There are many side effects to travel that are pretty annoying. One that we are all aware of is jet lag. When you cross time zones your body often makes you pay a high price for it and can leave you in a daze for a week while your body clock adjusts to the new location and sleep times. One effect that many people are not aware of is travel bloat. This is the idea that when you travel your stomach is more bloated than usual. This is a very real effect and there are some ways to tackle it.
Flying is a key cause of travel bloat. When you fly the pressure in the cabin causes the gasses in your stomach to expand. This, of course, leads to your stomach expanding too and gives you that bloated feeling. Depending on how long your flight was and a variety of other factors it can leave you feeling fine or as if you just ate a five-course meal and are ready to burst open at the stomach.
There is little we can do about the cabin pressure on a plane. If you try to get rid of that pressure the plane wouldn’t fly so well and you would be in a lot of trouble, so let’s leave that as it is. There are things you can change that limit the amount of trouble this change in cabin pressure can have. The first thing to think about is gum. It is so common to chew gum on a plane as it can help your ears avoid popping. Yet every time you eat gum you are swallowing air and this will only add to your bloat problem. This means you face a tough dilemma, the risk of increased bloating or the risk of ear-popping. If you are someone who experiences ear-popping regularly then we think a little gum while taking off or landing is fine, but consume in moderation.
Another key factor is dehydration. If you haven’t had enough water then you will quickly feel dehydrated and this is common on flights. With everything, we have to do and plan we often forget to stay drinking water. Of course, the flight attendants come around with that small cup every hour or so but that is not enough water. (if there is nowhere to fill it yourself in the terminal) Being dehydrated will cause you to bloat so we recommend bringing your own bottle of water on the plane and asking the attendant to fill it up for you.
When flying regularly, diets often go out the window. We take the easy option at the airport because the energy required to even consider eating healthy just isn’t there. However, if you are not getting fiber in your diet then you know what will happen, bloating will increase. Be careful of over-processed foods that are usually served on planes or in the terminal and try and introduce a little fiber to ensure you avoid too much bloat.
The final thing to watch out for is carbonated beverages. During a long flight, the flight attendant will pass many times and offer you whatever drink you want. While that can of Coca-cola may look tempting it is likely best to avoid. Even sparkling water can cause bloating so as a rule to avoid bloating, avoid bubbles. There are some other drinks that are dangerous for bloating too. Caffeine is known to cause bloating and should be consumed in moderation. Tomato juice is another surprising one on our list. Although healthy and low in sugar, it often has a high salt content that can cause bloating too.
These are the best ways to ensure that you won’t suffer from bloating during your next flight. While a little bloat is normal you can take a number of steps to ensure it is reduced. When we go on a flight we often throw our diet out the window and just eat whatever is available. Don’t do this as you will pay the price later.