Why Am I Bloated When I Travel?

Sometimes called ‘jet belly’, it’s normal to feel more bloated than usual when you’re flying. But why does it happen? Dr Sammie Gill, Gastroenterology Dietitian, explains the culprit is the change in air pressure. As a plane ascends, these changes cause the air hanging around in your gut to expand. You’ve probably noticed how packets of nuts or crisps expand when you’re flying? Same principle. The volume of air inside the bag increases.

Want to beat that bloated feeling? Read on for Sammie’s tips…

1. Avoid high fat and salty foods just before and while travelling
If you have a sensitive gut, avoid some of the higher FODMAP foods in the few days prior to travel such as garlic, onions, legumes and pulses. Avoid chewing gum and swallowing unnecessary air.

2. Opt for lighter meals and snacks just before and while travelling
Reach for a homemade wrap, rice cakes or a porridge pot. Go for high water content foods such as cucumber, strawberries, or watermelon. Eat little and often. Chew food well and slowly to aid digestion.

3. Keep hydrated
The air drawn into the plane cabin is very dry. Fluids are important for keeping the gut moving along. Keep topped up with water, milk, juice (watered down) and fruit teas. Avoid carbonated drinks – they will expand in the gut during flight.

4. Take a walk around the cabin
This will help with gas movement in the gut as well as increasing blood circulation. Opt for loose fitting clothing which doesn’t feel restrictive.

Visit our #ItTakesGuts holiday hub for more tips and tricks around holidaying with gut issues.

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