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5 Natural Ways to Relieve Digestive Issues

The number of us with stubborn digestive woes — including indigestion, heartburn and inflammatory bowel diseases — has shot up 33 percent in recent years, a new government report reveals. Luckily, there’s lots you can do to get relief — or, better yet, prevent the problems.

Take zinc carnosine for heartburn.

A daily dose of zinc carnosine — a supplement that combines the mineral
with two amino acids — strengthens the lining of the stomach and esophagus, so they’re less apt to be damaged by stomach acid, Japanese research shows.

Try this one from Now Foods: $16.10, Amazon.

Get your vitamin D.

Taking 3,000 IU of vitamin D daily helps prevent serious intestinal disorders (such as colitis and Crohn’s disease). It also lessens pain and other symptoms for 67 percent of women already suffering, suggests a study in the journal United European Gastroenterology.

And vitamin D reduces inflammation, which improves function of the entire digestive tract lining, explains study coauthor Tara Raftery, Ph.D. Bonus: Vitamin D increases absorption of magnesium, potassium, and
other healing minerals, cutting your risk of chronic muscle and joint pain 33 percent, Tufts researchers say.

Try this vitamin D from Garden of Life: $19.44, Amazon.

Try ACV for indigestion.

The hormonal changes of menopause disrupt digestive enzyme production,
causing almost half of us over age 50 to experience daily digestive upsets,
such as bloating, upper belly pressure, or queasiness. The quick fix: Sip a mix of 1 Tbs. unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (ACV) and 8 oz. water before each meal, advise University of Southern California researchers. The unpasteurized vinegar is brimming with natural acids that prompt the release of digestive enzymes and are themselves gentle digestive aids.

Bonus: ACV stimulates the stomach nerve that signals you to feel full sooner, helping you shed one pound weekly without dieting.

Deep breathe to combat IBS.

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) causes cramping, bloating, and diarrhea or constipation (or all!) for one in five of us. Now an analysis of 14 studies has found a way to reduce those flareups within six weeks: Spend just 10 minutes daily practicing a stress-busting strategy, such as deep breathing, yoga, or mediation. Creating calm reduces your production of cortisol, a stress hormone that disrupts digestive tract function, explain Vanderbilt University scientists.

Bonus: Less daily stress reduces your risk of air buildup in your tummy — and of embarrassing burping — 80 percent, the research shows.

Eat FOS-rich foods.

Try increasing your intake of fructooliogosaccharides (FOS), which are carbohydrates found in onions, tomatoes, and asparagus. French research suggests eating one cup of FOS-rich foods daily keeps bad intestinal bacteria in check, quelling gassiness for most folks in 10 days.

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