You may agree; we all have a box of baking soda, which is barely used and is tucked in a corner of the kitchen shelf. This highly neglected humble kitchen ingredient is more than just adding fluff to your cakes and muffins. There are baking soda benefits that you may be unaware of. It is a chemical compound called sodium bicarbonate, which is not only used as a leavening agent in baked goods, but has super health and beauty benefits to look out for.
In its natural form, baking soda is known as nahcolite that is a part of the natural mineral natron. Natron contains large amounts of sodium bicarbonate, which has been used for quite some years now. It is believed that Egyptians used natron as soap for its cleansing properties. Soon after, people started manufacturing and selling the compound we know as baking soda.
An inexpensive purchase, baking soda is power-packed with antacid properties and is known to be a great alkalizing agent. It is known to have many antiseptic properties along with being an amazing exfoliator. It is also used for diverse purposes like teeth whitener, mouthwash, to treat heartburn, preparing cakes, cookies and so on. Another addition to this list is weight loss. Yes, the ingredient commonly found in our pantry is believed to be a magical weight loss remedy.
Some suggest having baking soda with water, while others suggest mixing it in apple cider vinegar to speed up weight loss. But does the white powder really help to shed kilos and come to shape?
Let’s unveil the truth behind these claims.
Baking Soda Health Benefits
1. It Treats Heartburn
Heartburn is also known as acid reflux. It’s a painful, burning sensation that arises in the upper region of your stomach and can spread up into your throat (1).
It’s caused by acid refluxing out of the stomach and up your esophagus, the tube that connects your stomach to your mouth.
A few common causes of reflux are overeating, stress, and eating greasy or spicy foods.
Baking soda can help treat heartburn by neutralizing stomach acid. Dissolve a teaspoon of baking soda in a glass of cold water and drink the mixture slowly.
- There’s some debate as to whether everyone with heartburn symptoms actually has high stomach acid.
- Baking soda is very high in sodium at 629 mg per 1/2 teaspoon.
- Continued use may lead to metabolic alkalosis and heart problems.
2. It Soothes Canker Sores
Canker sores are small, painful ulcers that can form inside your mouth. Unlike cold sores, canker sores do not form on the lips and aren’t contagious.
You can make baking soda mouthwash using the recipe in the previous chapter. Rinse your mouth with this mixture once a day until the canker sore heals.
3. It Relieves Itchy Skin and Sunburns
To make a baking soda bath, add 1–2 cups of baking soda to a lukewarm bath. Make sure the affected area is soaked thoroughly.
For more specific areas, you can create a paste with baking soda and a bit of water. Apply a thick layer of paste to the affected area.
4. It Promotes Oral Health
Mouthwash is a great addition to a good oral hygiene routine. It reaches corners of your mouth and crevices of your teeth, gums, and tongue, which may be missed during brushing.
However, one study found that a baking soda mouthwash did not significantly lower oral bacteria levels, although it did result in an increased salivary pH, which is important for inhibiting bacterial growth (15).
The recipe for baking soda mouthwash is simple. Add 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda to half a glass of warm water, and then swish as usual.
Baking soda is likewise a popular home remedy for whitening teeth.
This is likely because baking soda has mild abrasive properties that let it break the bonds of molecules that stain the teeth. It also has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that can help fight harmful bacteria (19, 20).
5. It Helps Slow the Progression of Chronic Kidney Disease
People with chronic kidney disease (CKD) slowly lose function of their kidneys.
The kidneys are incredibly important because they help remove excess waste and water from the blood. At the same time, they help balance important minerals like potassium, sodium, and calcium.
A study including 134 adults with CKD found that those taking sodium bicarbonate supplements were 36% less likely to experience rapid disease progression than people who did not take the supplements (21).
Be sure to talk to your doctor before ingesting baking soda.
6. It Alleviates Urinary Tract Infections
Baking soda and water solution is known to act as a protective barrier against urinary tract infections; it is due to its ability to reduce acid levels in urine. UTI, which is a very common condition that develops in women, this inexpensive remedy comes handy to you.
7. It May Improve Certain Cancer Treatments
Cancer is the second leading cause of death worldwide.
It’s often treated with chemotherapy, which works by slowing or stopping the growth of cancer cells. Normally, cancer cells grow and divide at a rapid rate (22).
Some research shows that baking soda could help chemotherapy medicines work more effectively. Baking soda may make the environment for tumors less acidic, which benefits chemotherapy treatments (23, 24).
However, the evidence is limited to preliminary indications from animal and cell studies, so more human-based research is needed.
8. It Treats Gout and Other Joint Problems
High levels of uric acid in the urine and blood in tissues throughout the body cause pain and chronic diseases like arthritis and gout. Baking soda helps neutralize the excess acid and is used as an effective remedy.
Baking Soda and Weight Loss
There is no solid scientific proof that consuming baking soda in any form can speed up the weight loss process.
On the contrary, drinking baking soda has an alkalizing effect on the body. Drinking water and baking soda concoction react with the acids of your stomach forming, salt, water, and carbon dioxide. This alters the pH level of the body and is beneficial in soothing symptoms of indigestion and nausea. Some believe that altering the pH level of the body can be anyhow effective in shedding kilos.
