Many who suffer from heartburn turn to OTC proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) like Prilosec, Nexium and Prevacid to keep flares in check. But a recent study out of Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles suggests PPIs increase the risk of getting sick from COVID-19 by blocking production of stomach acid, which kills coronaviruses in the gut. Fortunately, there are natural cures that ease the burn as effectively as meds 24/7!
First thing: Enjoy honey
Eating one tablespoon of raw (unpasteurized) honey daily — ideally, on an empty stomach when you first wake up — can cut your risk of heartburn by as much as 52 percent, Australian researchers say. Raw honey brims with tissue-healing enzymes, plus it helps neutralize any stomach acid that may have washed up into your throat while you were lying down overnight.
Before eating: Breathe in
Taking deep belly breaths for two minutes before meals can cut risk of heartburn by 63 percent, say researchers at Eastern Virginia Medical School. Explains gastroenterologist Chris Khor, M.D., pre-meal calm activates the branch of nerves that speeds digestion and stomach emptying.
After dinner: Sip baking soda
Drinking four ounces of water mixed with ½ teaspoon of baking soda can halt a heartburn flare in 20 minutes, for pennies per glass! Stanford University researchers say baking soda is a natural buffering agent, so it quickly neutralizes acids that wash up into your esophagus after meals.
At bedtime: Try melatonin
Taking three milligrams of melatonin at bedtime erases heartburn for 83 percent of women in two months. Study co-author Amany Mousa, M.D., says melatonin strengthens the valve that keeps stomach acid from washing up. Note: Check with a doctor before supplementing.
Hurray for spuds!
Potatoes are our favorite veggie, and enjoying one daily could cut your risk of heartburn by 42 percent in 10 days. That’s the word from British researchers, who say these tasty gems are packed with digestion-boosting B complex vitamins.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.