You may have heard the news that the FDA recently pulled the heartburn medication Zantac. But with 64 percent of us dealing with stress-induced heartburn flare-ups, we need something to ease discomfort. To the rescue: natural heartburn cures that boost mood too!
Beat the blues with oatmeal.
Your morning bowl of steel-cut oatmeal or dose of Metamucil has set you on course for a heartburn-free day — and a better mood! A recent study found that 60 percent of folks who added 12.5 grams of fiber to their diet eliminated heartburn symptoms entirely — results on par with meds like Zantac, which was withdrawn due to contamination concerns. “If you boost fiber intake, you keep waste moving through your intestines,” explains gastroenterologist Niket Sonpal, M.D., and the quicker food moves along, the less chance it has of causing heartburn. Plus, multiple studies suggest fiber feeds healthy bacteria in the gut, boosting production of the feel-good hormone serotonin.
Nix indigestion with licorice.
New research suggests noshing on licorice chews right after you eat will quash your symptoms in minutes. One study found that 96 percent of folks who treated their indigestion with deglycyrrhizinated (DGL) licorice daily for a month eliminated their pain altogether! The reason it’s so effective? “Licorice interacts with the stomach lining, creating a protective barrier,” explains Dr. Sonpal. “It works quickly, coating your esophagus and stomach as it travels down.” Licorice also curbs irritability by supporting your body’s adrenal “stress-handler” glands. Important note: Choose DGL licorice chews or capsules, like Nature’s Life DGL licorice tablets ($15.23, Amazon) to avoid compounds found in regular licorice that can raise blood pressure.
Sleep soundly with melatonin.
When it comes to natural heartburn cures, getting plenty of good rest never hurts! “Taking melatonin for nighttime reflux accomplishes two things: It reduces symptoms and allows you to sleep,” says Dr. Sonpal. Not only does the hormone shield delicate throat tissues from irritants, as levels of melatonin in the blood rise, cortisol levels drop off, setting you up for deeper slumber. Take 5 mg. of immediate-release melatonin 30 to 60 minutes before bed, since slow-release tablets won’t quash heartburn. One to try: Nature Made Melatonin ($20.48, Amazon).
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.