These natural remedies will soothe your stomach so you can enjoy summer fun!
Banishes Bloat: A Stretch + Daydream
At last we can load our plates with super-fresh fruit and veggies! But even though it’s healthy, the sudden diet shift to fresh produce triggers uncomfortable bloat for at least one in three of us. Thankfully, UCLA researchers say stretching for 10 minutes after each meal and visualizing your stomach and intestines comfortably digesting what you’ve eaten can cut your symptoms by as much as 82 percent! Explains gastroenterologist Elsa Eriksson, MD: Relaxing and visualizing a positive outcome prompts the release of digestion-enhancing acids and enzymes, plus it calms painful muscle spasms in your intestines.
Eases Indigestion: Swinging
You’re twice as likely to battle indigestion in the summer since heat and humidity disrupt the enteric nervous system — a branch of nerves that release digestion-enhancing hormones (acetylcholine and dopamine). But studies suggest spending 10 minutes swaying in a hammock or a porch swing brings speedy relief — and can cut the risk of future bellyaches by 65 percent if you do it twice daily. The reason: The comforting, repetitive motion of rocking stimulates the enteric nervous system to release acetylcholine and dopamine.
Ends Gassiness: A Simple Yoga Stretch
Summer foods like barbecued sausages and ice cream double the risk of gassiness. But the aptly named yoga move wind-relieving pose calms pain nerves and improves gastric movement to release gas buildup and cut future flares by 70 percent if done daily, say University of Miami researchers.
To do: Lie on your back, inhale, and pull your right knee toward your chest as you exhale. Lift your chest off the floor; reach your chin toward your knee. Hold for 1 minute, taking relaxed breaths. Repeat with your left knee, then both legs at the same time.
Halts Heartburn: This Zinc
Hot weather stalls stomach emptying, leading to backwash in the esophagus. The good news: Taking 150 mg. of zinc carnosine daily banishes the burn for up to 82 percent of women studied. Georges Halpern, MD, author of Ulcer Free!: Nature’s Safe & Effective Remedy for Ulcers ($13.73, Amazon), says this mixture of zinc and two amino acids heals and strengthens the lining of the stomach and esophagus, so they’re three times less likely to be damaged by stomach acid.
Cures Constipation: A Bathroom Trick
Perspiration triples dehydration risk, and your body responds by drawing liquids from your intestines, leading to constipation for 40 percent of us every summer. Sipping water can prevent bowel troubles, but when constipation strikes, putting a stool in front of your toilet can help. Ohio State University scientists say elevating legs helps intestinal muscles work properly to reduce straining and speed bowel movements for 90 percent of people studied.
Calms Cramping: A Backyard Stroll
Summer is fun, but it can also be sticky and hectic. And if stress hormone levels rise, digestive tract function is disrupted, doubling the risk of painful cramps. The cure? Strolling barefoot in your yard for 5 minutes could cut your discomfort by 60 percent. British scientists say this DIY reflexology trick stimulates nerves in the soles of your feet that cut the release of digestion-disrupting stress hormones up to 30 percent.
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This article originally appeared in our print magazine.