Summer is in full throttle and from beach weekends to camping trips...researchers say 80 percent of us can’t wait to hit the road. But any change to our routine has a sneaky downside, tripling the risk of constipation, heartburn and other digestive woes. Here’s how to get relief fast, especially if you're on the road.
Can't “go”? Chew sugar-free gum.
Spanish researchers say 40 percent of us become constipated when our routine is disrupted — it’s so common, it’s been dubbed “traveler’s constipation.” The good news: University of Minnesota researchers say simply chewing a piece of gum containing sorbitol — like Trident and Orbit — for 10 minutes before bed improves regularity by morning, making it as effective as Rx laxatives.
Belly bloat? Relax in a rocking chair.
Women are twice as likely to suffer gas-triggered pain in the summer since weather fluxes disrupt the secretion of digestion-enhancing hormones. The Rx: sitting in a rocking chair. Researchers at the University of Texas say gentle rocking optimizes the production of digestion hormones and prompts muscles in the GI tract to contract rhythmically, speeding the gas along.
The Motion Sickness Rx: Planes, buses, cars...when they get bumpy, 33 percent of us get queasy! To nix motion sickness in 60 seconds, take slow, deep sniffs of a freshly cut orange or lemon — their essential oils calm the brain’s nausea center.
Stomach cramp? Picture calm.
When large meals cause intestinal cramps, British researchers say you can cut symptoms by as much as 82 percent in 10 minutes just by stretching out, closing your eyes and picturing your stomach pain being gently washed away like sand in the tide. Gastroenterologist Elsa Eriksson, MD, explains that relaxing and visualizing a positive outcome calms painful muscle spasms in the intestines
To Thwart Food Poisoning: Go ahead and enjoy four ounces of red wine daily! Researchers at the University of Missouri in Columbia say red wine's natural acids kill salmonella, E. coli, and other foodborne bacteria in 20 minutes — outperforming the bug-killing ingredient in Pepto-Bismol (bismuth salicylate).
Feeling the burn? Sip ice water.
When on-the-go eating causes heartburn flare, try downing a glass of ice water. In a Greek study, this simple remedy provided relief in 60 seconds. Gastroenterologist George Karamanolis, MD, explains ice water soothes irritated throat tissues and flushes acid out of the esophagus.
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