Thursday, 10 June 2010

Air Travel, Swollen Feet and Bad Food: New Evidence

On a recent visit to Asia I managed to acquire the feet and ankles of an old lady. Not by making some sinister purchase, you understand, but as a result of water retention caused by the plane cabin pressure.

In the comments for the blog post I wrote when I returned, someone with medical knowledge offered an explanation for something I already suspected: that eating bad food and drinking alcohol made the condition worse. As a reminder, here are the photos from the Asia trip:

During the Asia trip

3 days after Asia trip, after detoxing

Today, I am coming to the end of another business trip, this time to Boston. Earlier in the week, when I arrived after an 8-hour transatlantic flight and 90-minute connecting flight, I took this photo of my feet:

Immediately after the transatlantic and connecting flights

No swelling at all. The flight had been almost as long as the ones I had been taking in Asia, yet my feet were fine. The difference? This time I had one coffee, lots of water and no food.

So for this n=1 study, the evidence supports the hypothesis that eating and drinking crap makes flight-induced swollen feet worse.


biochemsita said...

Have you thought about trying compression socks when flying? They're big in the athlete world... but would provide the same benefit to you during long flights

Just a thought

Methuselah said...

thanks biochemsita - my friend has suggested this before, and he swears by it. I hesitate to buy any, however, since right now the swelling is a significant disincentive to bad dietary behaviour when flying!

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