5 Ways A Toxicologist Always Avoids Germs When She Travels
As a molecular toxicologist, Rhea Mehta, Ph.D., studies the toxins in our environment and how they affect our health. She's a wealth of knowledge on how we can all proactively cleanse and protect bodies from harm, and we're thrilled to welcome her to the mindbodygreen Collective of wellness experts.
With summer quickly approaching (to which we say, hallelujah), we quizzed Mehta on her favorite ways to avoid germs and toxins while traveling. If you're hopping on a plane, train, or automobile this Memorial Day Weekend, give 'em a try and feel your body say a spirited thank you:
1. Disinfect your seat.
Getting grossed out just thinking about how many people used that seat before you? Mehta carries around baby wipes to clean the seats and screens she comes in contact with on public transportation. Considering that one 2016 study1 found that as many as one-third of plane travelers reported feeling off after a long voyage, this one is especially important if you're flying. We suggest going with a wipe that's formulated without phosphates and phthalates, such as Babyganics' fragrance-free option.
2. Don't forget your immune-boosters.
Do your travels involve funky sleep schedules and indulgent food? Absolutely zero shame in that, but it might mean your body's natural immunity is taking a hit. Mehta recommends supplementing with Host Defense mushrooms supplement, vitamin C, zinc, B vitamins, and chlorella—all of which have immune-boosting properties.
3. Have a backup plan.
Mehta has a few secret weapons she'll reach for at the first signs of sickness on the road. If she's feeling weak and irritable, she opts for oregano oil—a broad-spectrum antibacterial oil that comes in capsule form and has been shown to help stave off bacterial infection, GI irritation, parasites, and bacteria overgrowth. And for when stomach irritation is looming, detoxifying activated charcoal is a good supplement to have on hand.
4. Reach for nature's "relaxation mineral."
Magnesium supplements can work wonders to relieve vacation constipation (hey, it happens) as well as calm stress and counteract the effects of jet lag. In other words, it's got all your travel woes covered.
5. Don't forget about the essentials.
Quality sleep, movement, and hydration are basically the pillars on which good health sits. To make sure they don't fall by the wayside, Mehta keeps her water interesting with ginger and lemon tea bags, prioritizes sleep with melatonin or valerian root tea, and keeps her body moving by always, always, always taking the stairs when she's visiting a new place.
Emma Loewe is the Sustainability and Health Director at mindbodygreen and the author of Return to Nature: The New Science of How Natural Landscapes Restore Us. She is also the co-author of The Spirit Almanac: A Modern Guide To Ancient Self Care, which she wrote alongside Lindsay Kellner.
Emma received her B.A. in Environmental Science & Policy with a specialty in environmental communications from Duke University. In addition to penning over 1,000 mbg articles on topics from the water crisis in California to the rise of urban beekeeping, her work has appeared on Grist, Bloomberg News, Bustle, and Forbes. She's spoken about the intersection of self-care and sustainability on podcasts and live events alongside environmental thought leaders like Marci Zaroff, Gay Browne, and Summer Rayne Oakes.