Q. Years ago my doctor put me on Prevacid for acid reflux. Later when my company switched insurance, I ended up on Zantac 150. Now that I live in Ecuador, I’m taking ranitidina, which is supposed to be equivalent to Zantac.
I read with interest that eating three almonds before or after a meal could help with heartburn. My question is, do you see any problem with the almonds being chocolate covered?
A. We’re afraid so. Although they are delicious, chocolate-covered almonds are unlikely to be helpful. That’s because chocolate may relax the lower esophageal sphincter, the ring of muscle that separates the stomach from the esophagus. Heartburn happens when this muscle relaxes and allows acid to splash back up into the swallowing tube.
Without the chocolate coating, though, almonds have been winning praise: “I wanted to tell you that almonds really work to prevent heartburn. I had heartburn after dinner no matter what I ate. When I saw your column about almonds I bought a big container of roasted almonds from Costco. I have been eating a few after dinner and I have not had heartburn since.”