Many long-haul flights include three or more meals. Can anything you eat alleviate jet lag?
Fight the bloat: expanding stomach gasses are a common digestive problem experienced on flights, caused by lower air pressure. Nutritionist Yvonne Bishop-Weston says there are a number of steps you can take to reduce feeling bloated. These include chewing food well, avoiding sugars and refined carbohydrates, not chewing gum (as it means you swallow air) and eating foods rich in vitamin B6 and zinc to support digestive enzymes. As for your airline meal, eat the protein and the vegetables, but consider skipping the roll or the desert. Probiotics can also help by boosting your gut bacteria, but you should ask a nutritionist as not all probiotics are created equal.
Keep well hydrated: it is well known that cabin air tends to be very dry and that alcohol and caffeine can exacerbate the effects of this. “Because altitude affects taste, airline food is often high in salt, so you might consider ordering low-salt meals,” says Ms Bishop-Weston. “Minimise saturated, hydrogenated and trans fats and ensure a daily intake of omega 3 and 6 fats from oily fish, nuts and seeds. These good fats help to keep water within the cells.”
Jet lag: eating well and not using alcohol to sleep are two of the best ways to minimise jet lag. Ms Bishop-Weston says, “Tryptophan-rich foods such as dates, figs, nut butter, tuna and turkey may also help as they are a precursor to melatonin. Include such foods in the meal before you wish to sleep.” As for timing, airlines normally try to find a halfway house between mealtimes at the points of departure and destination. But, on arrival, start eating at the right time for where you are.
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