What are the benefits of baking soda or sodium hydrogen carbonate? Baking soda vs baking powder - what's the difference? What are baking soda uses?
Baking soda, bicarbonate of soda, sodium bicarbonate and sodium hydrogen carbonate are the same thing. It is crystallized grains that look like fine powder or salt. It is produced artificially but the natural form which is called nahcolite is found dissolved in certain mineral spring water and in the human bile.
Baking powder is baking soda mixed with an additional ingredient, an acid or an alkaline such as cream of tartar, lemon juice, phosphate or vinegar. Both baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents. When either one of them is added to dough and batter, it releases gases that will raise or increase the volume of the baked foods such as breads, cakes and muffins and lighten the texture.
Dough and batter that uses baking powder will rise twice, once at room temperature and once again when it is baked. Food with sodium bicarbonate will only rise at high temperature or in other words when the food is the process of baking because that is the only time when the carbon dioxide gas is released. You can substitute baking soda if you don't have baking powder provided you add the additional ingredient mentioned above or else your baked food won't rise as it should.
There are many other medicinal uses and benefits of baking soda. It has been used as a remedy and alternative healing agent in treating various conditions, ailments and diseases as well as a cleaning agent.
One of the benefits of baking soda is that it acts as a natural antacid or an agent that helps neutralize stomach acidity. If you experience heartburn, sour stomach or acid indigestion, dissolve ½ teaspoon of baking soda to a glass of warm water and drink the mixture.
You can also use baking soda as an exfoliating agent. When used as a face wash or scrub, it will remove the dead skin cells. You can use it alone by mixing 3 parts of baking soda with 1 part water or you can add it to your cleanser. It has also shown to be effective in treating acne. You can also use it as a bath and foot soak because it is gentle on the skin.
Another one of the benefits of baking soda is its usefulness as a teeth whitener and to remove cigarette and tea stains. To use it, add a little bit of the powder to your toothpaste and brush your teeth as you usually do. Do it only once or twice a month because baking soda is abrasive.
It may help soothe a sore throat. Add half teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water and gargle it every hour or so and it should be able to provide relief.
As a remedy for canker sore or mouth ulcer, make a paste by adding the sodium bicarbonate and water and apply it on the sore spot. Leave it for a minute and then wash it off. It will burn a bit initially. Gargling a mixture of bicarbonate of soda with water at the same time will also provide relief.
Another one of the benefits of baking soda is that it acts as a natural deodorant. Make a solution of baking soda and water and apply a thin layer at your armpits. It will dry off rather quickly and help prevent body or armpit odor.
If you use too much hair styling products such as gel and hair spray and even shampoos with chemicals, you risk leaving residue on your scalp that will lead to dry scalp. One of the ways to remove the residue is to wash your hair with baking soda mixed with water once a week. Massage and wash thoroughly and not only will you remove the dead cells and residue, your hair will become more shiny and smooth.
Use it as a first aid if you get stung by insects, bees or when your skin comes in contact with poison oak, poison ivy or stinging nettles. The benefits of baking soda include providing relief from the itching, stinging and swelling. Mix 3 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda to a teaspoon of water and apply on the affected skin.
Baking soda is also known as a cleaning agent. You can add it to water and then soak and wash your garden vegetables to remove bugs and caterpillars or other critters.
There are so many other baking soda uses including cleaning kitchen utensils, absorbing odors from the fridge, cat litter as well as shoes and adding cleaning power to laundry detergents.