The People's Perspective on Medicine

Banana Banishes Heartburn

Q. Some time ago I discovered the benefits of eating a banana when I was experiencing a reflux problem. A year or so ago I decided that a proactive approach would be better.

I now eat half a banana every night prior to going to bed. I no longer experience reflux problems, though I eat anything I want. If I experience a bit of heartburn in the middle of the night, another bite or two of banana solves the problem.

A. Thanks for the recommendation. There is very little research on this, but dried banana powder is a traditional treatment for indigestion in India.

Other readers have found foods that help them with heartburn: “I remember a column in which you referred to apples and almonds for symptoms of GERD. I have tried it, and I think it helps. I want to send the information to a friend. Can you help?”

All of this information (and lots more) can be found in our book, Favorite Foods: Mother Nature’s Medicine. It is available online at www.peoplespharmacy.com.

Another favorite for heartburn is persimmon punch: “I am using the persimmon punch with great results. Is the sugar medicinal or just for flavor? I would like to reduce the amount used if possible.” (The sugar is strictly for flavor and may be reduced to taste. The recipe is in Favorite Foods.)

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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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also, for the same reason I mentioned above, banana bread, muffins, cakes, etc, banana pie, most banana desserts, banana with meat, banana after dinner, green bananas, black bananas, all are likely to cause more acidity. Yellow bananas on an empty stomach apparently help against acidity. Weird huh?

I think bananas do help at night IF you eat them on a pretty much empty stomach. Bananas don’t combine well with many other foods and with some, they can stay on your stomach for way too long and ferment and become more and more acidic. Actually, a black banana is acidic while a yellow one is alkaline. So one is, eat yellow bananas, not black, another is, try to eat them alone, you ll digest them faster and they remain alkaline, not turn into acids that stay in your stomach for hours while trying to digest.

I also have dry mouth syndrome. I am going try Bentene gum. Hopefully, this will eliminate all the different medicines I’ve had to take for acid reflux for the past 2 years. Thanks for your post.

I had acid reflux so bad it kept me in bed for months. I learned about drinking Aloe. When acid reflux hits after a large or unusual meal I drink a half cup of aloe slowly, than I continue to sip it through out the day. It works very quickly. Its been 8 years since my last serious attack because now I know how to keep it at bay. Aloe is also very good for the common sore throat or that associated with reflux.

ER
It is “baking soda”. This remedy works immediately for my husband.Stir together:
2 ounces water
1 ounce apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. baking soda
Drink immediately
(Put in tall glass….it will fizz up)

Hi BG,
I just found your comment on what your husband takes for acid reflux. One of the ingredients you put 1/2 tsp soda, is this baking soda or soda pop?
Thank you.

My husband tends to get acid reflux if he eats anything too late, including bananas. The tried and true remedy he uses (and says works immediately) is as follows:
Stir together:
2 ounces water
1 ounce apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. soda
Drink immediately
(Put in tall glass….it will fizz up)

LB,
Many common medications can cause dry mouth. See this site for a list:
http://www.oda.org/upload/Laclede-Biotene%20Drug-Chart.pdf

I have discovered a solution for acid reflux. It has nothing to do with food, but I spoke with my pharmacist and he said when I experienced acid reflux, to turn onto my left side when in bed and the acid would go to the colon and I could sleep then. I also know that if you have acid reflux, and you are over-weight, if you lose the weight, the acid reflux will disappear. I weighed 205 with a “gut”. I went on a diet and got down to 180. Sure enough, no acid reflux! You have a couple of choices here and I hope one of them helps you, friends.

When I don’t eat sugar, I don’t have heartburn.
When I eat sugar, I get away with it for a little while but then I get heartburn.

Has anyone else heard of bananas causing constipation?

I began having gastric reflux about two years ago. It also seemed that food stayed in my stomach too long. About that same time I started getting dry mouth. I didn’t associate the two, then I read that people with dry mouth may not produce enough saliva to properly digest food causing food to stay undigested in the stomach and increasing the likelihood of reflux and heartburn. So I decided to try Bentene chewing gum (meant for dry mouth) after every meal.
I chew for about 30 to 40 minutes, and I am amazed at how much better I feel now. I don’t feel as full and I don’t get reflux very often anymore. I was taking Pepcid or Prilosic daily and now only take Tums on the few occasions I still get reflux (usually due to eating really spicy food). This may not work for everyone, but if you have dry mouth in addition to your reflux this might be worth a try.

Eating a piece of fresh ginger root will stop any nausea or indigestion. Ginger has been a proven remedy for nausea and heartburn.

The worst indigestion I ever have is from eating a banana, or even half of one. It causes my stomach to hurt so much I catch myself bending over in pain. (Almost as bad as trying to go off/kick prilosec; the acid rebound was too much; I never could get off them completely; )
But, why would bananas help other people yet makes mine worse/hurt?

Gastroenterologists say that bananas are one of the most common CAUSES of gastroesophageal reflux, and that has certainly always been the case with me. Unfortunately, the two other biggies are peppermint and chocolate….

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