While air travel is highly beneficial in getting you from place to place as quickly as possible, it comes with certain pitfalls.
One well-known detriment is the risk you run of catching a cold, flu or other bug, as you are packed into a small, pressurized cabin with many other people and minimal ventilation. If one passenger is sick, the chances are high that the illness will be transmitted throughout the plane.
There is much you can do to protect yourself, however. Being mindful of what you touch on the plane (ie. other people’s seats, lavatory door handles, etc.) and keeping a travel-size bottle of antiseptic witch hazel on hand are both smart choices.
Another wise choice you can make, especially on longer flights where you will have prolonged exposure to all the pathogens circulating in the cabin, is to choose the right beverage. When the beverage cart comes around, instead of going for a sugar-laden soda, the best choice you can make is the tomato juice.
For starters, tomato juice is high in vitamin C, which is known to help boost the immune system, giving you optimal protection against invading bacteria or viruses. Tomatoes also have a diverse and extensive vitamin, mineral and antioxidant profile.
They are rich in beta-carotene, a powerful anti-inflammatory antioxidant, as well as lycopene, an antioxidant known to help lower oxidative stress and prevent free radical damage.
All of these antioxidants in combination can give you the nutritional boost you need to stay as healthy as possible, even in the face of airplane germs. On top of that, tomatoes have a high water content, making this beverage a hydrating, nourishing option.
A recent study published in the journal Flavour found that people tend to choose tomato juice more often on an airplane than on the ground – for reasons beyond its nutritional benefits.
The researchers state that loud noises may enhance our taste receptors by up to 30 percent. The increased altitude and the pressurization of the cabin may also contribute.
According to study author Charles Spence, “a key feature of tomatoes is that they are rich in umami … perhaps all those travelers who order a bloody Mary after the seatbelt sign has been turned off have figured out intuitively what scientists are only now slowly coming to recognize empirically.” Umami is a satisfying, savory flavor that many other foods lack.
So, next time you’re in flight, ask for the tomato juice – your health, and your palate, may just thank you.
-The Alternative Daily