Health and Beauty Uses for Baking Soda
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Baking soda may be an inexpensive kitchen ingredient but it plays an important role in your health and beauty routine. Its medicinal and personal care uses were endorsed by the United State Pharmacopoeia (USP) more than 150 years ago. Since baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is a natural substance with the ability to neutralize many compounds, its usefulness is vast and varied—from removing odor to plugging holes in your walls. If you’re concerned about the environment or using too many chemicals, sodium bicarbonate is ideal—it is found in nature, in the ocean, in the soil, in food and even in our bodies, so baking soda will not harm you or the environment.
There are a hundred and one ways to use baking soda but I will just include the more prominent uses:
1. Dental Hygiene
White teeth, clean breath and good oral hygiene—baking soda has the capacity to do all that. Because of its naturally gritty texture, baking soda can be used in place of toothpaste or sprinkled on toothpaste to remove stains and whiten teeth. To freshen breath, simply dissolve 1 teaspoon of baking soda in half a glass of water and use it like a mouthwash.
On that note, baking soda can also be used to clean dentures and dental appliances. Soak dentures, retainers, athletic mouth guards, and other oral appliances in 2 teaspoons of baking soda dissolved in warm water.
2. Clean, Shiny Hair
Build-up from chemicals in shampoo, conditioners and hair products can leave the hair dull and discolored. To restore shine and make it squeaky clean, add a teaspoon of baking soda to a dollop of shampoo in your palm and shampoo your hair as usual. Rinse thoroughly.
Another hair trick: If your hair is oily and you don’t have the time to shampoo, sprinkle baking soda on hair and comb through, then fluff with hair dryer.
3. Soothe Skin Irritations
Baking soda is a natural salve for skin irritations. To relieve itching from prickly heat, poison ivy or to take the sting out of insect bites; apply baking soda, mixed with enough water to make a paste and allow it to dry. This process draws out and neutralizes the poisons, thereby providing relief.
If dry, itchy skin is a problem in the winter, add 1 cup of baking soda and 1 and a quarter cup of baby oil to your bath. And if you’re badly sunburned, baking soda can also provide relief—add 1 cup of baking soda to warm bathwater and soak to soothe pain. Warm bath with baking soda also helps to wash any acid wastes on your skin.
4. Face Saver
Dull skin is the result of dead cells and grime sitting on your skin. Use the exfoliating powers of baking soda to fully cleanse your skin. Simply mix 3 parts of baking soda to 1 part of water and use it as a gentle scrub. If you prefer an exfoliating mask, mix fine oatmeal with baking powder and a touch of honey to found a paste and apply to the face. Rinse off after 20 minutes.
Baking soda is very helpful for other skin problems. Acne? Make a paste by adding 1 teaspoon of water to 2 tablespoons of baking soda, apply to acne and rinse off after 1 minute.
5. Neutralize Acids
The alkaline properties of baking soda make it an effective aid in treating heartburn, acid indigestion and related digestive discomforts. Many components of your diet such as meat, diary products, sugars, alcohol and caffeinated drinks can produce too much acid in the body. Make your own antacid solution by mixing ½ teaspoon of baking soda with ½ glass of water and allow the alkaline nature to neutralize the pH equilibrium.
6. Fights Diseases
Having too many acids in the body can lead to potential problems like arthritis and various forms of cancer. In order to neutralize the acids and regain alkalinity, add small amounts of baking soda to your fluids. Alkalinity not only boosts the immune system, it fights cancer as cancer cannot thrive at a pH of 8.
7. Helps Chronic Kidney Disease
A pilot study conducted at the Royal London Hospital found that a daily dose of baking soda can help chronic kidney disease sufferers avoid having to undergo dialysis. They also found that baking soda can dramatically slow the progress of the condition—only 9% of those treated with baking soda showed rapid disease progression as opposed to 45% of the untreated group.
8. Boosts Athletic Performance
Recent studies confirm what athletics have known for a long time—the taking of baking soda before competitive sports events improve speed and endurance. According to recent study, researchers from Loughborough University gave baking to nine swimmers and found that they reduced their time by an average of 1.5 seconds. Another study from the American College Sports Medicine reported that runners given a capsule of baking soda improved their running times by 2.2 seconds in the 800 meter dash. However, some suffer indigestion, a well-known side effect.
These findings raise controversies—should baking soda be considered an enhanced sports performance aid and therefore added to the list of banned substances in sporting events?
Other related interesting reads about baking soda:
What is baking soda? : http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-baking-soda.htm
More uses for baking soda : http://health.howstuffworks.com/uses-for-baking-soda-health-and-beauty-ga.htm
Cooking with Baking Soda : http://www.joyofbaking.com/bakingsoda.html
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