Being a member of the British Royal family is a pretty glamorous gig. Between the celebrity lifestyle, designer outfits, and state dinners, it seems like there’s not much to complain about. But constant travel — not to mention the risk of getting sick on those travels — can start to take a toll on even the most resilient person.
As the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle does more than her fair share of traveling. All that time abroad, however, requires one brilliant hack to help keep her healthy and in good spirits. she finally shared it with everyone.
Ever since linking up with Prince Harry in 2016, Meghan Markle has undeniably captured the world’s attention. While it’s easy to only remember her ties with royalty, Markle has done a great deal more than just getting married.
Markle grew up in Los Angeles before moving to Illinois to study at Northwestern University. But during her time in the Midwest, she always held onto dreams of one specific career.
After double majoring in theater and international relations, Meghan wanted to follow her father’s footsteps and get into show business. It was an interest she held onto since one formative childhood experience.
Thomas Markle Sr. worked as a television photography and lighting director and liked to bring his children to work with him. As a little girl, Meghan frequented the set of Married…With Children with her dad.
Out of college, Meghan initially struggled to land steady work. She supported herself with freelance calligraphy and made her first television appearance on General Hospital. But bigger things were in the cards.
Markle also spent some time modeling, even appearing as a “briefcase girl” on Deal or No Deal. Around the same time, she had small roles on episodes of CSI: New York, Century City, and Fringe.
After years of bit parts and guest appearances, Markle got her big break in 2011 when she joined the cast of Suits. With an estimated annual salary of roughly $450,000, she had made it as an actor.
Once she hit the big time on television, Markle also embarked on another professional venture. This one put her time at the Northwestern University School of Communication to good use.
In 2014, Meghan started The Tig, her own lifestyle website. As Markle’s following grew, her fans started flocking to the site in droves. They couldn’t get enough of her personality and unique perspective on life.
Markle used The Tig to share her own takes on health, beauty, and other topics. The site focused on self-love and positivity; Meghan liked to share little tips that could make your day-to-day life a bit better.
One of those tips focused on flying. Traveling by plane can easily be a drag for several reasons, but Markle honed in on one specific challenge: staying healthy while breathing recycled, germ-filled air.
Markle wanted to help her loyal fans travel healthily and comfortably, so she made a few recommendations. Most of them made sense, but one of them was a bit more unusual.
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She suggested cleaning your armrests, entertainment system, and tray table with antibacterial wipes and bringing a blanket or scarf aboard to stay warm. After that, however, the tips started getting wild.
Markle’s next tip was to take a high-strain probiotic before traveling; that would keep you safe from any iffy airline food and potentially contaminated ice cubes. There was one final suggestion, however.
Not only was this the most unconventional tip, but Markle didn’t even come up with it herself. She had gotten this idea from another celebrity, via an unidentified middle man.
“A dear friend of mine once told me that Leonardo DiCaprio gave her an excellent travel tip,” she wrote. But what did Leo recommend that frequent fliers do whenever they board a plane?
DiCaprio is apparently a fan of Neosporin, the popular antibacterial ointment. It’s commonly used to clean minor cuts and scrapes, but the Duchess likes to use it in a more unconventional way.
“Evidently, he said that to avoid getting sick on planes, he puts a little Neosporin on a cotton swab and coats the inside of his nostrils,” Markle wrote. But does it actually work?
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Neosporin is an antibiotic ointment, meaning it destroys microorganisms. It isn’t effective, however, at stopping viruses like the common cold from getting into your body. But applying it can still have one benefit.
As a petroleum-based product, Neosporin rehydrates your nasal passages. That will restore the moisture barrier, which, in turn, can prevent germs from entering your body. So should you add the ointment to your carry-on bag?
Applying antibiotics to your nasal passages isn’t a great idea, but you can keep them lubricated with coconut oil or a saline rinse. Either way, you can thank Markle and DiCaprio for the tip!
And while you might need to buy Neosporin, you definitely own some baking soda. It’s easy to store, practically odorless, and it’s probably the most versatile product in your pantry. But it also has an unexpected medical use.
Baking soda makes cookies taste good and removes grease stains from the bottom of your oven. It can cause explosive chemical reactions but is also totally safe to ingest. So how can one pantry product have so many diverse uses?
