Bloating, queasiness, and heartburn shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the beautiful summer weather. Try six natural remedies to soothe any digestive troubles fast!
Halts Heartburn: Deep Breaths
Heartburn risk triples in the summer, thanks to diet changes and rushed mealtimes, because there’s so much going on! The next time you feel trouble brewing, try this: Inhale slowly and deeply for five seconds, then exhale slowly for five, and continue until your symptoms ease. Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital say calm, measured breathing activates the diaphragm, the dome-shaped muscle that stops food and stomach acid from creeping up into your esophagus, cutting heartburn symptoms by up to 78 percent in just 10 minutes.
Ends Gassiness: A soothing stretch
Farm fresh produce keeps you healthy and energized, but the uptick in plant sugars and fiber can double the risk of gassiness. Thankfully, University of Miami researchers have an easy fix — the “wind-relieving” yoga pose. It calms pain nerves and improves gastric movement to release gas buildup, plus cut future flares by 70 percent if you do it daily. To do: Lie on your back, inhale and pull your right knee to your chest as you exhale, lifting your chin to your right knee; hold for one minute, taking deep breaths. Repeat with left leg, then both legs at the same time.
Tames Bloat: Picturing Peace
Grilled sausages, macaroni salad, ice cream… As yummy as all that is, we’ve all felt those postmeal moments when our bellies swell. The good news: Doctors at New Jersey’s Morristown Medical Center say you can cut symptoms by 82 percent in minutes just by stretching out and picturing your abdominal distress being gently washed away. Explains Joseph Brasco, MD, co-author of Restoring Your Digestive Health (Buy on Amazon, $15), this visualization trick stimulates nerves that improve gastric motility, speed stomach emptying, and encourage digestive enzyme release.
Quells Queasiness: A Simple Sniff
If too much time in the sun or a bumpy car trip causes that queasy feeling, reach for an alcohol wipe. Research in Annals of Emergency Medicine reveals that the antiseptic’s sharp, distinctive smell calms the brain’s nausea center, nixing nausea for 75 percent of us— fast! Simply hold an alcohol wipe two inches from your nose, breathe deeply for one minute, then rest for one minute; repeat as necessary.
Nixes Diarrhea: Cacao nibs
For folks prone to loose bowels, the physiological stress of adjusting to rising temperatures and humidity can double risk of diarrhea, UCLA scientists say. The tasty cure? Cacao nibs! Research in The Journal of Nutrition suggests that eating two tablespoons of nibs (cacao beans that have been separated from their husks and broken into pieces) can help you bounce back in half the time. Credit cacao’s polyphenols, which coat and soothe the large intestine to heighten fluid absorption.
Cures Constipation: Aloe shots
When mild dehydration, long road trips, or changes in your daily routine cause that “backed up” feeling, sipping two tablespoons of aloe vera juice at bedtime can soothe digestive troubles by the morning. That’s the word from University of Sydney scientists, who say aloe contains a gentle, natural laxative (anthraquinone) that improves regularity for 80 percent of women studied, making it more effective than OTC meds. Tip: Mix aloe juice into a fruit smoothie or any chilled juice to mask its bitterness.
This story originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.
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