10 worst foods to eat before flying

‘Tis the season to be merry, and what better way to spread holiday cheer than by hopping on a plane to see a loved one or traveling to an exciting new place? While our minds are often preoccupied with long security lines, rushing to the gate on time, or airport parking logistics, there is one thing that deserves more of your attention before your flight: food choices.

That’s because what you spend before you get on the plane can make a big difference to your flying experience. And sometimes it’s worse. We’re talking about dealing with bloating, excessive gas, or an urgent need for the toilet at 30,000 feet above the ground, which is not an ideal scenario for a vacation trip.

We may not be able to control the turbulence you encounter, but one way we want to help your flight run as smoothly as possible is by shedding light on how certain food and beverage choices can cause physical discomfort during flight. So fasten your seat belts and join us as we navigate the foods and drinks that science says you should skip before your next flight. For more useful holiday tips, see the article 5 Holiday Foods Cardiologists Avoid.

Fried food


If you’re killing time at the airport and looking for a cheap lunch or dinner before your flight, it can be tempting to grab a plate of chicken fingers and fries. However, there are a few reasons why you should reconsider!

First, fatty foods are high in fat, and high-fat foods take much longer to digest than proteins and carbohydrates. If potatoes, chicken fingers and onion rings sit in your stomach for a long time, it will probably lead to bloating and possible stomach upset.

It’s unpleasant enough to sit on a long flight feeling bloated and upset, but because high-fat foods sit in the stomach longer, they can lead to heartburn or severe acid reflux in people who are more prone to these symptoms. .Now that sounds like a stressful flight.

RELATED: The 7 Best Airplane Snacks, According to Nutritionists

Foods high in sodium

tortilla chips Mexican restaurant

Maybe you’re having a beer with chips and Salsa before your flight, or maybe you grabbed a bag of chips to get you there. While a salty snack can be satisfying before a trip, be careful about your sodium intake before hopping on a plane.

Due to the pressure changes and lower humidity on the plane, you’re likely to experience some dehydration while flying, and unfortunately, high-sodium foods can also be dehydrating, which isn’t such a great combination.

Flying can also cause your body to retain more water due to changes in pressure and sitting for too long, and high sodium levels can also have this effect.

You are better off leaving very salty foods behind to avoid as much discomfort as possible.



Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. are some of the healthiest foods you can eat. They are rich in antioxidants and essential vitamins and are very high in fiber compared to many other vegetables.

While this is good for your health, you can skip the broccoli when ordering an airport meal. Cruciferous vegetables contain so much fiber that they can cause bloating and excessive gas.

Unfortunately, feeling bloated while flying is already common, as drastic changes in altitude have been found to lead to bloat. So eating broccoli and other high-fiber vegetables can lead to an even more painful situation when you’re in the air.

OTHER: The 12 Worst Eating Habits for Your Metabolism


black beans

You go through changes in pressure when you’re on a plane, and this can cause your intestines to dilate, according to the Cleveland Clinic. You are more likely to have bloating and excess gas when this happens.

One food that definitely doesn’t help this cause is beans. Not only are beans high in fiber, which can cause bloating, but they also contain raffinose, a carbohydrate that can be difficult for your body to digest. Save yourself an upset stomach when you’re stuck on a plane by avoiding beans before your flight.



We’ve already discussed how flying can cause bloating and possible discomfort due to changes in pressure, so eating foods that cause bloating can make it even worse.

A common food that causes bloating is garlic, which is rich in fibers called fructans. Many people have a mild intolerance to fructans, which can cause your body to react with bloating, abdominal pain, and excessive gas when you eat foods high in this fiber. Although many people have it, it is poorly diagnosed and not widely known, so many people continue to eat these fructan-rich foods without realizing the reason for their discomfort.

In addition to ruining your own experience, pre-flight garlic may also ruin your fellow rower’s because garlic breath is a real thing. Garlic consists of many sulfur compounds that are activated during chewing and can cause a strong odor in the mouth, so avoid making yourself and those around you uncomfortable and avoid eating garlic before your flight.

RELATED: What Happens to Your Body When You Skip Breakfast



The reasons we recommend avoiding garlic before a flight are the same reasons we recommend skipping onions.

Both garlic and onion are rich in fructans, which are the fibers that some people cannot tolerate. If you scarf down a dose of onions before hopping on a plane, you might end up with extra gas that no one wants on a flight.

In the same way that garlic can give you bad breath, onions can do the same. This vegetable also contains many sulfur compounds that unfortunately give your breath a strong onion smell.

Pears and apples

apples and pears

Apples and pears are very healthy snacks because of their fiber content, but when you’re flying, you might want to choose something else.

Pears and apples are known to potentially cause abdominal bloating or discomfort after eating them because they are high in naturally occurring fructose. We discussed earlier how people can tolerate fructans and not be aware of it, and the same can be said for fructose. For many people, fructose can cause stomach pain and bloating.

RELATED: The 10 Worst Ways to Eat for Inflammation

Chewing gum

chewing gum

You’ve probably been told to chew gum when you feel your ears starting to pop during a flight, but this trick can also cause bloating and stomach aches on the plane.

When you chew gum, you swallow a lot more air than usual, which can lead to bloating. The Mayo Clinic (via Science Daily) recommends avoiding chewing gum and sucking on hard candies to reduce bloating and stomach pain.

OTHER: 3 Best Exercises to Stay Fit When Traveling Barefoot


a steaming cup of coffee

Before you drink a cup or two of coffee before your flight, you might want to think about a few possible side effects you might experience on the plane.

First of all, whenever you drink a lot of fluids before boarding, you increase your need to urinate on the plane. This can be inconvenient for flyers.

Besides making you need to pee more, coffee is known to make you poop more. It stimulates your colon and causes more contractions, which is why you run to the bathroom afterwards. Unfortunately, this is inconvenient on a plane, especially if you end up in a window seat.

In addition to this, coffee can also cause anxiety symptoms in people who are more sensitive to caffeine, which can cause nervousness, nervousness and upset stomach. If you’re a nervous flyer at all, drinking coffee can only make things worse.


bartender serving beer

Posting and drinking at an airport bar can be a comforting way to pass the time during a long layover, but be aware of the potential problems that drinking alcohol before a flight can cause.

Alcohol has diuretic effects, which means it can make you urinate more often and dehydrate you. Since flights can already dehydrate you, adding alcohol to the experience will only make it worse.

Since alcohol can also make you urinate more often, you run the risk of the annoying inconvenience of having to make multiple trips to the bathroom when you’re on a plane, something you and your row mates don’t want.

There is also a link between drinking alcohol and anxiety and depression, which is mainly due to the decrease in serotonin that it causes. Like coffee, be careful what you drink if you’re nervous or anxious, as both drinks can potentially make your symptoms worse.

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