As much as we love summer ice cream and BBQ, it causes almost half of us to battle reflux now more than at any other time of year. Thankfully, these natural remedies can quickly ease the burn and take care of its uncomfortable side effects.
Heartburn and insomnia? Take melatonin.
Nighttime reflux that disrupts your sleep is double trouble! But Egyptian researchers say taking 3 mg. of melatonin nightly prevents heartburn flares as effectively as prescription PPIs. Gastroenterologist Amany Mousa, MD, explains that melatonin strengthens the valve that stops stomach acid from traveling up into the esophagus. And taking melatonin 30 minutes before bed will cut your risk of insomnia in half.
Heartburn and gassy? Say pre-meal prayers.
Taking a two-minute pause before each meal will cut your risk of heartburn and burping by as much as 65 percent, say researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Pre-meal prayers calm the enteric nervous system, a branch of nerves that encourage digestive enzyme release and improve intestinal movement, preventing heartburn and gas by speeding digestion.
Heartburn and sore throat? Try a soothing nut oil.
Siberian pine nut oil repairs throat tissue damage caused by gastric acid, says women’s health expert Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD. Thanks goes to a rare pine nut compound (pinolenic acid), which tamps down pain-triggering inflammation and kick-starts healing. Gittleman recommends taking 1 tsp. 30 minutes before meals. One to try: Siberian Selections Extra Virgin Pine Nut Oil ($35.95, Walmart).
Heartburn and belly cramps? Eat a potato.
One small baked potato can shut down heartburn in just 10 minutes. Starchy spuds absorb stomach acid before it can wash up into the esophagus, and the skins brim with potassium and vitamin B-6, which prevent cramping.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine.
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