Baking soda is one of our most unassuming, and underestimated, household items. Scientifically called sodium bicarbonate, it’s found in natural form as the mineral nahcolite. Most of us know the cleaning and deodorizing powers of this powdery substance, but did you know that it can benefit your health, as well?
The health benefits of baking soda stem from its ability to regulate pH. When our bodies become too acidic, or too alkaline, health problems can occur. Baking soda helps to restore a healthy balance.
One very important area of life in which baking soda can greatly assist us is exercise. We all know the feeling of being utterly winded when we work out. Anyone who’s ever done high-intensity exercise knows the feeling of stiff joints, sore muscles, and lingering fatigue that this activity can bring.
The process of vigorous exercise leads to a buildup of lactic acid in our joints. While this is a natural process, it is one that can lead to that crushing fatigue, and nagging muscle pain that can knock you off of your feet. Exercising can also lead to a lowering of your body’s pH, a process called metabolic acidosis.
How can baking soda help with this? It can serve as a primary ingredient in a pH-balancing, fatigue-fighting after workout beverage. Not only may it help reduce the buildup of lactic acid in the body, it may also help to restore your body’s pH, helping you to recover more quickly from your workout.
There is science to back this up. A 1997 study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology tested the effects of baking soda on “fatigue and recovery of the quadriceps femoris muscle after exercise.” Six male test subjects in good health were given baking soda, and then asked to exercise on a bicycle.
The researchers who performed the study concluded that the baking soda led to “reduced fatigue and enhanced recovery.”
A 1999 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and Occupational Physiology tested the effects of baking soda on the performance of ten cyclists. On their results, the study authors wrote:
“The results of this study suggest that sodium bicarbonate may be used to offset the fatigue process during high-intensity, aerobic cycling lasting 60 min.
To make your after workout tonic, you can simply mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda into an eight-ounce glass of water. Or, to enhance your beverage further, combine 4 cups of water with ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon of unrefined sea salt, 2 tablespoons of local raw honey, and 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon or lime juice. This will not only help to ease your recovery, it will also replenish your body’s electrolytes.
There are many other healthy reasons to use baking soda. The following are just a few:
- Soothe your sore and tired feet by mixing about three tablespoons of baking soda into a tub of warm water, and soak your feet.
- Help combat bloating by drinking a glass of water with one teaspoon of baking soda and a squeeze of lemon juice after a heavy meal.
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of baking soda into a cup of green tea to help boost your metabolism.
- Mix with a bit of coconut oil and use as a natural deodorant.
Note: When choosing a baking soda, be sure to find one that does not contain aluminum. For some individuals, ingesting baking soda may irritate the bowels. Speak to a health professional you trust before you start supplementing with baking soda, to make sure it’s safe for your specific health needs.
Is there anything that baking soda can’t do? Please feel free to share other creative and healthy uses you have found!