It doesn't matter whether you're hopping on a plane for a few hours or for an overnight flight, it seems that the end result is always the same: You leave the plane bloated, with swollen ankles and shoes that do not fit properly. It often takes at least a day to recover from the flight. However, if you make a few changes to your travel routine -- before and during the flight -- you can arrive at your destination well rested and well hydrated.
Wear loose, lightweight clothing and comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Save your form-fitting outfits, high heels and dress shoes for special occasions. It's important to have freedom of movement and comfort while spending hours seated in a tight space.
Drink plenty of non-carbonated water. Avoid alcoholic drinks, coffee and carbonated beverages. To avoid swallowing excess air, drink slowly and do not use a straw. If you're anxious about flying, start drinking peppermint tea a few days before your flight. Peppermint relaxes the muscles that allow painful gas to pass and promotes better digestion, resulting in less bloating.
Skip the gum and hard candy. When you chew gum or suck on hard candy, you swallow large amounts of air. Also, gum and candies contain sugar alcohols that can cause bloating, gas and diarrhea.
Avoid eating salty foods, such as pretzels, chips and salted nuts. These foods promote water retention and increase the likelihood that you will look and feel puffy. Start reducing your salt intake a couple of days before your flight.
Avoid eating foods that have given you problems in the past. For example, if you're lactose-intolerant, do not eat ice cream or other dairy products before you board the plane. Do not order entrees that contain foods known to cause gas, such as beans, broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts.
Stretch and move around as much as possible. Before boarding the plane, walk around the airport. During the flight, get up and stretch once every hour to get your blood flowing and to relieve any tension.