Everybody knows that feeling when you’re into your cross-country or transatlantic flight and everything starts to feel uncomfortable – shoes start feeling tighter than before, rings are stuck on your fingers, your trousers are cutting into your belly? This is the feared airplane bloat.
The reason for this depends on a few different mechanisms:
First of all because of the air pressure, as the plane rises the air pressure drops, this drop in the air pressure causes gasses to expand.
What also has an impact on these inconveniences is that when you travel you switch onto “vacation mode” which is connected with salty, sugary or fatty foods. You already start consuming these foods before your plane takes off at the airport and as well as on the plane because there are not many other options. Another bad news is that at 30,000 feet your digestive tract tends to slow down and all these greasy and sugary foods stay longer in your gut which makes can make you feel heavy and sluggish. Also, the higher intake of salt can lead to water retention, which can cause constipation.
What is the secret?
- Carbonated beverages – it only puts more gas in your system!
- Alcohol dehydrates your already flight- dehydrated body
- Any fatty or salty snack before and in the plane – try bringing food in your carry-on or checking out the airport online in advance to identify healthier options where the foods below are likely to be available
- Gums containing sugar alcohols (xylitol, sorbitol, and erythritol)
that can also cause bloating
- Lots of water, coffee is fine but can be dehydrating if you drink too much
- Fennel tea – awesome for intestinal gas and bloating, bring your own and just ask for hot water!
- Fennel seeds – bring with you in a small box and chew 2 during your flight
- Light snacks – veggie sticks with guacamole, fresh fruits, raw almonds,
healthy muesli bars (no additives, not high in sugar)
- Comfy clothes – loose and soft trousers
- Don’t stress – mindful & calm eating (thoroughly chewed food has the best chance of complete digestion)
Happy travels everyone!