Baking soda is a seemingly humble kitchen ingredient, but it has a wide range of health benefits that pack a powerful punch. Baking soda is the common term for sodium bicarbonate.
This substance is used in cooking to leaven baked goods. While best known as a baking ingredient, sodium bicarbonate also has a wide range of health benefits.
Baking soda can be taken internally in small amounts to alleviate heartburn and treat a number of other digestive problems, it can be used to treat minor injuries and skin problems and it can be a part of your daily hygiene routine. You can purchase a box of baking soda for about one dollar, making it one of the least expensive and versatile weapons in your healthcare arsenal. To take full advantage of the benefits, spring for a box of baking soda to keep in your medicine cabinet as well as in your kitchen. It should also be included in any first aid kit.
Baking Soda as a Natural Deodorant
If want to avoid the aluminum and parabens in most of today’s manufactured antiperspirants and deodorants, you can make a simple, natural alternative by mixing baking soda with some water and mixing thoroughly. You can apply with a small brush under your arms. It can also be applied to the soles of your feet if they tend to sweat and have a strong odor.
Treating Digestive Issues with Baking Soda
Antacids usually contain bicarbonate, but they can take a while to work. Baking soda, however, is almost immediately effective in relieving painful gas and neutralizing acid in the stomach. If you suffer from heartburn, acid reflux or indigestion, just mix one-half teaspoon of baking soda in a few ounces of water and chug it down. You will not enjoy the taste (really cold water helps), but you will appreciate the relief you get, which usually occurs in less than ten minutes.
You can repeat this if necessary, but do not consume more than seven doses in 24 hours, as this can lead to acid/base and electrolyte imbalances. This is an occasional remedy, so if you have heartburn or digestive issues that are chronic, talk to your doctor.
Use Baking Soda to Treat Minor Skin Irritations
Make a thick paste of baking soda and water for a quick and easy remedy for minor skin irritations. Apply it to poison ivy, poison oak and insect bites for relief. It works by neutralizing the irritants on the skin’s surface.
If you have a sunburn, stir a half-cup of baking soda into a tepid or cool bath, then soak to soothe the burn. When you get out of the tub, let your skin dry naturally or gently pat try rather than rubbing the burn. For additional relief, soak a soft cloth in a mixture of cool water and baking soda and apply to the sunburn until the cloth is no longer cool.
Soothing Soaks with Baking Soda
If you are feeling tense or have sore muscles, soaking in a warm bath with baking soda and Epsom salts soothe away the aches and tension. Stir one-half cup of each ingredient into warm water and soak for up to 20 minutes. There are other health benefits to soaking in a bath with baking soda, including helping to relieve yeast infections, soothing the itch of eczema or psoriasis, chicken pox and hemorrhoids. Baking soda soaks can also help detoxify the skin, pulling out impurities. After taking a baking soda bath, moisturize your skin, as a warm or hot bath can be drying.
Baking Soda for Skin Care
Baking soda has several health benefits as a skin care treatment – it is all natural, it is gentle on the skin, it is hypoallergenic and it is inexpensive. If you have warts or need to cut through oily or greasy compounds on your hands, use three parts baking soda to one-part water for a natural scrub that is gentle on your skin. You can also exfoliate rough, dry skin on your elbows and feet by making a paste of baking soda and water using the same 3-to-1 one ratio. If you use this on your face, be gentle when applying, as the skin on your face is more delicate.
Baking Soda and Oral Hygiene
Baking soda is an excellent tool for oral health. It has natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, is mildly abrasive and is a natural odor neutralizer. You can make a simple mouthwash by stirring one-half teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of warm water. Swish the solution in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then rinse. This can also be used to soothe the pain of canker sores.
Baking soda toothpastes have been found to more effectively whiten teeth than toothpastes without it. As an alternative, you can make a paste of one teaspoon baking soda and two teaspoons water and use it to brush your tooth twice a week. This helps remove yellow stains and fights bacteria and plaque that lead to staining of the enamel. While not an overnight solution, it improves the appearance of your teeth over time.
Cleaning Fruits and Vegetables with Baking Soda
Fresh fruits and vegetables are beneficial to your health, but many contain pesticide residues and other chemicals. Peeling your foods is one way to counteract this, but the skin or peel is often where a lot of the nutrients are found. A safe way to remove pesticides and other chemicals is to soak your fruits and vegetables in a solution of baking soda and water for 10 to 15 minutes before using. Just rinse to remove the taste of baking soda.
Improving Athletic Performance using Baking Soda
One of the most surprising health benefits of baking soda is in the realm of athletics and exercise. Strenuous exercise causes a build-up of lactic acid in muscle tissue, which can lead to fatigue and muscle cramps. By drinking water with baking soda before exercising, you can reduce the acid build-up, minimizing fatigue and eliminating muscle cramps after a workout. During a workout, baking soda helps enhance performance by increasing the body’ s metabolic performance.
It is important, however, to keep in mind that the level of exercise done, the weight of the individual and his or her level of health are all critical in determining how much baking soda a person consumes prior to working out. It is also important to be well-hydrated before drinking baking soda water to enhance athletic performance. Talk to your doctor before adding baking soda to your fitness routine.
Related Article: The Dangers of Fad Diets