There’s nothing quite like that first sip of a drink when you settle down on a flight to your next holiday destination. But choosing which one to opt for is a challenging task. We know how drying airplanes can be, so drinking lots of water is paramount, but how does that drying atmosphere alter your experience of other beverages? Below, we chat with food scientists and nutritionists to uncover what actually happens to your taste buds on a plane—and which drinks taste the best at 38,000 feet.
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Cabin pressure and low humidity, according to nutritionist Thivi Maruthappu, make our taste buds less sensitive—your glass of bubbly becomes, therefore, less flavorful.
Plane food has a reputation for being particularly bland, and while some airlines do have a tendency to serve up trays of flavorless meals, the taste of the food itself might have more to do with your own body. Dr. Thivi Maruthappu, nutritionist and author of SkinFood, tells us that all of the external factors involved with flying can impact how we experience food and drink. “Cabin pressure and a low humidity environment influence our taste buds, making them less sensitive and as a consequence, food and drink are less flavorful,” she says.
Nutritionist and food writer Joy Skipper agrees. “Flying can have a noticeable effect on our taste buds due to the low humidity, which can drop as low as 10-20%. This dry environment can impact the mucous membranes in our mouths and noses, reducing our ability to taste and smell. The lower air pressure at high altitudes can also affect taste perception—sweet and salty tastes less prominent, whilst bitter, sour and spicy flavors are unaffected,” she tells us.
“Altitude changes can significantly affect oxygen levels in the body, leading to a decrease in oxygen supply during flights,” wellness expert Marie Reynolds explains. “Normally, when grounded, our red blood cells absorb roughly 27% of the oxygen from the air, which is then distributed throughout the body to support the functioning of our organs. Consequently, a decrease in oxygen can significantly affect the rest of the body when considering how the organs interact with tongue and taste sensations.”
Naturally, everyone has different tastes and preferences when it comes to drink. “It varies for each individual, similar to asking what clothing colour is universally suitable for everyone during a flight!” says Marie. However, as flying has such a universal dampening impact on our taste buds, certain flavor profiles have the potential to taste stronger on the palette. And remember that the
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When people think about beers in New York City, most people think of the buzzy craft breweries of Brooklyn and yes, they are excellent but one of the best places to drink in NYC is in lower Manhattan, where excellent beer bars are mere blocks from each other and you can enjoy yourself with a semi-relaxed NYC style of quiet that the East and West Village, The Bowery and Alphabet City neighborhoods afford. Here are some of my favorite places in drink in Lower Manhattan.
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