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Five things not to consume before a flight

4 Sep 2013 by Clement Huang

Road warriors are used to waiting around at the airport for their flights, and one of the most popular ways to pass time is to eat or drink something. But there are ingredients and beverages they should avoid before a flight, and here are five:


CARBONATED SOFT DRINKS

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT: Carbonated drinks contain high caffeine content that could affect your sleep rhythm. Moreover, the extra gas increases the chance of flatulence, and could cause heartburn as well.

CLASSY ALTERNATIVE Add a thin slice of lemon to ice-cold still water, and enjoy an equally refreshing and zesty beverage. Citrus contains an antibacterial property that is gentle on the throat.

Photo courtesy of Simon Cousins at Wikipedia


GARLIC

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT: This ingredient is hard to avoid as it is in so many of our favourite dishes. In most cases, we only consume a moderate amount of it at a time, but there are also dishes that contain whole cloves of the bulbous plant. We all know what excessive amounts of garlic can do to our breath and body odour, so be considerate to your fellow passengers and save your indulgence for after arrival.

CLASSY ALTERNATIVE Ingredients such as ginger and shallots also boost flavours in dishes but without the unpleasant side effect. Moreover, ginger has a reputation for being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress.

Photo courtesy of Chensiyuan at Wikipedia


FIBROUS AND ACIDIC FRUITS

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT: Because of the high fibre content these fruits are harder to digest and therefore make one gassy. The high levels of acidicity can also cause heartburn, and while vitamin C is important to our health, it also makes one urinate more, which means more trips down the aisle to the ever-busy lavatories. 

CLASSY ALTERNATIVE Fruits such as watermelons and bananas are naturally low in fibre and acidic content, and are excellent source of antioxidants and vitamins. Plus, how better to rehydrate yourself than to enjoy a few slices of juicy watermelon?


ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT: While not a dish or type of food on its own, artificial sweeteners are present in many different things we consume including coffee, frozen desserts and chewing gum. As the human body reacts differently to artificial sweeteners than to actual sugar, digestion can be difficult, leading to bloating and gas. Some sweeteners such as Sorbitol, Mannitol and Xylitol, which are widely used in baking products, may have laxative effects if eaten in excess.  

CLASSY ALTERNATIVE Organic honey is packed full of vitamins and antimicrobial properties. While it is more calorie-heavy than normal sugar, it also takes less of it to achieve the same level of sweetness.

 

FAST FOOD

WHY YOU SHOULD AVOID IT: We all know not to eat too much fast food, but it is especially so before a flight – the high levels of trans-fat and salt content can constrict blood flow, which increases the risk of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Excessive oil can also lead to heartburn and an upset stomach.

CLASSY ALTERNATIVE While the words "healthy" and "fast food" do not seem to be a pair, many fast food chains do offer salads that contain less calories than the other items on the menu. But use the dressing provided sparingly as that is where the bulk of the calories come from. 

Photo courtesy of Jef Poskanzer from Berkeley, California at Wikipedia 

Clement Huang

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