Baking Soda: Health Aid
Baking Soda: Health Aid
Drinking baking soda, or bicarbonate powder, dissolved in water is a folk remedy that has been used for many generations to alleviate the symptoms of indigestion, heartburn, infections and arthritis, among other problems. Baking soda is an alkaline compound that reduces acidity in the body. The typical American diet is highly acidic, which allows many diseases and conditions to develop and flourish. Baking soda, taken in moderate amounts and at appropriate times, promotes healthy biochemistry.
The typical American diet has changed greatly over the last century. In earlier eras, Americans consumed much more fresh vegetables, fruits, dairy products, while only eating moderate amounts of animal-based protein, which contributed to a healthy alkaline environment within the body. In recent decades, the American diet has become based on “fast foods,” refined and processed prepared foods, carbohydrates, sugary drinks and excessive amounts of high-fat meats. Modern diets produce much more acidity within the body, which compromises immunity and causes a variety of symptoms.
Human blood must be alkaline to effectively transport nutrients and waste products, and to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with other tissues. Specifically, the blood must measure close to 7.35 on the pH scale, which is a logarithmic measurement of hydrogen ions and acidity. An acidic diet puts the body into a crisis because it threatens to lower the pH measurement of the blood. According to “Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition,” the body reacts by liberating calcium and magnesium from the skeleton and depositing it into the bloodstream and other tissues, which has an alkalizing affect. However, mineral loss weakens and disfigures bones and leads to osteoporosis, osteomalacia and arthritis. Excessive minerals in the bloodstream contribute to atherosclerosis, or hardened arteries. Further, acidity reduces immunity and promotes the growth and proliferation of pathogens, such as bacteria, viruses and parasites.
Benefits of Baking Soda
Drinking baking soda dissolved in water is a quick and affordable method of neutralizing the effects of an acidic diet or meal. Baking soda readily dissolves in water and is absorbed quickly in the intestines. It can be helpful for acid reflex, indigestion or an upset stomach. The carbonation that occurs when baking soda is mixed with water can promote burping, which can relieve excess gas and bloating. According to “Human Biochemistry and Disease,” the alkalinity that occurs with drinking baking soda can dissolve the painful uric acid crystals of gout and relieve the inflammation of arthritis.
Baking soda dissolved in water is best taken between meals. If taken with food, it will reduce the effectiveness of the stomach’s acid and compromise digestion. One or two teaspoons of baking soda in an eight ounce glass of purified water twice daily is a common recommendation for people wanting to increase the alkalinity of their body. Of course, dietary changes are helpful too, but the baking soda is often easier for people to start with. A complementary addition to the baking soda beverage is a wedge of lemon or lime, which are strongly alkalizing fruits that also add some flavor. Because baking soda does contain some impurities, some people prefer pure bicarbonate powder, which has the same alkalizing affect.
· “Nutrition and Public Health”; Sari Edelstein; 2006
· “Biochemical, Physiological and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition”; Martha Stipanuk; 2006
· “Human Biochemistry and Disease”; Gerald Litwack; 2008
Article reviewed by Molly Solanki Last updated on: Feb 8, 2011