With the increasing number of people being required to take regular long haul flights as part of their business there has been an increased awareness if the dangers of the potentially fatal condition called Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT). Deep vein thrombosis occurs when blood clots form in the veins as a result of stagnation of the blood from long periods of inactivity.
Most of the emphasis for prevention of Deep Vein Thrombosis has been focusing on staying as active as you can while on a long haul flight. About five years ago, while reading an article from the Journal of the American College of Cardiology I came across some information that made sense but it also confused me.
It was a study that showed how a fruit and vegetable supplement (Juice Plus) helps to maintain good circulation. (Yeah, fruits and vegetables helping circulation…that makes sense.) But the background to this study is what startled me. They measured the dramatic impact of one particular activity that badly interferes with our circulation. In fact it showed that this particular activity causes your blood vessels to constrict by 50% (i.e. close up to half their original size). And the study showed that this constriction of your blood vessels stayed that way for 4 to 6 hours!
Now can you imagine going on a long haul flight with that going on inside of you? Knowing what this culprit is would be really important for you. Wouldn’t it?
Well here is where I became really confused…
Not only do they not let you know what can cause your blood vessels to constrict by half for 4 to 6 hours but also they actually encourage you to do this activity at airports! In fact, while in Honolulu, waiting for my flight to Australia, I found it really difficult to avoid it.
Isn’t it ludicrous! You have all probably unknowingly participated in this activity in an airport before a long haul flight.
So what is this dreaded circulation-robbing culprit? …
It is eating high-fat junk food.
We all knew that eating fatty junk food would eventually cause our arteries to clog up some time in the future but little do we realize the immediate impact of eating a burger and fries… A 50% constriction of blood vessels for four to six hours!
So eating greasy fast food not only places you at greater risk for conditions like deep vein thrombosis but think about the effects that this reduced circulation has on your health and productivity.
I recently heard one fast food outlet advertising that you didn’t have to worry about their fries because they are “cooked in cholesterol free oil”
So particularly if you are going on a long haul flight have a meal that can assist your circulation such as some fish and salad and for your health’s sake, stay away from the fast food restaurants that litter the airport terminals.