The Reason Why Airplanes Make You Gassy and How to Prevent It

PRImageFactory/iStock via Getty Images Plus
PRImageFactory/iStock via Getty Images Plus

Travelers who deboard airplanes may feel relieved to be out of a cramped cabin and away from the bad in-flight movie. But sometimes there’s still a bit of physical discomfort as some passengers report feeling bloated or having to pass gas after a flight. Here’s the reason why.

Post-flight flatulence, which is sometimes playfully described as HAFE, or High-Altitude Flatus Expulsion, is triggered by simple physics. When we’re on board airplanes, the air pressure decreases as altitude increases. Because we have air in the bowel—and more of it depending on the gases produced by foods we eat or air we swallow—the lowered pressure means those gases expand, creating a need to release them via the reliable method of farting.

Going from low to high altitudes quickly may also prevent carbon dioxide from dissolving in the bloodstream and causing it to diffuse in the bowel, leading to increased gastrointestinal pressure. (This was verified in a 2013 study in which Australian scientists drove subjects up a mountain resort to an altitude of about 5900 feet. Farts nearly doubled compared to flatulence experienced prior to the ascent and were present even 11 hours following the trip. Another example of science working for everyone.)

As for why gas seems to feel a bit more uncomfortable after getting off a flight, you can thank cramped cabins. Being seated for too long can trap air in the bowel. By the time you’re off the plane, you might feel a bit overstuffed.

If post-flight flatulence is an issue, it’s best to avoid gas-causing foods like broccoli and beans as well as carbonated beverages. Some physicians even recommend avoiding foods that fall under the FODMAP, or Fermentable Oligo-, Di, Mono-saccharides And Polyols, list. That means milk, yogurt, certain vegetables, and artificial sweeteners.

The most important tip? Get up and walk. In addition to keeping gas from getting trapped, you’ll avoid complications from sitting too long, like deep vein thrombosis, or DVT, a blood clot that forms in the legs and can lead to pulmonary embolisms.

[h/t MSN]

The ChopBox Smart Cutting Board Has a Food Scale, Timer, and Knife Sharper Built Right Into It


When it comes to furnishing your kitchen with all of the appliances necessary to cook night in and night out, you’ll probably find yourself running out of counter space in a hurry. The ChopBox, which is available on Indiegogo and dubs itself “The World’s First Smart Cutting Board,” looks to fix that by cramming a bunch of kitchen necessities right into one cutting board.

In addition to giving you a knife-resistant bamboo surface to slice and dice on, the ChopBox features a built-in digital scale that weighs up to 6.6 pounds of food, a nine-hour kitchen timer, and two knife sharpeners. It also sports a groove on its surface to catch any liquid runoff that may be produced by the food and has a second pull-out cutting board that doubles as a serving tray.

There’s a 254nm UVC light featured on the board, which the company says “is guaranteed to kill 99.99% of germs and bacteria" after a minute of exposure. If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to cleanliness, the ChopBox is completely waterproof (but not dishwasher-safe) so you can wash and scrub to your heart’s content without worry. 

According to the company, a single one-hour charge will give you 30 days of battery life, and can be recharged through a Micro USB port.

The ChopBox reached its $10,000 crowdfunding goal just 10 minutes after launching its campaign, but you can still contribute at different tiers. Once it’s officially released, the ChopBox will retail for $200, but you can get one for $100 if you pledge now. You can purchase the ChopBox on Indiegogo here.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

How to Watch SpaceX’s Historic Astronaut Launch Live

NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken make their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken make their way to the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket with the Crew Dragon spacecraft on launch pad 39A at the Kennedy Space Center on May 30, 2020 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

After scrubbing its original launch on May 27 due to bad weather, SpaceX will attempt to make history yet again today (May 30) when it launches its first crewed spacecraft from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 3:22 p.m. EDT. Powered by a Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will transport NASA astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken to the International Space Station, marking the company's first-ever crewed mission and the first crewed launch from the U.S. since 2011. If you want to watch the momentous event from home, there are plenty of ways to stream it live online.

Both SpaceX and NASA will be hosting livestreams of the May 30 launch. NASA's webcast kicks off at 11 a.m. EDT today with live looks at the Crew Dragon and Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center. The feed will continue streaming until the afternoon of Sunday, May 31, with the spacecraft set to dock at the International Space Station at 10:29 a.m. EDT. You can catch the coverage on NASA's website, its social media channels (including YouTube), or on the NASA TV channel through cable or satellite. SpaceX's stream will be broadcast on the company's YouTube channel. (You can watch the video below).

Several television networks will be covering the event (check your local listings), and ABC News Live will partner with National Geographic to air "Launch America: Mission to Space Live" at 3 p.m. EDT.

The launch has been scheduled down to the minute, but SpaceX still has time to change that depending on the weather. Wednesday's launch was canceled less than 17 minutes before liftoff, and SpaceX founder Elon Musk has already tweeted that there's a 50 percent chance that weather could prove problematic once again. If today's launch doesn't happen according to plan, there is another window set aside for a third attempt tomorrow, Sunday, May 31, at 3 p.m. EDT, with CNN reporting that the odds of cooperative weather being slightly higher—about 60 percent—for tomorrow.

This story has been updated.