Growing up, my mother always stressed the importance of having a good meal before traveling. She always worried that we might have limited food options on the go, which is fair. Now, as an adult, it's been instilled in me that I have to stuff my face before heading to the airport. But after many-a flights in which I endured extreme digestive discomfort, I decided to look in the kinds of foods that you should never eat before getting on a plane, because surely all pre-flight snacks do not effect the gut equally. No offense mom, but you should have been more specific!
According to many nutritionists, foods that cause bloating are your worst enemies in flight. The combination of the change in cabin pressure, mixed with the inability to move around creates a bloated situation to start. Despite the fact that planes are pretty good at stabilizing the cabin pressure, the air pressure is still generally lower than what you're used to, and more importantly, what your gut is used to. According to Men's Health, being on a flight causes the gasses in your stomach to expand up to 25 percent — no spicy bean burrito necessary. So when you add foods to your digestive system that create a lot of air, you're signing yourself up for some mile high stomach issues. Essentially, you're going to want to avoid any food that creates even more gas. Some gaseous foods are obvious, while others might be surprising. If you need a refresher — fart pun not intended — here are a few foods that you'll want to avoid at all costs before getting on plane:
Beans & Lentils
"Beans, beans, the magical fruit, the more you eat, the more you toot!" You know the song. Beans and legumes create tons of gas in the digestive tract, so try to ward off your craving until after the flight. If you choose to eat beans, even many hours before your flight, you could end up suffering from some serious gas pains.
Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, artichoke and cauliflower are great for you, but they're not so great for your gut when you're about to be in a low air pressure environment. These foods are packed with fiber, which can be great for digestion, but no when you're belted into a seat for a few hours, surrounded by strangers, if you catch my drift.
A little bit of fruit will be OK, but fruit juice, or dried fruits are too high in fructose that only feeds the gas-producing bacteria in your gut. Don't feed the fart monster, wait until after your flight to indulge.
If you're sensitive to dairy, avoid it at all costs — a low pressure environment is going to only make things worse. But even if you don't typically have digestive issues after consuming dairy, you should go light on it pre-flight — it's a common cause of stomach pain and discomfort even on the ground.
This one is self-explanatory, right? If there are bubbles in your drink there will be bubbles in your tummy. If you must have a drink in-flight, opt for something without carbonation and opt for water instead of soda.
Too Much Gum
Though gum can be really helpful for releasing pressure in your ears when you're in-flight, it also causes you to swallow a lot of air. If you need to chew gum during take of to pop your ears and clear your head, that's fine, but spit it out once your ears are feeling OK.