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Kirstin Schell RHN

The best and worst foods to eat while flying

Here's what you should and shouldn't eat on the plane
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3 min
There are two symptoms that are typically associated with flying – dehydration and gastrointestinal discomfort. You become dehydrated while flying because you're up at a higher altitude and the moisture content in airplanes is typically very low. Gastrointestinal discomfort is also common because gases tend to expand when you're up in the air.

Eat lemons
Since you will be drinking plenty of water to help avoid the dehydration, add some lemon into the mix before you pass through security (You can’t bring any fruit across borders). Lemons can help with motion sickness as well as ease your stomach from any of the discomfort you may be feeling. They also help reduce anxiety and depression and are known to be mood enhancing!

Eat bananas
Rich in potassium, bananas have electrolytes that assists with blood pressure control as well as muscle function and aid in the prevention of muscle cramping. Bananas are rich in vitamin B6, which helps with brain and nerve function and are also packed with tryptophan – an amino acid that helps you sleep. When traveling and jet lagged, eating a banana in the daytime will help you sleep at night.

Eat quinoa
Eating the right kind of carbs when flying will help your energy levels. By fueling your body with options like quinoa or brown rice you’ll be providing your body with long-lasting energy that will help you push through jet lag. It will also keep you full longer and help you avoid any quick and convenient food choices in the airport that aren’t the best for you.

Eat oranges
Airports and airplanes are full of germs. Give your immune system a blast of vitamin C by snacking on an orange before take-off. Not only will you get much needed vitamins, but you'll also get the added bonus of hydration as oranges are made up of at least 50 percent water!

Avoid broccoli
This super food may come as a surprise on the ‘avoid list’ as it’s known to have many health benefits. However, broccoli and other cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, cabbage and kale can cause gas and bloating as well as the urge to have a bowel movement – not anything you’d wish to have on a busy flight!

Avoid alcohol
Alcohol may not be food but it’s a popular item consumed while flying. Back to hydration – the less alcohol you consume on a flight the better. The fact is, flying is already dehydrating and drinking alcohol will contribute to the already existing problem, leaving you feeling parched and sluggish when you land.

Avoid fast food
This may seem like a given as it’s deemed unhealthy – but it’s quite easy to go for the fast food options while traveling because they’re quick and convenient. Greasy and high-fat foods can cause a lot of discomfort during your flight. Problems like heartburn, acid reflux and gas will most likely pop up and make your flying experience unpleasant.

Fast food is also filled with salt which can contribute to dehydration and leave your feet swollen! Consider packing a healthy alternative and taking it with you if you think you’ll be pressed for time.

Avoid chewing gum
Similar to alcohol, chewing gum may not be something you eat but it’s something that’s regularly consumed on flights. People often pop a piece of gum to help relieve the pressure in their ears. The problem is that it also makes you swallow extra air, leading to bloating and discomfort.

In addition to this, sugar free gym can cause gas – not something your fellow passengers will be too thrilled about!

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