(WellnessNova.com) - Next to vinegar, baking soda has long been recognized for its natural cleaning abilities. From brightening up a bathtub to removing grease from a dirty floor, the non-poisonous product has been hailed for years as the inexpensive, versatile tool lurking at the back of everybody’s kitchen pantries.
That being said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda’s official chemical title) also offers a wide variety of wellness benefits. From whitening teeth to alleviating skin irritation and more, a $2.00 box of the stuff sure does pack a valuable punch when it comes to maintaining our health. Read on to discover its many uses.
1. Acts as an Antacid
The sodium bicarbonate found in baking soda acts as an antacid by regulating the body’s pH balance. The pancreas naturally produces sodium bicarbonate, but production may be affected by factors such as smoking or a poor diet.
When the pancreas no longer produces adequate levels of sodium bicarbonate, we become susceptible to indigestion and heartburn. If you’re experiencing uncomfortable acidity problems, add half a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and drink, repeating every two hours until your symptoms alleviate.
2. Can Be Used as A Natural Deodorant
Many people are concerned by the chemicals that commercial deodorants contain, such as triclosan, formaldehyde, parabens and aluminum. These chemicals are added to deodorants to help block pores and prevent moisture. However, aluminum has been linked to causing breast cancer and an increasing number of people are turning to natural deodorant solutions in order to avoid any health risks.
Baking soda acts as an effective natural treatment for body odor without the use of artificial chemical compounds. Mix one-eighth of a teaspoon of baking soda into the palm of your hand, then add water to it until you can form a paste. Apply the mixture under your arms and reapply as needed.
3. Removes Splinters
If the idea of digging under your skin with nails or tweezers to remove a splinter sounds terrifying to you, consider opting for baking soda instead. Baking soda is a powerful antibacterial agent and acts quickly by coaxing the splinter to the surface of the skin.
Add water to about one-fourth of a teaspoon of baking soda and mix until a thick paste is formed. Spread the mixture onto a bandage, then apply the bandage onto the affected area and leave it on for 24 hours. Typically, the splinter will have been lifted to the surface of the skin after this amount of time and will be easily removable. If it isn’t, wash the area with soap and water and repeat the process again with a new bandaid until the splinter is removed.
4. Balances pH Levels
An imbalance of acidity and alkalinity in the body allows unhealthy organisms to multiply, paving way for the spread of disease. The pH system functions on a scale from 0 to 14, with 7 being the optimal balance point.
Sodium bicarbonate is the active alkaline ingredient found in baking soda and acts quickly to neutralize any excess acidity in the body. If left untreated, this acidity can manifest in devastating diseases such as multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia and cancer. To maintain an ideal pH level and your health, stir half a teaspoon of baking soda into an 8-ounce glass of water twice a day and drink the mixture.
5. Alleviates Skin Irritation
As if baking soda’s alkaline properties didn’t already seem beneficial enough, they also contribute to the soothing of skin problems. By neutralizing the epidermis when it’s irritated, baking soda can help reduce the inflammation, itching and red discoloration caused by allergies, rashes, insect bites and psoriasis.
It’s important to remember to mix baking soda with water before applying it to your skin, as it’s powerful in its original form and may irritate skin further without being diluted. For best results, add one-fourth of a teaspoon of it to one tablespoon of water and spread the mixture over the affected area. Leave on for fifteen minutes before washing it off with cold water.
6. Improves Oral Health
Baking soda offers a wealth of benefits for oral health problems such as halitosis, gum disease, mouth ulcers and tooth discoloration. Excess acidity in the body can lead to all sorts of oral issues, causing bad breath and the spread of bacteria to the gums, teeth and tongue. Stir half a teaspoon of baking soda into a glass of water and drink the mixture to kill the residue left behind by acid-causing foods such as protein and sugar. The neutralizing sodium bicarbonate in baking soda also soothes sores caused by mouth ulcers and targets the bacteria that contribute to gum disease. And the best part? While the baking soda is working away at killing the bacteria in your mouth, it’ll simultaneously whiten your teeth.
7. Reduces Lactic Acid Buildup
Lactic acid is a recurring problem for people constantly pushing their muscles to new limits. The acid builds up in muscles following strenuous exercise, causing pain and stiffness and preventing the body from reaching its full workout potential.
Whether you’re an athlete or just pushing your physical boundaries, baking soda can help by neutralizing the lactic acid causing your muscles pain. Mix half a teaspoon into a glass of water and drink twice a day to reap baking soda’s alkaline benefits. The mixture will reduce lactic acid buildup and will contribute to better workouts.
8. Helps Improve Kidney Disease
Studies have shown that a daily dose of baking soda can slow the decline of kidney function in patients with chronic kidney disease. Out of 134 patients with a kidney disease called metabolic acidosis, the daily consumption of sodium bicarbonate helped kidney degeneration slow to two-thirds of what other patients were experiencing. Those afflicted by metabolic acidosis produce notoriously low levels of sodium bicarbonate naturally, allowing their bodies to become dangerously acidic. Half a teaspoon of baking soda mixed into a glass of water daily greatly improves the body’s pH levels and prevents kidney disease from occurring or spreading.
9. Exfoliates Skin
Thanks to baking soda’s alkaline properties, it softens the excess oil and dirt found on the skin and allows for their easy removal. Its gentle, but granular texture is also effective at clearing away the skin’s dead cells, leaving the area looking radiant and refreshed. Unlike harsh chemical facial products, the sodium bicarbonate found in baking soda will prevent irritation to your skin and will banish any redness typically associated with exfoliation.
Mix one-fourth teaspoon of baking soda with a bit of water to form a thick paste, then apply the mixture to your face as you would any other exfoliating product. Leave on for two minutes, then rinse off with cold water.
10. Alleviates a Sore Throat
Baking soda’s antibacterial properties can help prevent a sore throat or alleviate one that’s already raging full-tilt. It works by targeting the fungi and bacteria that cause the infection and prevents their spread. For best results, gargle with a mixture of half a teaspoon of baking soda, one-fourth teaspoon of salt, and 8 ounces of warm water. Repeat the process three times a day to see the pain alleviate and your symptoms subside quickly.
Baking soda offers an astounding variety of uses, especially considering its inexpensive price tag. As a staple in almost every household, let’s hope it continues to keep gaining recognition for its versatility instead of being relegated to the back of the fridge as an odor-catcher.