What to Eat & Drink at Altitude for the Frequent Flyer
Sarah Wilson - The Aviation Nutritionist™
Flying takes its toll on the body, but there are steps you can take to recover quickly.
The cabin environment affects your body, disrupting hormones, digestion and weakening your immune system, leaving you feeling bloated, tired and run- down. In general, your digestion doesn’t operate at its best when flying, so I’d recommend avoiding a big meal just before and during flight. But when you just can’t wait, there are foods you can eat to mitigate the effects and bounce back faster.
Every meal should contain a portion of good-quality protein and essential fats e.g. wild salmon, lean meat or flaxseed to promote good immunity, hormone balance and optimum fluid levels. And, of course, accompanied by leafy greens for a good dose of magnesium - this vital mineral relaxes the nervous system, and with it, promotes good health around the body.
The cabin’s pressure desensitises your tastebuds - which explains why curries are so popular on commercial flights. But there’s more to a well-flavoured dish than taste. I often recommend my clients flavour their meals with beneficial spices and herbs, such as turmeric to support circulation and cinnamon to balance blood sugar levels.
Try not to be tempted by dessert - sugar only stresses your body further and plays havoc with your energy levels. Instead, eat immunity-boosting foods high in Vitamin C and Zinc such as kiwi fruit and unsalted cashew nuts. Foods rich in these also promote the absorption of iron, helping your cells take on oxygen and promoting energy.
And above all - hydrate. Countless studies stress how dehydration impairs performance. Related to the challenges of air travel, research has shown that pine bark also known as Pycnogenol has effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, so I suggest using a product which combines the two when you fly. 1Above is a drink which does this so suggest you try it.
Every body is different, but with a few small changes to what you eat and drink, flying can become a much more pleasant experience.