Well & Good
What are the best menu options for travellers flying long-haul? To feel refreshed and relaxed on arrival, there are ways to prevent bloating, fatigue, jet lag, travel sickness and indigestion through good eating and sensible hydration.
Today’s travellers are savvier than ever when it comes to pleasing their palate and the impact food choices have on their body. So Singapore Airlines has developed menus to make sure their passengers avoid the discomfort that can be part of international air travel.
Singapore Airlines’ resident chef, Hermann Freidanck, is responsible for creating the airline’s on-board menus. He has helped identify foods that help alleviate the discomforts that can be associated with flying.
“Menu options need to be gentle on the digestive system,” says Freidanck.
“When flying at high altitudes, the taste of food can change as flavours become less evident, due to the effect arid air in the plane cabin has on our tastebuds. Food has to be more distinctive if customers are to recognise and enjoy familiar tastes and comforting sensations.”
The airline's top tips for avoiding common ailments through what you ingest are:
1. Jet lag
Research has shown that eating the right kinds of food can leave people up to 16 times less likely to suffer from jet lag. Meals act as ‘time cues’ for your body so adjusting the amount and type of food you eat can make a big difference. When flying, opt for a light meal that is relatively easy to digest as it is best to arrive feeling slightly hungry. Eating a high protein meal once you land means you will be able to keep as active as possible in a bid to switch to the new time zone. A light but high protein egg option is offered across all classes prior to landing on air routes between Singapore on London and Manchester to help passengers keep active on arrival.
2. Travel sickness
For customers that suffer from travel sickness, ginger is well known to help quell its effects, so consider opting for a ginger-based drink such as ginger ale when ordering from the drinks service. In addition, ginger is a popular ingredient used in many Oriental dishes.
Air travel can bring about a sluggish effect on digestion and absorption of nutrients. Potatoes contain a compound called alkaloids that are thought to have an antacid effect. Similarly turmeric is known to be a potent digestive aid. Turmeric features in Singapore Airlines’ menus - in turmeric rice with prawns in a spicy chilli sauce. Pineapple is also a digestive aid which contains an enzyme called bromelain that helps break down food in the stomach. Plenty of vegetables and whole grains promote digestion and the protein structure of fish makes it easier to digest than meat.
Vitamin B, found in whole grains, fruit and vegetables has a profound effect on the nervous system, helping to reduce stress. Celery has long been prescribed by naturopaths for anxiety as it has a tranquilising effect on the central nervous system5 so this is a good option to choose prior to boarding, to help quell any pre-flight nerves. Dehydration can also cause stress, headaches and irritability so drinking plenty of fluids whilst in the air is important.
Choose foods that will boost brain power rather than sap it if you want to work in-flight or you are going to a meeting straight from the plane. Zinc, which is found in protein-rich foods, has been linked to better intellectual performance in clinical tests. Also, eating protein with vegetables or fruit provides the brain with the vitamins necessary for mental stimulation.
Bread, broccoli, beans and peaches can produce intestinal gases by expanding in the stomach causing bloating, so avoid them before your flight. Also limit your intake of fatty foods, which slow down digestion, salty snacks that encourage water retention and fizzy drinks that contain carbon dioxide8 if you tend to suffer with in-flight bloating. Green tea is good for stimulating digestive enzymes and has all-round detoxifying properties which help to alleviate trapped wind, a common in-flight problem.
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