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Ask The Nutritionist: Frequent Air Travel

Q. Dear Naomi, I have to travel a lot for work and fly at least twice a month. I often feel very bloated during and after the flight, and generally feel quite sluggish. Is there anything you can recommend that may help? Charlotte Easton

A. Hi Charlotte. I think there are many people out there who will be able to relate to that unpleasant 'airport feeling'! Frequent air travel can be extremely disruptive to our bodies, but there are things that you can do during and between trips that may help. Here are my top tips for frequent travellers:

When you're flying...Keep hydrated during your flight. Humidity is around 10-15% on a plane and moisture is drained from you. Drink plenty of water throughout the flight to avoid dehydration. Travelling with a large bottle of water (purchased post check-in remember!) on long flights is a good idea.nrn
    • Avoid tea and coffee on the plane, as they are diuretics and will cause fluid loss. Alcohol is also dehydrating, so avoid alcoholic drinks pre and during the flight.

    • Choose the vegetarian meal on the plane. Frequent air travel can be very disruptive to our digestion, by upsetting the balance of the 'friendly' gut bacteria in our gut. This can lead to problems such as bloating, diarrhoea and constipation. The vegetarian meal will usually provide more fibre than the regular meals, making it a better option.

    • Avoid sugar and sugary snacks which can encourage yeast in the gut, causing bloating and discomfort.

    • Here at Nosh our nutritionists have compiled a Flight Pack kitted out with a range of products designed to provide immune support and flight hydration, along with support of travel sickness during long flights.

r Whilst you're away...
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  • Be wary of 'buzz words' on restaurant menus that indicate high-fat meals - cream sauce, butter, oil, au gratin, breaded, Alfredo, battered or tempura- which can be hard to digest.
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  • Just because you're out of the country, try to avoid that 'it doesn't count' holiday mentality towards what you eat! The hotel breakfast buffet can be the biggest temptation. Stick to options such as porridge, fresh fruit, nuts and egg-based breakfasts; and avoid the pastries!
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  • Take your own healthy snacks. Nuts such as almonds, cashews, and walnuts are easy to take on a trip in individual bags. Rice cakes, oatcakes and protein balls are also snacks that can easily be taken with you.
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  • Take a good-quality probiotic supplement to replenish the good bacteria in your gut.
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Regards,
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Naomi