Baking Soda

19 Apr 2016 10:00 PM | Aliya Umm Omar (Administrator)

Baking Soda - Take the baking out of the soda and see what happens!

The smell of freshly baked cupcakes is just the best smell you could imagine emitting from the kitchen on a Sunday morning, and then to bite into that soft springy sponge is absolutely delightful, all thanks to the amazing rising properties of baking soda. Of course, these cupcakes are organic and gluten free, boasting succulent medjoul date chunks and wholesome nuts and seeds. 

Baking soda is one of those ingredients that has been known for years for its medicinal benefits yet it's many uses has only recently been forgotten. Only as early as the 1950s when doctors still prescribing baking soda mixed in water for colds and upset stomachs, but then

 the new age pharmaceutical era took over nobody reached for the mere baking soda anymore.

Baking soda is also popularly known as bicarbonate of soda and sodium bicarbonate. It's natural mineral form is called nahcolite, which is a component of the mineral natron found in many mineral springs. Ancient Egyptians were known to use the mineral natron to paint hieroglyphics and for making soap. However, it wasn't until the 1800s when two New York bakers started to manufacture and market this compound as baking soda. It went on to be introduced into cookbooks and later in the 1920s Arm & Hammer started advertising it as a medicinal agent. 

Baking soda is amphoteric i.e. it reacts with both acid and alkali bases.  As a rising agent it works by reacting with the acid components in the batter releasing carbon dioxide, causing the batter to expand, giving that soft leavened texture on baking. However, baking soda, when mixed with water gives an alkaline solution so it’s great as an antacid, combating indigestion, heartburn and even ulcers. All you need to do is mix ½ teaspoon of it in half a glass of water until fully dissolved and simply drink. 

Researchers have also found that adding a one half cup of baking soda to bathwater soothes itchiness and irritation in patients with psoriasis. When mixed with water and applied as a paste, it also helps reduce itchiness from insect bites, sunburn, allergic rashes, and reduces discomfort on skin exposed to poison oak or ivy. That same paste also makes a nice, gentle face exfoliant as well as being an effective cleaning and scrubbing agent for kitchen and bathroom surfaces. 

When mixed with coconut oil it becomes a known absorbent of musty smells and so makes a great underarm deodorant. You could make it more effective and long lasting by adding some arrowroot powder or corn starch plus an essential oil of your choice. Adding coconut oil to baking soda also has a positive effect on oral health. As a toothpaste, its mild abrasive action helps to remove plaque, plus polish, clean, whiten, and deodorize your teeth, while it's anti bacterial action kills bacteria which causes tooth decay. 

Sodium bicarbonate has also been shown to slow down the rate of decline in kidney disease. Those that have chronic kidney disease, which is often caused by diabetes or hypertension, have a hard time removing acid from the body. This often results in a condition known as metabolic acidosis. Baking soda buffers these acids and helps keep the body pH in check. This pH balancing effect has also shown to help those with cancer, although it's still unproven, oral sodium bicarbonate could make tumours more alkaline and inhibit metastasis (the spreading of the tumour). 

There has also been mention in the sports arena that baking soda can have a positive effect on athletic performance. When taken orally in liquid form before intense exercise, it appears to buffer the lactic acid that builds up in muscles, delays fatigue, and thus enhancing athletic performance.

These are some of the amazing benefits that baking soda can offer. It has a variety of uses for a number of conditions as well as being a handy household detergent. Its topical use remains safe and nontoxic. Oral use is also safe, provided you don't exceed the recommended doses, as this could upset the body’s acid-base balance. Larger amounts can even cause temporary nausea and diarrhoea. 

Don't let the word 'sodium' deter you into thinking it will raise your blood pressure, it won't.  Even though it contains quite a bit of sodium, the hypertensive effect comes from the combination of sodium and chloride in table salt, which is salt that has been chemically produced. 

Now that you know this nifty little ingredient is more than just a raising agent be sure to take it out of your kitchen cupboard and discover its full potential!

Recipes for Health

Razor burn soother

Razor burned skin can be painful, not to mention unsightly. Soothe your sensitive skin with a solution of 1 cup of water with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Allow the solution to dry on your skin (it will take about 5 minutes), and then rinse with cool water. Men can also use this same formula for a pre-shave or after-shave treatment on their face as long as they avoid the eye area.

Removing product build up

Get rid of extra product build up in your hair by sprinkling about a penny-size of baking soda into your palm along with your favourite shampoo. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly. The baking soda helps remove the residue that styling products leave behind so your hair is cleaner and more manageable. 


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