such as onions, cauliflower, cabbage, and baked beans. Avoiding bloating pains isn’t the only reason to avoid these foods: courtesy towards and the personal comfort of other passengers around you are good things to consider as well.
Soda and other carbonated beverages
Soda and carbonated beverages can contribute to the risks for bloating and cramping described above, especially when combined with dehydration, which is always a risk when flying.
Some people find that a drink or two helps them cope with pre-flight anxiety and fall asleep on the plane. However, doctors advise travelers not to include alcohol in their flight plans. The pressure in the cabin causes the alcohol concentration in the blood to be higher. This leads to faster intoxication and a higher risk for a hangover and flyers may find that after that initial nap, they have trouble falling back to sleep on a plane. That being said, if consuming a drink or two is an absolute must for you to deal with the fear of flying,make sure you consume plenty of water to counteract the effects of the alcohol.
Sometimes the best laid plans fall apart when you’re running to the gate to board a long flight, but when possible, make the best food choices possible and you may find that your trip is more comfortable for you and those around you.
Author: Derek Giannetti
Derek Giannetti, a guest contributor to the Healthy Travel blog, is an upcoming junior at Ursinus College where he plays football and studies Exercise and Sports Science. Upon graduation, Derek hopes to pursue a career in Health and Physical Education.
Photo by A_minor.