Foods that prevent motion sickness

Zubin Dsouza

Right now, I am traipsing through the delightful natural forests of Mussourie which lies at the foothills of the Himalayan range.

The weather here is beyond extraordinary.

It has been raining constantly which has turned the lush vegetation into many hues of vibrant green. I pass by houses where wisps of smoke snake lazily out of the chimneys. The chimneys hold testimony to the few wimps still left in the area who cannot even bear the faintest hint of cold weather.

The scenery unfolds like a masterpiece painted on canvas if you can only get your eyes to see past the mist which slaps your face with a new kind of freshness.

I believe that I have reached heaven.

At 7,500 feet above sea level, this is probably the closest that I am ever going to get to paradise whilst walking on terra firma.

And like all matters related to heaven; I had to go through hell to reach here.

Travelling from sea level to the height that Mussourie is requires driving through winding roads that have more twists and turns than a Christopher Nolan movie. The sudden braking of the car with the constant need for quick acceleration and an equally quick twist of the steering wheel makes it extremely difficult for me to reach the top with my breakfast and lunch still confined to the safety of my belly.

Motion sickness has always been an issue for me. I cannot travel a mile without dreading that my food is soon going to make an unintended spectacular splash that would dazzle my travelling companions with the sheer variety and display.

I tried almost everything – antihistamines, anti-nausea tablets that were given to women in the first trimester of their pregnancies; almost everything on the checklist had been ticked but to no avail.

Motion sickness occurs when the brain gets conflicting reports from the feet, inner ear and eyes. Some parts of the body send a message to the brain saying that we are stationary while other parts insist that we are moving. It happens more often now because people have their eyes glued to their smartphones and not the road ahead.

It happens often when you are travelling in the backseat of a car, the further reaches of a bus, on rough seas in a smaller boat or when flying during turbulent weather.

Though the situations cannot be altered in most cases, what can change is what you put in your body to fight it.

The most important rule is that unlike what you have always been taught, it is better to fight motion induced nausea with food in the stomach than without. An empty stomach in fact tends to worsen the situation and makes you feel like reaching for the barf bag.

Proteins are great at making your stomach feel at peace with itself. Think something light like a salad topped with grilled white meat or paneer. Avoid the greasy stuff because they bring about physiological changes in your body that contribute to nausea. This means that the crisps and chips and all the other oil laden deep-fried snacks that you carried to avoid the buy-on-board charges just do not work anymore.

Ginger is considered the most powerful ingredient to combat travel induced nausea. You can chew thin slices of the root or steep it into a wonderful fragrant tea.

Travel sickness thrives on two situations – dehydration and a mouthful of saliva.

To fight the dehydration, it is suggested that you avoid coffee and alcohol both of which cause dehydration apart from affecting the sensory organs.

Fighting the mouthful of saliva is easier and infinitely more enjoyable in comparison. Olives are a great snack to munch on. The tannins contained in the fruit inhibit the formation of saliva which in turn, in a crazy way, ensures that the olives stay within you till the end of the trip!

Plain cheese crackers that folks normally avoid because of their unexciting bland taste are in fact a wonder find at this point. Munching on a couple of crackers at the onset of the gut churning symptoms help to settle the belly and defuse any potential situations.

Besides that, cheese crackers are also great at ensuring that there is no saliva formation in the mouth.

Lemons and other citric fruits like oranges also help counter balance the effects of your intestinal stress because they are packed with nutrients that can settle an upset stomach.

Honestly, I leave this slice of heaven and return in a couple of days. Although most folks peg my reluctance to leave on the natural beauty that is found here; it is more likely that I am petrified of puking situation upon my return journey.

I guess that with a couple of proteins in my stomach and olives and ginger in my travel bag I may reach sea level without any interruption.

Categories: Zest
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