Oxford Uni Prof Creates Perfect In-Flight Meal to Calm Nerves, Settle Stomach and Even Fight Jet Lag

by Sarah Knapton and Science Editor, The Telegraph, August 23, 2017

Eating rice can help nervous fliers feel less stressed, according to an Oxford professor.

A new in-flight meal which boosts the immune system, calms the nerves, settles the stomach and even fights jet lag is being trialled by the airline Monarch.

The new menu was created by Professor Charles Spence, of Oxford University, who has helped Heston Blumenthal create many of is gastronomic masterpieces.

Includes immunity boosting echinacea and liquorice ice-cream, relaxing green tea and lavender cakes, bloat-busting herbal tea and energising, umami-rich snack bars.

The ingredients were specially selected to enhance happiness, relaxation and wellbeing. 

Prior to take off, immunity boosting echinacea and liquorice ice cream reduces the symptoms of coughs and colds. Research shows that four in 10 Brits get ill when travelling or going on holiday. It is also black to help take their mind off the long flight ahead. 

Prof Spence said: “The black colour is certainly counter-intuitive – most passengers think of white or pale colours with the ice cream. 

"This may also help to distracts passengers from their chaotic journey whilst also surprising them and playing into childlike nostalgia.”

The green tea and lavender mochi rice cakes relax travellers at take-off. Lavender has been proven to enhance relaxation and sleep quality in all ages and the high polyphenol content of green tea means it’s packed with antioxidants and can fight jet lag.

Approximately 30 minutes into the flight, travellers are served a specially created blend of herbal tea containing chamomile, fennel seed and kelp, proven to combat bloating and aid digestion, which affects 18 per cent of travellers. 

The tea will be accompanied by a crunchy, seaweed biscuit, delivering sweet yet salty umami tastes.

Prof Spence added: “Reduced air pressure, dry cabin air, and engine noise all inhibit taste perception, but umami is the only one of the basic tastes that manages to cut through these barriers, which is why so many passengers order a tomato juice or Bloody Mary on-board. 

"Using umami tastes alongside our other flavour combinations will be comforting and satisfying for passengers.”

Finally, just before disembarkation, travellers are given a caramelised nut bar coated in umami rich mushroom and tomato powder to re-energise and awaken the senses as passengers arrive at their destination.

The new in-flight menu on a select number of flights from Luton to Naples, Gibraltar and Malaga from the beginning of this week.

Nils Christy, Chief Operating Officer at  Monarch  said: “We know how precious time on holiday is, so are delighted to be able to listen to our customers’ needs and trial the Monarch ‘Mood Food’ box this summer enabling more people to relax, feel good and start enjoying their holiday from the moment they get to the gate.” 

Richard Wood, UK Sales and Marketing Director at Alpha LSG, Monarch’s inflight catering provider, added: “We’re always looking at ways to innovate and improve the service we provide, so it will be interesting to see how Monarch’s Mood Food Box is received. 

"Airline food has progressed significantly over the last few years so there’s no reason why, in the future, airline menus can combine flavour with more scientific combinations of ingredients making passengers happier, healthier and more relaxed.”


This article was written by Sarah Knapton and Science Editor from The Telegraph and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to [email protected].

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