From coast to coast, red-eye flights to long haul international jaunts, airline travel can be exhausting and a drag. And for more and more Americans, it’s all in a day’s work. After all, the United States is the largest business travel market in the world and it’s only growing. But what does all this time in the air do to our bodies and how can we mitigate it?
Many of my clients take planes as often as they do trains or taxis. And as soon as the wheels touch down they’re expected to be on and ready to deliver groundbreaking insights, presentations and performances. But that is a major challenge for a few reasons. When you’re flying at altitudes of 30,000+, the cabin pressure is low and that pressure does a few things to your body. First, your blood receives less oxygen, which can cause fatigue, foggy brain and more. Additionally, cabins are kept at around 10-15% humidity which is why many of us leave flights feeling severely dehydrated. So what’s a road warrior to do? Well, a few things.
Get Some O2: Oxygen makes up 65% of the human body - and oxygen is responsible for 90% of the body's energy!
- I recommend bringing chlorophyll drops in-flight to support oxygenation of the blood while flying. Chlorophyll is extremely detoxifying and also fights oxidative stress, which we get a lot of on commercial flights.
- Drink a green juice before flying and after you land. The chlorophyll in a fresh green juice is a great way to get oxygen into your blood stream fast. Make sure your juice contains parsley and cilantro as they’re both uber-alkalizing.
- Try some liquid oxygen drops: Stabilized liquid oxygen can be a great additional to your inflight beverage as it’s quickly absorbed via the digestive process and delivered to the blood stream. Many international flights sell the drops right on the plane.
Hydrate Right: When flying, it’s important to add an addition 6-8 ounces of water for every hour flown to compensate for the dehydrating effects of flying
- Bring a refillable water bottle: On a recent flight from London to NYC, I found that my airplane was equipped with filtered water stations. Since I’m always concerned I’ll never get enough water via the inflight service, I usually bring a few bottles of my own—which can get heavy. Traveling with these camping inspired bottles that are lightweight, foldable and BPA-free is a great way to ensure you stay hydrated without having to carry it all with you.
- Avoid alcohol and other dehydrating beverages: One vodka soda at 35,000 feet might seem completely harmless, but that’s not exactly true. When alcohol is present in the blood, it interferes with the bloods absorption of oxygen. Now, couple that with the fact that higher altitudes have less oxygen, the effect now becomes magnified, so you’ll get even less oxygen to your brain. Additionally, you want to steer clear of other caffeinated beverages such as coffee or colas, as caffeine is also a natural diuretic.
Eat the Right Foods: At high altitudes, our palettes change and it’s much harder to taste subtleties. As a result, airline food is often heavily salted and sweetened for your taste buds to perceive it as edible.
- Stay away from sugar: Airport lounges are filled with candy of all varieties. But I urge you to steer clear of it if you’re looking to stay sharp. Yes, they taste great as we’re cruising across the Atlantic, but they will wreak havoc on our blood sugar, which is a recipe for extreme foggy brain, moodiness and lethargy.
- Opt for protein-rich foods: Pack your carry-on full of clean protein bars, unsalted nuts and seeds and roasted chickpeas. They’ll ensure your blood sugar stays balanced and you stay satiated.
We’d love to hear your ideas! How do you beat the post-flight fog?