Q. I have been suffering from GERD for a number of years now. I took Zantac for it.
But two weeks ago I went to a dinner party. When we were all finished with eating, even coffee, the hostess passed around a dish of raw almonds. I asked her what these were for and she said, “to prevent heartburn.”

She is a pharmacist, so I asked her how it works. She didn’t really know, but said that four or five almonds after a meal would help. I never before heard ANYTHING about almonds helping heartburn, but I thought I’d give it a try.

Almonds after every meal seem to be working for me. I haven’t taken Zantac for the past two weeks and I haven’t even needed much antacid.

Do you know why this works? Has anyone else tried it? In the meantime, I will continue eating almonds after every meal.

A. This remedy is new to us, but it sounds safe. Another reader says that a bit of apple after a meal can prevent heartburn: “I have had this problem for years and recently stopped taking omeprazole so I could try to deal with this ailment in a better way. I noticed one day that food that usually gave me heartburn hadn’t and realized I had eaten an apple that day. Another time after I already had some heartburn, I ate three or four bites of apple and that stopped it.”

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  1. S North
    Reply

    Grated apple left to brown cures hangovers and nausea and yes the almonds really work. This week I have had no acid reflux and the only thing I have eaten that I don’t normally eat regularly is 20 almonds throughout the day as they stave off hunger. I have tried everything including prescribed medicine but I know now it must be the almonds that are stopping my acid reflux from bothering me.

  2. RPN
    Reply

    I found out about almonds helping heartburn after my 2nd child was born. I said if I had another baby I would definitely test out the theory. Three years later, I put it to the test as I craved Mexican food throughout my entire third pregnancy and never had heartburn. I suffered from heartburn in previous pregnancies. Years, later I contacted The California Almond Board for information about why they work. Researchers said almonds were an ancient Middle Eastern remedy for peptic ulcers!

  3. Jan
    Reply

    I used to have an uncomfortable feeling (acid?) in my esophagus after about two hours of good sleep. That and my worries about all I needed to do would keep me awake for hours. Then, two years ago, an experienced friend in medical research recommended taking a tablespoon of plain yogurt at bedtime and not drinking anything (but rinsing my mouth out to prevent acids working on my teeth). This has worked well for me ever since though I still wake up several times a week with worrisome thoughts about what I need to do. I still need to work on that.
    I am a fit 82 year old female, do yoga daily, walk, work in the garden and am active in communities activities. I also bake my own bread and granola from whole grain organic ingredients, eat loads of organic (if available) vegetables, fruits and legumes and small amounts (2-4 oz) of meats, chicken and fish. My biggest problem is lack of sleep and tiredness after eating meals. Is this age or something I can improve upon?

  4. Xcentric
    Reply

    You guys are awesome. Sitting here eating almonds as I type this. I’d been feeling queasy and coughing a lot, and it turns out that it was all due to acid reflux irritating my esophagus and even my sinuses. It also turns out that most of it was due to the fact that I was eating dinner very late, and then taking my night-time meds with a full glass of water. As Warren (above) said, it was diluting the stomach acid, which caused more acid to be produced, and allowed the acid to splash higher into my esophagus. Duh. Who woulda thunk. Thanks!

  5. Fuzzy
    Reply

    J.T.N.: I was told that frequent acid reflux can cause a condition called Barrett’s Esophagus. Don’t know if your heartburn involves acid refluxing. :)

  6. J.T.N.
    Reply

    Raw peanuts stops it for me, I guess they have the same properties as cashews. Does frequent heart-burn cause any major medical condition? Please help :-/

  7. Chris
    Reply

    If you surf the web you will find information saying almonds are good for heartburn and some saying it is bad. Lol I tried it and it made my heartburn worse. Also spicy food. Milk. The key is to make notes of what food is affecting your body and then eliminate. I was unsure what I have, diverticulum, lactose intolerant. The signs are it is acid reflux. I am also looking at other issues too. I do drink a lot of water after a meal. Of course it is important to see a doctor but it is always beneficial to study your symptoms and do your own research. Health education can prevent unnecessary doctor bills.

