If you suffer from fear of flying, anxiety may make eating a meal before flying unappealing. However, it is important to eat the right foods before and during a flight in order to feel as well and as stress free as possible.
Tiredness and mood changes are all symptoms of your blood sugar levels taking a dip. However, it is important to remember that eating and drinking the wrong things can make flying stress and anxiety much worse.
- Eating the wrong foods can make you feel bloated and uncomfortable because the gases in the stomach tend to expand during airplane travel.
- Becoming dehydrated due to the low moisture content of the air in planes, contributes to headache, stress and tiredness.
What to Eat Before and During a Flight
Tryptophan rich foods can have a positive effect on stress levels because tryptophan helps the brain to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that helps us to feel calm and relaxed. Foods rich in tryptophan that are good for eating before and during a flight are turkey, chicken and bananas.
If you really don’t feel like eating before a flight, instead of having an alcoholic drink to calm your nerves, a healthy smoothie containing fresh, raw fruits and vegetables will help you to stay hydrated.
Frequent small snacks throughout your flight are better than one big meal so ensure you have brought some healthy snacks to eat.
What to Drink When Flying
Drink plenty of still water throughout the flight to stay hydrated. Avoid sparkling water or any other carbonated drinks as these cause bloating.
Restrict alcohol to just one glass as although you may feel it helps to calm your flight nerves, alcoholic drinks are very dehydrating. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks for the same reason.
Foods and Drinks That Can Add To Your Anxiety During Flying (Avoid These)
Stress levels rise when we feel uncomfortable and bloated. So although fresh fruits and vegetables are good, avoid veggies that produce gas! These are mainly cruciferous vegetables including cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli – so lay off the coleslaw with an in-flight salad, as it will contain raw cabbage and probably onion, another gas-producer!
It is also best to avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks including cola and hot chocolate before and during a flight if you suffer from anxiety while flying. There are three important reasons for this.
- Caffeine can inhibit levels of serotonin in the brain. Depressed levels can cause low mood and irritability and for those with flight anxiety, are not good when trying to remain calm and relaxed.
- It is also a diuretic so this could exacerbate the problem of dehydration as well as causing frequent trips to the bathroom.
- Many people choose to sleep on a longer flight as a way of dealing with their airplane fears. Caffeine could keep you awake, increasing your stress levels if you are trying to fall asleep.
Keep yourself relaxed and comfortable by avoiding:
- Rich, fatty, creamy or cheesy sauces and foods, as these take longer to digest and will make you feel uncomfortable
- Salty foods that can add to dehydration
- Sweet, sugary foods and desserts that can cause a sugar crash, affecting your tiredness levels, mood and anxiety.
To Sum Up
While no food is going to be the ‘magic bullet’ that cures your airplane phobia, eating and drinking the right things before and during a flight can definitely help in making you feel comfortable and properly hydrated. This will help to support the other relaxation techniques you use to overcome a fear of flying.
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