For many weary travelers, the best way to make air travel bearable is a quick stop at the airport bar. But now London’s Gatwick Airport is hoping it can improve flyers' moods in a somewhat less intoxicating manner—by offering up meals specifically designed to boost the hormones that make people happier.
The project is a partnership between Gatwick and nutritionist Jo Travers, who believes that what people eat before a flight can help enhance their airport experience. “There are certain foods that will help the ‘happy’ chemicals in your brain to keep flowing,” Travers told CNN. “Two key players are the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, along with amino acids tryptophan and theanine, which can contribute to the creation of serotonin, known to most as ‘happy hormones.’ Low levels of these chemicals can cause fatigue in addition to lowering existing levels of serotonin. Similarly, a deficiency of Omega 3, can lead to fatigue and mood swings.”
The airport will be trying out the new meal plan for the next month, including items like a salmon citrus salad at one restaurant that’s said to improve brain function, and a falafel and fattoush salad at another intended to keep blood sugar levels steady. Experts say it’s all part of a growing trend of educating and encouraging travelers to make healthy choices that will lead to a better flying experience, whether it be eating, exercising or staying away from sleeping pills.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with offering naturally mood-enhancing meals at the airport. Though I’d probably prefer if they focused on that other natural mood-enhancer: having flights depart on time.