The People's Perspective on Medicine

For This Reader, Almonds Help Heartburn More Than Medicine Does

Q. I read about using almonds for heartburn, and I’ve found it works great, better than any over-the-counter medicine I’ve ever tried. (I am leery of the prescription meds due to food allergies and medication sensitivities.)

I have also tried almond milk and almond butter, and both worked just as well. I’ve started keeping a jar of almond butter in my bathroom, for middle-of-the-night heartburn.

A. We have heard from many readers that as few as two almonds can prevent or stop heartburn. (Some take a small handful.) A few readers have also experimented with almond milk and found it beneficial. You are the only one to report keeping almond butter handy for nighttime reflux. Use a small spoon, so you don’t choke. (We have heard from people reporting tragic consequences when a friend or neighbor swallowed a spoonful of peanut butter to battle hiccups and ended up choking on it.)

We include many other home remedies for heartburn in our inexpensive Guide to Digestive Disorders. The Guide also discusses the pros and cons of prescription medications for GERD. Since heartburn is a clear symptom, you can be confident in judging whether or not your remedy is helping.

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    About the Author
    Terry Graedon, PhD, is a medical anthropologist and co-host of The People’s Pharmacy radio show, co-author of The People’s Pharmacy syndicated newspaper columns and numerous books, and co-founder of The People’s Pharmacy website. Terry taught in the Duke University School of Nursing and was an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology. She is a Fellow of the Society of Applied Anthropology. Terry is one of the country's leading authorities on the science behind folk remedies. .
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    I had used Titralac (antacid) for years with wonderful, speedy results. Now I find that the maker, 3M, no longer manufactures this product. It was available in Australia — is it still available anywhere? Both my sons were also purchasers.

    This benefit from almonds may be related to the fact that they are one of the highest alkaline-content foods. Western diets are highly acidic (thus the heartburn). Eating high-alkaline foods balances your PH. Diseases don’t like alkaline environments. Alkaline / acid food lists are easy to find on the web.

    Sally, Research on the net as I read years ago that some of the major medical centers were trying to use lasers to remove the cells affected with Barretts. Haven’t seen anything for awhile but then haven’t been looking. Try Duke, Cleveland Clinic etc.

    I would like to share the experience I had with Almonds and hope that it well help someone else. I started getting sick at night (still don’t know why at night?) usually around 11-to midnight, there were no warning signs. It started w/ vomiting and diarrhea. I would have to run to the bathroom, every 20-25 minutes, for the next 5-6 hours, by that time of course it was just dry heaves but still diarrhea like water. It would take me at “least” 24 hours to recover. It happened about “every” 3 months for about 18 months, I thought it was something I had had for dinner, so I would eliminate the food I had eaten that night. I also went to see my Dr., he told me don’t worry it’s probably just a bug.
    The last time it happened I thought I was dying, I kept losing consciousness, I was so weak, from dehydration I could hardly get out of bed………. Then I read an article that 68% of Almonds are pasteurized with PPO (Propylene oxide) which is a “Probable human carcinogen”, it is used in polyurethane plastic, and, here is the scariest part,it was actually “banned” by the National Hot Rod + American Motorcycle Racing Assoc. for being too dangerous, it’s used in “fuel-air-bombs!!!…………It can cause gastrointestinal irritation w/nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and may cause Central nervous system depression. Advanced stages may cause collapse and unconsciousness, coma and possible death. Steam treatment of Almonds costs approx. $2.5million, whereas PPO cost only $500.000, which method do you think farmers will use?……….
    I had been eating slivered Almonds every morning in my cereal for for about 2 or 3 years; I can only guess but I think this PPO must have accumulated in my body, hence the gap of 3 months. Of course the minute I read this article “From Healthy Life” I stopped eating Almonds in any shape or form, including Almond Milk; I am elated to report that I have NEVER” had another episode in the 1 year that has passed. Hopefully this letter will be printed by The Peoples Pharmacy, so it can help someone that may be dealing with the same symptoms. Due to the fact that I thought I might run out space I only mentioned the most relevant aspects of the article that I read. Kitty.
    People’s Pharmacy response: We have not heard from others who have had similar reactions to almonds, but thank Kitty for alerting us to PPO. It is used for some spices also. Here is an interesting article about a by-product of PPO:
    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2621.1965.tb01883.x/abstract

    I have found that if I drink something warm after eating nut butters, the go down much more easily, no sticking in the throat. Just a few sips does the trick.

    I too use almonds to stop heartburn. After years of being on Prilosec and thinking there was no way off of it I took the plunge to stop them. I keep almonds with me wherever I go and at home I drink Aloe Vera juice twice a day and take licorice root pills. Every once in a while I have to take a Zantac but not often. It seems like my body doesn’t ache as much now either.

    A suggestion to the woman taking almond butter in the middle of the night- lick it like a lollipop. When on a major expensive PPI Aciplex my magnesium level and B complex levels dropped and I craved peanut butter and didn’t know why. Licked it by the spoonful at night . Now I know it contained magnesium and my body was needing it. Weaned myself off the medicine in five months, now have almonds and tums and watch my diet.

    I’ve used almonds for mild heartburn for several years with good results. For a treat try adding several almonds on top of a small cup of vanilla ice cream – mummm good – and calming to the stomach. For more serious acid I go for the bicarbonate of soda.

    I would like to get off Omeprazole but they Dr. says I need to take it for the rest of my life because I have Barrett’s esophagus… Sometimes I use almonds or vinegar, but am not sure if it will heal my esophagus. Any comments?

    I wrote earlier about how your article on omeprazole got my husband off that medication and solved a lot of his medical problems. He has tried many of your remedies and the ones he likes best are almonds and ginger. Now he wants to try almond milk. I make a strong ginger tea and keep it in the refrigerator and he adds it to his tea several times a day. He is pretty much symptom-free and I just wish we’d known about these things a long time ago.

    I keep small jars of almonds in my car and always in my cosmetic case when I go anywhere overnight. My experience is that they never fail to end heartburn. If I take a few with the last swallow of food that might trigger heartburn they prevent it. ~

    Before I had knee replacement surgery, almonds were a staple of my diet. Upon returning home after the surgery, however, I noticed that I had abdominal discomfort bordering on cramps if I ate any almond product. I would love to know if anyone else has experienced this and any comments about why this would occur. The reaction has persisted for over three years.

    * Be nice, and don't over share. View comment policy^