From the Magazine

4 Natural Ways to Cure Heartburn and Other Gastrointestinal Problems

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Picnics, barbecues, trips to the beach… end-of-summer fun involves lots of yummy food! And for 60 percent of us, those warm-weather treats sometimes trigger belly woes. Thankfully, experts say these simple remedies can help you feel better fast.

Bellyache? Take a sunshine break.

Just 15 minutes of sunshine daily helps prevent stomachaches for two in three women studied, Cornell University researchers say, and it can cut a pain flare by as much as 60 percent the first time you try it! Michael Holick, MD, explains that skin exposed to UV light produces vitamin D-3, a nutrient that tamps down intestinal inflammation and stimulates digestion-enhancing hormones.

Heartburn flare? Sip lemon water.

Next time you’re feeling the burn, try mixing 1 Tbsp. of freshly squeezed lemon juice into 12 oz. of cold water. British researchers say this refresher can halt a heartburn flare more quickly than antacids, banishing the burn in one minute! How? Water dilutes stomach acid and flushes it back down into your tummy, and lemon juice’s plant enzymes soothe an irritated throat lining.

Indigestion? Try peppermint oil.

You’ll find peppermint oil capsules in pharmacies, and taking 200 mg. to 300 mg. can quiet indigestion in 30 minutes, Asian studies show. Even better: Researchers at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, say taking peppermint oil daily eases chronic digestive troubles like irritable bowel syndrome for 74 percent of folks, making it as effective as prescription meds. Thanks goes to peppermint’s menthol, a potent muscle relaxant and digestion-booster.

All backed up? Pull a few weeds.

As little as 20 minutes of gardening helps 80 percent of women move their bowels and will cut your risk of constipation in half if you do it daily, say UCLA researchers. Gastroenterologist Carolina Ciacci, MD, explains that gentle movement stimulates the intestinal muscle contractions that keep you regular. 

This story originally appeared in our print magazine.

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