15 Surprising Benefits of Baking Soda

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

Health benefits of baking soda include reduced risk and prevention of diarrhea, metabolic acidosis, acidity, peptic ulcer, and drug intoxication. It has anti-itch or antipruritic properties that help in maintaining healthy skin. It is an effective home remedy for cold and flu and plaque removal. It is a good source of sodium that helps prevent bladder infection and kidney stones.

It has antimicrobial properties that may protect the body and feet from infections. The usage of baking soda is not just limited to health, it is used in cooking and cleaning.

Baking soda also known as sodium bicarbonate or sodium hydrogen carbonate is commonly used and found in almost every household. It is odorless, salty in taste and available as a white powder. It has various uses in culinary and medicines.

Nutritional Value of Baking Soda

As per USDA baking soda contains water and sodium. It has no calories, fat, and carbohydrates. [1]

Close up of a glass bowl and spoon filled with baking soda on a wooden table

Baking soda, also known as sodium bicarbonate, is widely used in baking. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Leavening agents, baking soda
Serving Size :
Water [g]0.2
Ash [g]36.9
Sodium, Na [mg]27360
Selenium, Se [µg]0.2
Sources include : USDA [2]

Health Benefits of Baking Soda

Baking soda has many health benefits which include: [3]

Reduces Acidity

Baking soda has antacid properties and is beneficial to relieve indigestion, severe acidity, and heartburn. It helps in relieving symptoms of peptic ulcer disease. Due to its alkaline properties, it is also recommended for reducing acidity in urine and blood. [4]

Minimizes Metabolic Acidosis

Sodium bicarbonate is beneficial in minimizing the risk of metabolic acidosis in various health disorders. It also provides relief in case of renal tubular acidosis. [5] [6]

Decreases Diarrhea

Nutrition comprising of sodium bicarbonate is indicated in case of diarrhea wherein there is a significant loss of the bicarbonate from the body.

Provides Relief from Canker Sores

Canker sores also known as aphthous ulcers are small bumpy lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth or at the base of your gums. Canker sores don’t appear on the surface of your lips and aren’t contagious. However, they can be painful, and make eating and talking difficult. To cure the sore, it is advisable to use the Debacterol solution. It is important to note that Debacterol may cause irritation upon administration. [7]

If there is excess irritation during use, a rinse with baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) solution will neutralize the reaction. If the condition still persists, contact a health care professional.

Gives Relief from Intoxications

Sodium bicarbonate is also useful in providing relief from various intoxications such as poisoning caused by methyl alcohol, salicylates, etc. According to a 2017 research published in the International Journal of Nephrology, administration of sodium bicarbonate may be beneficial in providing relief against toxicities such as salicylate intoxication, ingestion of methanol and ethylene glycol and sodium channel blockers poisonings. [8]

Anti-itch Properties

Sodium bicarbonate has anti-itch or antipruritic properties which also help in treating various skin conditions. A solution or paste made from baking soda can be applied to the skin.

Reduces Swellings

Bees and wasp stings are usually painful and they are automatically followed with swellings on the affected parts. Use a solution that consists of baking soda and water to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling caused by insect stings. The solution should contain a high ratio of baking soda as compared to water, preferably 3:1. [9]

Improves Sprint Performance

A research study suggests that intake of sodium bicarbonate may be beneficial in improving sprint performance during prolonged intermitted exercise such as cycling. [10]

Relieves Cold & Flu

Common cold and flu are very common across all age groups across the world. A healthy diet and good health care prevent and protect the human body from these ailments. Baking soda is beneficial in providing relief from cold and flu. A nasal wash done with a solution made by mixing lukewarm water, salt and baking soda helps to clean the mucus from the nose.  This may be repeated two to three times a day.

Removes Plaque

The use of baking soda is not just limited to skin and infections, it is also beneficial for teeth. A study suggests that the use of baking soda dentifrices (agents to clean and polish teeth) is very effective in removing plaque from the teeth. [11]

Antibacterial Activity

Bacteria such as Streptococcus mutans are associated with tooth decay and poor teeth health. The use of sodium bicarbonate based oral products may help in decreasing the levels of this bacterium and protect the teeth from decay. [12]

Rich in Sodium

Sodium is one of the essential minerals required for good health. Sodium bicarbonate is a good source of sodium and thus may help in blood pressure management and proper functioning of muscles and nerves [13]

Decreases Kidney Stones

Health benefits of baking soda include providing relief from kidney stones. Kidney stones are common amongst people and may run in families. There are different types of stones such as calcium stones, cystine stones, uric acid stones, etc. usually smaller stones pass but sometimes if the stones are big they may cause severe pain. Sodium bicarbonate helps in decreasing stone formation and removing material that causes kidney stones. [14]

Maintains Fresh Breath

There are different reasons why a person may not have fresh breath. Among all the reasons the presence of bacteria in the mouth is the main reason for having an unpleasant breath. Baking soda provides an instant solution to this kind of problem. Mixing a teaspoon of salt with sodium bicarbonate in water is a home remedy that has been proved to work effectively in the restoration and maintenance of fresh breath. Gargle this solution every morning to ensure that the bacteria working on the food particles in the mouth are completely eliminated [15]

Reduces Bladder Infections

Baking soda may also help in reducing the risk of bladder infections. Bladder infection cases are common and caused by bacteria that breed well in the bladder. This is because these microorganisms thrive in environments that are a dump and acidic. Prevent this kind of infection or treat it as it strikes by taking a solution that consists of baking soda and a cup of water. [16]

Feet Care

The use of baking soda along with essential oils may help in protecting feet from microbial infections and bad odor. A research study suggests that aromatic powder oil compounds containing baking soda, arrowroot, and essential oils inhibit the yeast, fungal and bacterial growth on the feet. [17]

Baking soda is also popular for its natural exfoliating properties that help remove dead skin covering calluses and corns. It is also because it has antimicrobial properties that help prevent infections. [18]

How to Store Baking Soda at Home?

Generally, pure baking soda has a long shelf life. This is advantageous since it can be bought in large quantities. You, therefore, need not worry about the condition of the portion left after cooking. Adding baking soda while cooking food items such as lentils, beans speeds up the cooking. Adding baking soda to onion helps it to brown faster.

Accidents and injuries are common at home and this is why it advisable to stock a container of sodium bicarbonate which is used as first aid.

Baking Soda Uses

Apart from various health benefits baking soda has other uses. It can be kept in refrigerator and closets as that absorbs the bad odor. It can also be kept in shoe-boxes as a freshener. Soda sachets can be kept in shoes as well. [19]

Baking soda can be used for cleaning blenders, pans and removing burned food from a pan. Soak the utensils, pans, etc. in baking soda solution and then clean it. Fish odor can also be removed from dishes and pans by soaking them in water mixed with baking soda. It cleans enamel and china cookware and also removes coffee stains.

Word of caution

Milk-alkali syndrome: Excess consumption of sodium bicarbonate may cause health ailments such as milk-alkali syndrome. [20]

An overdose of baking soda may also cause vomiting, diarrhea, muscle weakness and spasms. Care must be taken while consuming products that contain baking soda. It is advisable to consult your health specialist if you have blood pressure related ailments, kidney disease, are pregnant or breastfeeding as they may have side effects on consumption. [21]

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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