Q. I have suffered with heartburn for years. The most recent prescription medicine made my reflux way worse.

Then I read that almonds helped someone else with a similar problem. I tried it and it works for me.

Sometimes three almonds will do the job–raw, blanched, roasted or roasted with salt. They work if I eat them before a meal or after or when the heartburn starts. I carry snack size packs of almonds in my purse just in case.

A friend of mine who has a chemistry degree feels it may be the amino acids in the almonds that help heal the stomach lining and also help cut down the acid production.

A. We have no explanation for the relief some people get from heartburn when they eat a handful of almonds. Perhaps your chemist friend is right. In any event, this is a simple solution for an uncomfortable condition.

Other readers have had similar results. Sherry wrote:

“I had Rx meds for my heartburn/acid reflux and took the pill in am. When we went out to eat at some places I got sick afterwards, so I always carried almonds in my purse. I ate them on the way home.

“I was taking quite a few pain pills for a bad knee. Since its replacement, I no longer take all those pills so my problem went away. “

For more suggestions on how to handle heartburn without drugs, you may want to consult our Guide to Digestive Disorders.

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  1. Michael

    Apparently, I suffered from silent GERD for many years, decades probably. Purely by accident, I was diagnosed with Barrett’s Esophagus after endoscopy. Was prescribed “lifetime PPI” treatment. My original symptoms resolved after about 6 months of PPIs but then I experienced new strange sensations in my throat. It felt swollen but was not actually painful. I also did not feel in robust health even though I was athletic. I also kept getting severe muscle pains after exercise that would not resolve for many days. I have a medical research background so I looked into this.

    PPIs reduce stomach acid but do not reduce bile reflux or eliminate bile from the stomach if you also suffer from bile reflux. Damage from bile reflux is silent and the best research tells us it’s bile that causes esophageal cancer, not acid. Bile deregulates the expression of normal squamous cells when the esophagus heals from acid damage and bile also promotes the expression of abnormal columnar cells which are susceptible to mutation and development of cancer. Bile is normally found in the small intestine, just past the stomach and columnar cells are normally found in the intestines and are normally protected by thick mucous, so it’s not surprising that bile promotes the growth of columnar cells if bile salts are also present in the acid reflux. Abnormal expression of columnar cells in the esophagus are no longer protected by mucous. Taking PPIs masks the silent progression to BE and cancer. The other problem is that PPIs prevents proper digestion of foods so I wasn’t getting enough protein replacement, which caused the pains and inflammation I felt in my muscles. Inflammation causes cancer because inflammation is chronic tissue damage and tissue damage makes you vulnerable to cell mutations that can cause cancer if the inflammation is happening to particularly vulnerable tissue. If my skeletal muscles weren’t healing, then you can image my esophageal tissues were also not healing. I confirmed this by taking complete amino acid replacement supplements and my muscle pains resolved within a few hours.

    Prescribing lifetime PPI intake is wrong and is 15 years behind the evidence from research. MDs will not tell you this but medical researchers, PhDs, will if you speak to them as a knowledgeable person. PPIs should only be used short term and a nutritionist and a rheumatologist should probably also advise on precautions to take while you are on any significant amount of PPI prescription.

    Other things that work for me are Slippery Elm and DGL (deglycyrrhizinated licorice root extract), both of which promote mucous production. They’re cheap to buy and not unpleasant to chew on and work pretty fast, but they are not the full answer. The full answer is exercise to lose weight, completely change how, when, how much and what you eat.

    Good luck and good health to you…

  2. luis
    San Antonio, TX

    I discover the antacid benefits of almonds by accident. After 4 years taking 2 Tums after every meal and before going to bed, one day I started eating almonds before every meal just calm my hunger to prevent myself from eating too much, Right after i started doing that my heartburn problem went away, even if I overeat. I’ll continue with my almond intake for the rest of my life, it really works.

  3. Jenny

    I found this page looking for an answer to why almonds suddenly cause me extreme stomach pain. I am hoping it’s not an allergy…

    Obviously, it’s the cause of my pain, not a fix.

  4. PB

    I am jazzed that almonds completely take care of my awful heartburn/indigestion (I don’t know the difference). I used to take between 6 and 10 antacid tablets a day. Now I take 24 almonds at most, per day. Really, 5 or 6 almonds after meals is all I require.

  5. rodney

    Raw almonds worked for me to some extent. Tried almond milk but did not work.

  6. Sandy

    My husband has GERD and the dr put him on two medications, which have helped but he still has symptoms, he is going to try the salted roasted almonds and almond milk. Hope it helps!

  7. kk wilson

    hi so one day I got up feeling very light headed and fainty still went for my usual walk and when I got back I began to vomit. I went to the doctor and I was told I has gastroentheritis as well as acid reflux. I was put on omeprozole for three month which ends in two weeks however I did not eat on time on Saturday and I overslept on Sunday now yesterday my chest began to burn and I began to get the same bad feelings as before I tried eating almonds and taking tums as well as taking zantac but nothing seems to help. I am worried even more isn’t the pills supposed to be doing something by now?

  8. Darlene

    I was having acid reflux pretty bad. I received an e-mail about eating an apple before bed. I tried this several months ago. It works like a miracle.
    I have not had to take any antacids since I began the apple regime. It is such a relief and I have told everyone about it. Hope it helps you. You can eat any kind of apple.

  9. stellabrown

    I also am chronically bothered by acid reflux. Almonds are wonderful to cut down on the Tums, but I also found the joy of Almond Milk. Unsweetened vanilla is my favorite because it has only thirty calories and works like a charm. Small sips when acid starts will calm any acid . I find it is miraculous relief.

  10. DGuidry

    My daughter had horrible heartburn when she was pregnant with her son. She didn’t want to use anything pharmaceutical, so I recommended almonds (which I had read about on this site). She would eat between 3 and six almonds which worked like a charm. She has recommended this to several of her friends; unfortunately none of them will try it.

  11. CRL

    Almond Milk before drinking cocktails can also help – many people find acid reflux is compounded when having even one cocktail but want to be social at a party. Drink a big glass of almond milk before leaving house. If you think you’ll need a booster, you can still carry the snack bag of almonds in your pocket or purse for insurance. The almond milk also helps with lining the stomach against the alcohol absorbing.

  12. DS

    I was interested in Sherry’s comment about her bad knee pain resolving itself when she stopped taking her Rx for acid reflux. I had not made the connection, but yes, my knees did used to hurt going down steps. I never took a medicine for the knee pain, but when I come to think of it, my knees stopped hurting about the time I stopped Prevacid.
    I was so concerned with the rebound heartburn that knee concerns were pushed to the background! That is just one MORE reason not to take an acid blocker. Despite what my gastroenterologist told me, we DO need stomach acid to digest our food PROPERLY so that we get all the vitamins and minerals from it. God doesn’t make mistakes, or if you are not religious, people with stomach acid (all of us) didn’t just arrive on the planet. Stomach acid there for a reason and suppressing it causes a lot of problems.

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