  8. Warren
    Reply

    Heartburn tip that works for me, is don’t drink any water after you eat. Drink a whole glass of water on an empty stomach then have your meal 5 to 10mins after. That simple
    Water after meal = Heartburn
    Water before meal = Little or no heartburn.
    Water flushes stomach acids up the esophagus. It also dilutes the function of the acid causing the stomach to produce more acid to get the job done.
    The stomach will produce just enough acid to clear it’s contents. Allow the acid to do it’s job.
    If you think about it, we are the only species that drink when we eat. A lion will eat, have a sleep then go to the water hole for a drink. Same with Apes, Dogs, any animal they eat and drink separately.
    If you still have pain, take very small sips of Soya milk till pain goes, NO GULPING!!! Just little sips. You can use milk but if you cannot tolerate lactose soya milks best.
    Soya milk is also Alkali after it’s metabolized, where Milk becomes acidic after it’s metabolized.
    Also look into the Alkali diet, green drinks, raw cabbage juice especially.

  9. Katie
    Reply

    The funny things is, I never really had a heartburn problem. My father has since I can remember. I started eating raw almonds recently and I have been getting heartburn. I actually was looking through google to see if almonds contribute to it, and I found this.

  10. Dr Cystal
    Reply

    Have a new patient with severe heartburn (I find taking a person off their allergens usually clears it up permanently).
    Saw her yesterday and she had a strong aggravation during our visit. I watched her stop it almost immediately with 2 almonds. She says it works every time.

  11. R Sadler
    Reply

    I listened to Peoples Pharmacy on Sat. Feb. 27 on Wisc. Public Radio. A formula for a home remedy for acid reflux was given but it went to fast for me to write down. Formula, if I remember correctly, included apple juice, grape juice, cider vinegar, cinnamon and sugar all boiled and papaya, fresh or dried, soaked in the cooled mixture.
    I tried unsuccessfully to listen to the podcast, but no luck. Dates for the show on the website do not correlate with when they are aired on WPR.
    Nothing seems to work anymore (Protonix Zantac, et al.) Tried them all.
    Anybody have the formula??
    Thanks!
    Dick
    PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE: HERE IS THE RECIPE:
    2 quarts water
    2/3 c fresh ginger root, peeled and sliced
    3 cinnamon sticks
    Bring this to a boil, then turn the heat down and simmer 30 min.
    Strain and add 1/2 c honey and 1/2 fresh persimmon , washed and sliced. You can substitute 1/2 c dried persimmon if fresh is not available,.
    Refrigerate this tea. It keeps up to a week.
    The dose is small, a shotglass (about 2 oz) before each meal.
    THE SHOW YOU HEARD MAY HAVE BEEN A FUNDRAISER.

  12. dc
    Reply

    I have had heartburn all day, pepcid complete did nothing, so I looked up cures on the internet, and almonds was one of them. I ate about 9 or 10 and to my surprise I have heartburn free for a few hours now!

  13. RLC
    Reply

    I have been drinking aloe vera juice, which was recommended by both of my dentists, and it really works great. I have tried all of the proton pump inhibitors (Nexium, etc.) but had reactions to all of them. I was taking Zantac but after a while it didn’t work as well. After doing some research once the dentist recommended it, I found that Aloe vera juice is a commonly recommended natural remedy for acid reflux. It can be found at Whole Foods. I only drink a few ounces in the morning and a few ounces at night. It doesn’t work great when I have alcohol though. I have to take the Zantac then.

  14. Jan
    Reply

    I too found peanut butter and bread before bed contributed to GERD about 3 hours later.
    However when I wake up in the middle of the night with GERD, I find eating one cracker slowly without water works just as well or better than any antacid.

  15. MF
    Reply

    Almonds give me heartburn : (

  16. garyn
    Reply

    I have been taking omeprazole due to acid reflux for 15 years. Before that it was heartburn requiring me to carry rolaids or tums around all the time. I have heard omeprazole causes problems with extended use. My doctor tells me to “just quit taking it”. She doesn’t realize how much misery I go through after about 24 hours without it. Any suggestions?

  17. egk
    Reply

    Turmeric also works very well.

  18. kaf
    Reply

    My sense is that different foods might help people differently. I recently discovered that if I avoid wheat bread with peanut butter (aka pb and j sandwiches), or crackers that I avoid a lot of heartburn problems. I’ve never seen this listed on any website. And I don’t seem to get heartburn from the listed foods, for example, tomatoes and sauce never seem to be a problem. I’m still on Protonix, but only at 20mg/day rather than full dose, and I don’t have any problems when I forget to take it in the morning (I had Barrett’s Esophogus, so my doc was insistent that I stay on it for another year, at least). But I too will try almonds after a meal. Thanks for the tip!

  19. STEVE W
    Reply

    Must the almonds be raw? Must nothing more be eaten before going to sleep?

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