Baking Soda is an easier way of saying “sodium bicarbonate,” which means it’s a “stomach primer.” Basically, it preps your stomach for incoming food by triggering the production of acid. For someone with acid reflux or heartburn, this may sound unnecessarily painful…
But thanks to the power of baking soda, it can actually have the opposite effect. A teaspoon of baking soda mixed with a glass of water may not taste great, but it does wonders for your achy stomach by triggering acid only when you need it.
And now, thanks to funding from a grant provided by the National Institutes of Health, scientists at the Medical College of Georgia have found some of the first evidence that baking soda is far more than just a bicarbonate.
Preliminary evidence suggests that baking soda promotes bodily changes with therapeutic and anti-inflammatory effects on autoimmune conditions. If this sounds like some kind of mumbo-jumbo, then worry not: We’ll break down what really happens in the body once baking soda is introduced.
All the good stuff happens thanks to the spleen, one of the most important parts of your immune system. When you ingest a solution of baking soda, an important message is sent to the mesothelial cells of your spleen — we’ll revisit this in just a second.
Since your spleen acts as a blood filter, it’s prone to attack whenever it detects even the slightest abnormality in your blood. This may sound like a good thing — we want our bodies to react quickly to invaders, right? — but it can actually have the opposite effect.
No one wants their body to work harder than it needs to, especially when we’re all exhausted enough as it is! Baking soda basically tells your spleen to chill out — there’s likely no infection, and attacking something that may not exist just doesn’t make sense.
The mesothelial cells are important because they tell the immune system that it’s being invaded by sending out an army of macrophages, or immune cells. Macrophages rid the body of dead cell debris, but there’s one difference that separates some macrophages from others.
The difference is how some macrophages promote inflammation, which when needed, can be healing to your body. For example, if your body senses an incoming battle from some harmful bacteria, inflammation is your body’s way of defending the infected area.
Usually, internal inflammation is a good thing. It’s what helps heal everything from a scrape on your knee to a nasty bout of the flu. But when your body automatically signals for inflammation even when there’s no infection present, the effects can be painful.
Pain, redness, and swelling are just a few common symptoms of inflammatory diseases. These symptoms are chronic, meaning they’re ongoing. Asthma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn’s disease are chronic inflammatory illnesses people endure each day because of excessive inflammation.
Basically, when your body has excess inflammation, it’s attacking itself. Another term for this kind of chronic condition is an Autoimmune Disease. People with these conditions live every day with chronic pain, oftentimes without the proper medication to fully ease their symptoms.
This is where baking soda comes in handy. Remember how different macrophages have different functions? Some macrophages promote inflammation, as mentioned above, but others have a much different use… and scientists think this “different use” could be a medical game changer.
The second kind of macrophages actually reduce inflammation. This is huge, because scientists just discovered that a single teaspoon of Arm & Hammer could change an inflammatory cell population to an inflammation reduced cell population in a manner of minutes.
And the good news doesn’t end there. The same researchers found that baking soda promotes an uptick in the number of regulatory T-cells in your body. You need T-cells so that, in the case of a perceived threat, your body doesn’t attack its own tissues.
Even at this early stage of the research process, scientists are hopeful that more T-cells could help people with autoimmune diseases obtain some relief without temporary solutions like acupuncture and medication. But hope doesn’t mean that any of these results are in stone…
The scientists involved with the study caution people with autoimmune diseases from incorporating large amounts of baking soda into their diet, as some may be tempted to do. The results of the study, they tentatively claim, are merely “promising.”
“More work needs to be done,” said Toni Baker, communications director at the Medical College of Georgia. So far, the study included 12 healthy participants who dissolved two grams of baking soda into 250ml bottles of drinking water for two weeks.
But just because scientists urge caution doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hope for a happier, less painful future if you suffer from an inflammatory or autoimmune disease. This study is proof that somewhere out there is another solution…maybe even in your grandmother’s pantry.
While experts dig into the benefits of baking soda, nutritionists have recorded tried-and-true methods for battling inflammation just as effectively. Shelly Malone — mother to a newborn baby — recently dug into a lot of the research.
See, the 32-year-old registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and former competitive beach volleyball player was aghast to find out that her constant pain wasn’t going away: her joints were stiff and swollen. She was flat-out miserable.
