Health news: 10 foods to avoid before flying

Disembark your long-haul flight looking as fresh as when you boarded – even if you’ve been hanging out in economy.

Unappetising food, crying children, the uncertainty of whether or not you’ll be lumped with the aisle seat… Flying is far from a walk in the park.

But forewarned is forearmed; grab your neck pillow and a decent pair of headphones and avoid these no-go foods for your smoothest travelling experience yet.

Hot chips: Yes, that means skipping the airport Maccas conveniently situated between security and your gate. Chips are loaded with fat and sodium, which your body can struggle to process at high altitudes, and that can lead to fluid retention and bloating. How about a bowl of barley and vegetable soup instead?

Red meat: No chips, no burgers. As well as being another high-fat, high-sodium deal, burgers – and red meat in general – can be difficult to digest. That can result in nausea and cramping and a general blah feeling that's probably not how you want to start your holiday. Grilled chicken with warm cos lettuce salad is a better shout for any jet setters.

Apples: A surprise addition, maybe, but hear us out. Apples are a great source of fibre – which is normally fantastic news – but they can be difficult to digest. A build-up of gas and bloating isn’t fun at the best of times, but stuck on a 12-hour flight? Torture. A honeydew melon salad is a tasty substitute.

Beans: Baked, broad, borlotti… Whatever your bean of choice, it’s probably best to steer clear until you hit the tarmac. Like apples, they’re heavy on the fibre and can cause uncomfortable cramping in the air. Swap your lunchtime burrito for scrambled eggs, spinach and salmon.

Soft drinks: As well as causing gas, downing a couple of Solo Lemons can also kickstart some pretty unpleasant heartburn. It’s easy to become dehydrated up in the air, though, so stick to water – and plenty of it.

Chilli: Spicy food in general can lead to stomach discomfort and, believe it or not, bladder irritation, so giving chilli peppers a wide berth is probably the safest bet. If you really want to make your gut happy, why not tuck in to kefir yoghurt?

Alcohol: Bet you thought you’d get away with this one. Sorry foodies, but saying no to those cute-as mini G&Ts is the easiest way to get through a flight. Alcohol can be incredibly dehydrating, and if you start boozing at the very start of your flight, your hangover will be kicking in just as you land. Once again, water is your on-board best friend.

Coffee: Double whammy of bad news, but coffee’s out too. Caffeine is another big offender when it comes to dehydration, and while a well-timed coffee can be known to heal a headache, stick to green tea or peppermint tea during the flight.

Chewies: OK it’s not strictly a food, per se, but snapping on gum during take-off and landing builds up a lot of extra air in your body. That, in turn, manifests in bloating, gas and cramps. If you need help with your ear popping, we’d recommend a butterscotch candy. Who doesn’t like butterscotch candy?

Garlic: We would never normally say this, but let’s temporarily leave garlic out of any cooking before you take to the skies; your fellow passengers will thank you for it.

By Deirdre Fogarty

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