Why You Should Skip The Salad Before Your Flight

The only thing worse than being cramped in a small economy plane seat for hours on end is having stomach cramps at the same time. In general, flying can cause gastrointestinal distress due to the pressure variance that occurs in the cabin as elevation increases. While there are some foods you should never eat on a plane, eating certain foods before a long travel day, especially those that are easy to digest like a banana, trail mix, or lean meats, can help mitigate the amount of trapped gas you experience.

Conversely, if you're boarding a plane, you should avoid some healthy, plant-based foods often found in salad simply due to their high carbohydrate content. This can create more gas in your gut as the microbes work to break down all the fiber. While fiber is essential for healthy digestion, it can cause bloating, so if you're thinking about consuming a large bowl of leafy greens right before take-off, proceed with caution.

While a salad is usually a nutrient-dense dish, it's often filled with raw vegetables that are tough for your body to break down, especially if you don't eat raw veggies often. Lettuce alone can give your gut a workout; combining it with other cruciferous vegetables like cabbage or broccoli, along with typical salad items like carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes, can cause bloating within minutes and leave you miserable on your flight.

Cramps and bloating can make a flight unbearable

Beans are another common salad addition, as they provide a healthy dose of plant-based protein. However, garbanzo or black beans, while great salad toppers, are best avoided before a flight. Legumes are high in lectins, which are notoriously gas-inducing and can lead to a bloated belly or cramps if that air remains trapped.

One of the best ways to aid digestion is to move your body after eating, according to theĀ National Library of Medicine. Sitting in a cramped position not only hinders digestion but can increase bloating. If you enjoy a salad in the airport immediately before boarding your flight, you'll likely have very few opportunities to stretch your legs. Besides the occasional walk to the bathroom, it's unlikely that you'll want to stroll up and down the plane's aisles to relieve trapped gas.

A Reddit post from 2022 that described tummy troubles after eating a salad led many people to agree about the triggering ingredients, with one user saying, "Raw food is actually very hard to digest, I personally stay off salads and my veggies are steamed." Another commenter said, "Cucumbers give me all sorts of issues." While you can learnĀ why salad upsets your stomach and train your gut to handle more fiber and harder-to-digest vegetables, a plane ride is likely not the time to test your luck.