Tags: IBS

We all love traveling but for those with IBS, the physical impact of flying can be daunting because of the potential exacerbation of symptoms in flight. The bloating is real- it happens to all of us because of the change in air pressure. The air pressure in an airplane cabin is lower than at sea level. This allows for air and gas to expand in the intestines.

Here are 8 tips to help you take better control of your bloating and enjoy a more comfortable flight:

1. Exercise before your flight

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Low impact exercises, such as yoga and cycling, are a great way to relieve and prevent IBS symptoms.  Be sure to repeat these exercises after you land. This will help mitigate any discomfort resulting from the flight.  Stay tuned for some up-coming tips on the best exercises for managing IBS symptoms.

2. Start your morning with ginger tea or fresh lemon squeezed in hot water

These digestion-friendly, anti-inflammatory teas will help prevent inflammation and mitigate bloating. 

3. Avoid consuming:

-Carbonated beverages (club soda/ soft drinks/ beer/ sparkling wine) expand in the gut and will result in more bloating

-Caffeine is a laxative and can cause an increase in intestinal movement in flight.

-Dairy products, broccoli, beans, brussels sprouts, cucumbers, radishes, cabbage, peas, and salads. While these foods, in certain quantities, are acceptable on a low FODMAP diet, it is best to stay away from them before and during your flight.

4. Stay hydrated

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Drinking lots of water will help maintain regular bowel movements and avoid constipation.

5. Avoid chewing gum

Chewing gum often increases the amount of air swallowed and bloating. Chewers beware: It is important to note that many sugar-free gums contain sorbitol, a sugar alcohol and type of polyol, which is off limits for a low FODMAP diet. Sorbitol increases gut fermentation and produces an osmotic effect in the large intestines resulting in diuretic and laxative effects. 

6. Pack low FODMAP meals & snacks

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Avoid airport and airplane food - this is not the time to cheat! Epicured is not yet serving airlines, so in the interim, keep your gut happy and ensure you maintain a low FODMAP regime during this time by bringing a meal and some snacks with you. 

-Recommended Epicured Meals & Sides: Pad Thai, Grilled Chicken, Grilled Steak, Herbed Quinoa, Basmati Rice, Zaatar Chicken, Carrot Puree, Orzo Salad, Whipped Potatoes, Mashed Sweet Potato

-Recommended Epicured Snacks: Energy Bites, Trail Mix, Original Granola 

-Bring your own herbal tea (e.g: lemon or ginger). The teas served on the airplane are often black tea, which has caffeine and is high in FODMAPs.

7. Eat slowly

We all swallow air when we eat. By eating at a slower pace, you can avoid swallowing excessive amounts of air.

8. Take a walk in the cabin

If your flight is greater than two hours, make sure to walk down the aisles every two hours for the remainder of your flight. This will help with gas movement and alleviating bloating, as well as, increases blood circulation. 

Follow these 8 steps and feel confident and comfortable on your next flight! Bon voyage!

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 About The Author

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Renee Cherkezian, RN
Director of Food and Health Sciences

Food and medicine have always been Renee’s two great passions. As a teenager, in her Armenian-American household in northern New Jersey, she was side-by-side with her mother in their kitchen, figuring out the perfect blend of herbs for the tabbouleh or the perfect rub for the kebabs. But she decided that medicine would be her career and attended Georgetown University School of Nursing before eventually becoming an OR nurse manager at Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Naturally, amongst her friends and family, she was always serving as a defacto health expert and navigator. This is how Renee’s clinical and culinary passions came first truly came into alignment: A close friend was battling cancer. His oncologist recommended following the complex neutropenic diet, so Renee took over his kitchen. She invented recipes, she cooked entire weekends, and she made sure that he had everything he needed to get back to good health.

She continued to hone her culinary skills, working nights at David Burke Townhouse after shifts in the OR; she moved to Paris to study at the Ritz Escoffier. This, combined with her clinical experience, would become the foundation of Epicured--a company dedicated to creating delicious, healing food that helps people keep chronic disease in check and feel great.

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