December 12, 2017
Passenger plane fly up over take-off runway
Wellness Tip

Flying? Go for Savory Foods

by Berkeley Wellness  

If you’re flying, skip the sweets and go for savory foods, such as meat, fish, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, and Parmesan cheese. Such foods, characterized as “umami” (the “fifth taste”), will taste better in a loud environment than in a quieter one, according to a study in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.

Researchers from Cornell University recruited 48 people to sample different flavor solutions while they listened to either recorded airplane cabin noise (of 80 to 85 decibels) or low-level ambient room noise. No differences were seen for salty, bitter, or sour tastes between the two groups, but sweet tastes were rated as less sweet in the loud condition, while umami was significantly enhanced—which may help explain the popularity of tomato juice on airplanes.

“Instead of being merely immune to the effects of loud noise, auditory conditions in air travel may actually serve to enhance this already appetitive and sought-after [umami] quality,” the researchers said.

Also see How to Exercise on a Plane.