Shelly was showing signs of of rheumatoid arthritis. “To have something so debilitating was really hard to handle,” she said. “I could barely get out of bed.” As an RDN, she knew the culprit that caused this.
She came to the conclusion that her symptoms were directly related to chronic, systemic inflammation. Basically, in reaction to a certain diet or lifestyle trigger, her immune system was raiding poor, innocent cells in her body.
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Chronic, systemic inflammation is associated with a slew of medical issues not including Shelly’s, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, acne, digestive distress, and even depression. Rather than sit in sorrow and weep of her decaying joints, Shelly had a plan.
Refusing to bank on drugs to manage her arthritis, Shelley instead took the holistic route. As a nutrition expert, she believed that food is one of the most dominant triggers of the condition.
The “progressive-minded” dietitian’s battle with chronic illness inspired her to document her modern journey and evidence-based findings in her book, appropriately entitled Inflamed. SELF magazine even hailed it one of “7 Fascinating and Illuminating Health Books That Will Totally Open Your Eyes About Your Health.”
While there are an abundance of anti-inflammatory foods to choose from, like tomatoes, turmeric, and green, leafy vegetables, simply adding these to your present diet isn’t the answer. Shelley knew it’s about ridding your diet of trigger-foods and implementing a proper ratio to your aliment regime.
Rest assured, Shelly said the godly nourishment formula that you should regularly be applying to your plate is actually quite simple. And no, you don’t have to suffer from an inflammation-related condition to get the life-altering benefits of said formula.
While this may seem obvious, fruits and vegetables are dire. “If you eyeball your plate, half of it should be vegetables and fruits,” Shelly said. Their essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants aid in the reduction of bodily inflammation. Though it’s not easy being green, Shelly suggests you try it.
Though a giant, juicy steak hanging off the edges of a dish — its delicious weight being near catastrophic to the dainty china — seems like a meal made in meat-lover heaven, Shelly urges that protein be considered a side rather than a main course.
The last quarter of each meal should consist of grains, minus gluten. Though the stance on gluten consumption is a controversial topic in the food world, Shelly elucidated that gluten is a large, hard-to-digest protein, one that can lead to “leaky gut,” which is just as unpleasant as its name.
Similarly, Shelly disclosed that up to 50% of your diet can consist of fats, as long as you’re consuming the “right kind.” So, what does this mean? Well, she recommends you put down the butter. Not all fats are created equal.
While foods such as avocados, nuts, and coconut oil all contain the good stuff, Shelly also explained that we have to watch out for our intake ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats. “It’s that skewed ratio that causes the inflammation issue, not total fat in your diet,” she said.
We should completely rid our diets of processed, omega-6-infested vegetable oils (like canola, corn, soy, and peanut oils), along with margarines and animal fats from corn-fed animals. And although avocados, nuts, and olive oil contain good fat, enjoy them in moderation, as they too sneakily contain omega-6 fat.
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Shelly dismally pointed out that the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fats in the Western diet used to be about one-to-one. Now, in our post-Industrial population, it’s approximately an alarming 15-to-one. It’s all about balance.
As well as the dreaded gluten, corn, and soy, Shelly advises people to cut out dairy and sugar to hinder inflammation. It’s kind of a given that sugar is, well, harmful, but the evils of dairy are not quite as widely recognized.
See, dairy contains another hard-to-digest protein: casein. “At the very least, avoid pasteurized cow’s milk — and if you are going to drink milk, I would go for the raw, full-fat kind. That’s where you get the active enzymes, live active cultures, soluble vitamins, and the good fats,” Shelly urged.
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Even supposing that chronic inflammation doesn’t plague your life, Shelly pushes people to give up inflammation-triggering foods, as she believes that we often go about life not even realizing how truly shoddy and sluggish we feel.
“There are so many things that we accept as being a normal part of life—like anxiety, skin issues, or constantly feeling tired—and we get used to them. But when you do take these things out, you’re surprised by how good you feel,” she sweetly explained.
The dietitian’s chronic pain nearly vanished within weeks of her self-motivated adjustments to her lifestyle and eating habits. We’re often oblivious to the negative ways with which we go about surviving each day, and Shelly encourages people to grab life by the horns… and by the vegetables.