The Real Reason To Avoid Eating Salty Food At The Airport

You've made it to the airport with time to spare — and chances are, you're using your extra time at the gate to grab a quick snack before boarding. However, you might want to think twice before reaching for that bag of chips or slice of pizza. Why? Though delicious, these foods contain high salt contents that may result in some physical discomfort once you reach cruising altitude.

According to HuffPost, high-sodium foods can dehydrate the body — and flying can exacerbate these symptoms, resulting in headaches, constipation, or fatigue. "It's super common for dehydration to set in when flying, thanks to the lack of humidity and dry air in the cabin," explained registered dietician Tracy Lockwood Beckerman to the publication. "That's why it's not the smartest to have a sodium-laden meal the day before or morning of your flight."

Foods high in sodium can also contribute to bloating, which already tends to be an issue when flying. "In general, because of pressure shifts, some people retain water during a flight, so something overly processed or too high in sodium might exacerbate this issue," added registered dietician Vanessa Rissetto, also speaking to HuffPost.

What should you eat at the airport instead?

While you should probably steer clear of salty foods, several alternatives can help create a better flying experience — or, at the very least, not make it worse. According to Health, fresh fruits and vegetables are always a great bet, giving you a boost of fiber and hydration prior to takeoff. Options commonly available in airport terminals might include salads, apples, bananas, or containers of pre-cut fruit. The Healthy also recommends eating a high-protein snack, such as a pairing of beef jerky and unsalted nuts, to keep you full and energized for hours. As WebMD reported, other satisfying high-protein options typically available at airports include snack-size Greek yogurts, individual servings of cheese, and hard-boiled eggs.

Regardless of what you eat, there is one thing you should always consume while waiting to board your flight: water. As Health reported, maximizing your water intake before flying can help combat the dehydrating, bloating effects of air travel.