Another theory suggests that adding baking in your bathwater can boost your metabolism and helps remove toxins from the body, which can be beneficial for your weight loss goal. But just the previous claim there is not enough evidence to prove this claim.
Baking soda, however, can help boost physical performance, which can help you greatly with your exercises to lose weight. In fact, is a popular supplement among athletes.
During high intensity exercise, your muscle cells start producing lactic acid, which is responsible for the burning feeling you get during exercise. Lactic acid also lowers the pH inside your cells, which may cause your muscles to tire.
For example, one study found that people who took baking soda exercised for an average of 4.5 minutes longer than people who didn’t take baking soda (29).
One study recommends taking 300 mg of baking soda per 1 liter of water 1–2 hours before exercising (30).
Another study added that taking it 3 hours before exercise results in less gastrointestinal discomfort (31).
Baking soda may also have an indirect weight-loss-promoting effect, mainly due to the liquid you choose to mix it with.
One popular option is to mix baking soda with apple cider vinegar, a liquid that older research shows may help you feel less hungry. However, recent studies supporting apple cider vinegar’s weight loss effects are limited (32, 33).
Baking soda is often diluted in water, either alone, or together with apple cider vinegar or lemon juice.
When consumed daily, such beverages may result in larger daily fluid intake. This may improve your overall hydration levels, an effect that studies suggest may reduce hunger, increase metabolism, and promote body fat loss (34, 35, 36).
It’s important to note that these possible weight-loss-promoting effects have little to do with baking powder and more to do with other liquids. Adding baking soda to the mix appears to offer few additional benefits.
How to Prepare A Baking Soda Drink?
There are three popular methods that people use to incorporate baking soda into their daily routines.
Most will add 1-2 cups of room temperature water and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. Stir all together and drink preferably on an empty stomach. This can be drunk any time of day, but make sure not to take it with supplements or on a very full stomach.
Another option includes mixing 1 teaspoon of baking soda with 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to help increase weight loss. It doesn’t taste great so just chase it with plain water.
You may also mix baking soda with lemon juice. Rich in vitamin C and antioxidants, lemons are dieters’ favorite owing to its powerful fat-burning properties. So, when you combine baking soda with lemons, it will definitely boost your fat burning and aid in weight loss. It’s very easy to make.
Just pour a glass of water, but not too hot or cold. Add a teaspoon of baking soda and the freshly squeezed juice of half a lemon. Mix the mixture well and drink it in the morning, preferably on an empty stomach for optimal weight loss results.
Are you a fan of green tea? You already know green tea’s potential health benefits for everything from fighting cancer to improving your heart health, from lowering cholesterol to reducing your risk of type 2 diabetes. Studies suggest that green tea contains an active antioxidant compound, catechins, which can help you burn more calories and thus aids in weight loss.
Just pour the heated water into a mug and over the green tea leaves. Let it steep for 2-3 minutes. Add 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda to warm green tea and mix well. Sip it once the fizz has settled.
An alternative way to integrate baking soda to your regimen without ingesting it is to dilute 3–4 cups of baking soda in a bathtub full of water prior to soaking in it.
Keep in mind that neither of these preparation methods’ safety is backed by science, so use them at your own risk.
Are There Any Risks Involved?
Ingesting large amounts of baking soda may cause a life threatening condition known as metabolic alkalosis (39).
Metabolic alkalosis happens when your body can no longer control your blood pH. It can occur as a result of excessively high intakes of alkali compounds like baking soda. This condition can result in spasms, muscle weakness, an altered mental status, and, if left untreated, an irregular heartbeat and even death (40).
Due to its high sodium content, high intakes of baking soda may also result in fluid accumulation, high blood pressure, and even heart failure, especially in people with alcoholism or compromised kidney function (41, 42).
Baking soda should not be given to children under 5 years old, as it may cause seizures and breathing difficulties. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should also avoid its intake (43).
Also, combining apple cider vinegar with an alkaline compound, such as baking soda, may help neutralize some of its acidity. However, it’s unclear whether the common recipes shared on the internet result in the complete neutralization of apple cider vinegar’s acidity.
Combining the two also creates a chemical reaction that produces gas. Therefore, this mixture may cause gas and bloating in people who ingest it before all the gas has escaped. However, no studies have researched this effect.
Baking soda and apple cider vinegar may also interact with certain medications. People currently taking medications should speak to their healthcare provider before adding either alone or mixed to their diet (44, 45).
Currently, little is known about the safety of long-term intakes of either of these compounds, let alone their combination. Therefore, until more is known, it’s likely safest to avoid taking this mixture altogether.
The key rule of shedding weight effectively is by creating a calorie deficit. Consume fewer calories and burn more throughout the day by engaging in different kinds of physical activities.
Having said that, there are indeed some tricks that can boost your metabolism and speed up the process. If you still want to give baking soda a try, speak to a medical professional, especially if you have a health condition. Take note of the above-mentioned preparation tips and side effects.
Lose weight safely!