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Eat right during a long flight to lessen discomfort

In-flight meals don’t have to be unhealthy and boring. Here’s how to choose wisely.

health and fitness Updated: Apr 29, 2016 09:34 IST
Abhinav Verma
In-flight meals don’t have to be unhealthy and boring. Choose wisely for a happy journey.
In-flight meals don’t have to be unhealthy and boring. Choose wisely for a happy journey.(Photo: Istock)

It’s vacation time, and you may have already booked your airline tickets to a foreign destination. But for many of us, a long flight becomes even more tiresome due to the food offered on it. It’s not just the jet-lag that’s annoying, long flights make us prone to an upset stomach, dehydration and muscle cramps. We believe that a good vacation starts with a happy flight. So, here’s helping you make healthy choices when travelling by air.

Always carry your own small meals such as a light cucumber sandwich or fruits such as bananas and berries, which are high in fibre content. Yoghurt is a must during flights as it’s a natural probiotic that boosts stomach immunity and prevents stomach infections. (Photo: Istock)

1) Beat the mid-air bloat: Avoid the gas giants — foods that have a tendency to produce gas, like broccoli, beans, fried foods and dairy products, as they take longer to digest. Also avoid dry fruits, as they contain sodium, which causes water retention leading to dehydration. The other reason which leads to a bloated stomach is the high altitude, due to which gastrointestinal gases tend to expand more, leading to acidity and bloating. To deal with this, carry your own small meals such as a light cucumber sandwich or fruits such as bananas and berries, which are high in fibre content. Yoghurt is a must during flights as it’s a natural probiotic that boosts stomach immunity and prevents stomach infections. Also, avoid overeating. It’s easier to deal with jet-leg on an empty stomach..

Chamomile tea is known to be a stomach and body relaxer. (Photo: Istock)

2) Drinking conundrum: Because of the high altitude, most of us tend to be dehydrated during the flight. It goes without saying that one needs to constantly drink water in that case. However, the biggest mistake people make during the flight is to opt for caffeine, carbonated beverages and milk. Caffeine tends to dehydrate and could hamper your sleep cycle by keeping you awake. Always choose tea over coffee, or just carry your own tea bags. Chamomile tea is known to be a stomach and body relaxer. Carbonated beverages and milk again can cause gas.

Opt for lime water, since vitamin C helps boost immunity. As for alcohol, it may be sleep-inducing but it will ruin your natural sleep cycle. It also causes dehydration and fatigue once you wake up.

Read:Are you wondering what the best diet to prevent heart diseases is?

3) Move around: Due to the cramped nature, high altitude and low pressure of the flights, one is prone to muscle cramps, headaches and anxiety. So, stay active, and don’t sit throughout the flight. Every one hour, walk around or just stand. It’ll help you calm down, while also relieving you of gas.

DID YOU KNOW THAT THE HIGH ALTITUDE TENDS TO NUMB OUR TASTE BUDS?

The plane noise always tends to suppress our sweet taste buds, and enhances those taste buds which recognize Umami — a taste sensation which is produced when consuming high protein foods such as meat and fish. Hence, meat and fish are a popular in-flight food choice.
— Inputs by Dr Anjali Hooda Sangwan, nutritionist