You know how celebrities step off of a long flight looking completely flawless, somehow freshly showered, and, well, not like a zombie? My post-plane attire is usually an all-black sweatsuit, dark circles to match, and a blank, dead gaze. I can deal with looking like the Walking Dead in an airport, but what pains me the most (physically and emotionally) is the amount of bloat I experience both in-flight and off. I feel like a helium balloon that doesn’t actually deflate until my trip is over and I land back home. The reason this happens? Physics. “Gas in the intestines will expand about 30 percent with a cabin altitude of 7,000 feet,” Peter Hackett, M.D. tells Condé Nast Traveler, and as air pressure decreases, the air in your stomach increases. Flying also leads to constipation because you’re thrown out of your usual routine: You’re not eating regularly (and likely not the foods you would usually eat), your sleeping schedule is out of whack, and you may be jet-lagged. All of this gravely affects your digestion, so combined with the excess gas, you probably feel like you’re going to pop.
So who better to give expert advice on how to de-bloat before you even hit the luggage carousel than a well-traveled celebrity, or better yet, a royal? Meghan Markle, who, let’s not forget, had a lifestyle blog full of winning pieces of advice, shared her one-two punch for keeping her digestive system in check during each humanitarian trip. (The site has since gone dark, presumably considering her soon-to-be Duchess duties.) The trick: Take a high-strain probiotic and chase it with water “like you’re dying of thirst.” Markle recommends Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics, which have over 760 5-star reviews on Amazon. She writes that drinking plenty of water, combined with the probiotic, will “keep your gut health in check and honestly stave off jet lag if you’re globetrotting on your travails.”
Bifidobacterium, the bacteria found in Dr. Ohhira’s formula, is the only probiotic strain that studies show relieves GI symptoms like bloating, according to a Northwestern University review. Sita Chokhavatia, MD, a gastroenterologist at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City recommends trying a two-week course of probiotics with this strain to see if it works, but it’s best to check in with your doctor first before starting any kind of supplement.