FFE Magazine

What not to eat and drink before flying

What we eat and drink before flying affects our mood, health, and overall disposition during the flight. Some food and beverages can cause jet bloating (refers to serious belching and bloating caused by cabin air that expands the stomach at high altitude), jet lag, fatigue, flatulence, and indigestion. We must avoid certain foods to prevent discomfort during long haul flights and to avoid the embarrassment of being that stinky seatmate to our fellow passengers.

Some foods you should think twice before putting in your mouth include:



Fried food. Deep fried meals usually contain a high amount of saturated fat.  Since Food is harder to digest at 35,000 feet due to the effects of low air pressure in our bodies, deep fried food may easily constrict blood flow, trigger heartburn and cause indigestion.

Photo from onewiththepastor/blogspot

Broccoli. Parents often make it a point to have their children eat green leafy vegetables. Perhaps long haul flights should be the exception. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, watercress, and bok choy can increase bloating and flatulence. This is due to raffinose, a specific sugar compound found in cruciferous vegetables that is hard to digest.


Pasta. High-carbohydrate food like bread, pasta, and rice tend to soak up water, causing water retention in the body and adding to that bloated feeling. They also leave you gassy.

Coffee. Coffee is a diuretic, which means it reduces water in the body by frequent urination. Drinking more than a cup of coffee could dehydrate you in the end.


Carbonated drinks. Just like coffee, carbonated drinks are also diuretics. Because of the water lost, dehydration can cause jet lag, headache, and nausea. Carbonated drinks also contribute to bloating and belching. This occurs when the tiny bubbles in our carbonated beverages expand in our tummy as air pressure shifts.


Alcohol. Since air is dry or not humidified inside the plane, passengers tend to feel dehydrated after a while. Drinking more than one to two glasses of alcohol would only increase dehydration because alcohol is also a diuretic. In addition, it may also increase bloating and belching as some alcoholic drinks, like beer, are carbonated.


Garlic. Garlic contains sulfuric compounds that cannot be digested. They are instead passed into our bloodstream, and carried to our lungs and skin where they are excreted. This literally means that the strong garlic smell is seeping out through our pores and that we are breathing it too. Since the breakdown of these compounds may take several hours, the smell of garlic will linger inside the plane for a while too.


Prunes. Prunes together with apricots, cherries, grapes and peaches are natural laxatives. They are full of fiber and have properties that easily lubricate your intestines.  Eating prunes before a flight can cause you multiple visits to the lavatory. It is best to avoid such food and beverages before flying. However, if you cannot resist them, then the general rule is to eat or drink in moderation. Try to consume them lightly and save the rest of your appetite for equally delicious in-flight meals.



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