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Health and Fitness News

The Wonder Ingredient

From whitening your teeth to cleaning your bathroom, you may be surprised at the many uses of baking soda.

You’ve likely got a small box of it in your cabinet or refrigerator. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda is used mainly for cooking. As the ingredient that causes the dough in baked goods to rise, baking soda is essential to culinary success. However, baking soda isn’t just a cooking agent. It has many other health benefits and surprising uses around the house.

As an added perk, baking soda is cheap, safe for the environment, non-toxic, and easy to come by. If baking soda isn’t on your grocery list, it should be. Here are eight ways to get more from your baking soda.

1. Teeth Whitener

Instead of pricey dental treatments, why not use baking soda to whiten your teeth? Many types of toothpaste contain baking soda to whiten, brighten, and protect your smile. The white grains are slightly abrasive, working to scrub away stains and plaque.

2. Bathroom Cleaner

Sinks, toilets, tiles, and showers can be cleaned with harsh chemicals, but you can get the same job done with baking soda. Cheap and all-natural, baking soda disinfects, removes stains, and whitens surfaces. Use a sponge to wipe surfaces with a paste of baking soda and water. A few minutes later use a damp cloth to remove any residue.

3. Body Odor Deodorizer

Your sweat doesn’t smell—it’s the bacteria on your body that turns your sweat into acidic waste products that produce that distinctive odor. Baking soda’s antibacterial properties neutralize the acid to eliminate the smell of body odor. Pat some powder on your armpits and smell for yourself.

4. Performance Enhancer

Why not improve your athletic performance with a sodium bicarbonate supplement? Studies show athletes are able to do high-intensity exercise longer with the use of baking soda. As lactic acid builds up in your muscles, the pH in your cells decreases, and you begin to feel muscle burning and fatigue. The high pH of baking soda slows the rate of lactic acid buildup. Mix 200 mg/kg with plenty of water, drink it slowly before a workout, and see if you enjoy improved endurance.

5. Breath Freshener

Why buy expensive mouthwashes when you can use baking soda to freshen your breath? Baking soda contains natural antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that fight bacteria that cause bad breath and cavities. Mix half a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water and swish.

6. Heartburn Reliever

Acid reflux keeping you up at night? That burning feeling in your chest and throat is caused by acidic stomach juices that travel up your esophagus. Whether stress, spicy foods, or anatomy are to blame, you can relieve heartburn with baking soda. Neutralize stomach acids by drinking a teaspoon of baking soda dissolved in a glass of water.

7. Weed Killer

Weeds like to grow along your sidewalks, in your flowerbeds, or in your driveway. Instead of using herbicides to kill weeds in your yard, use baking soda. It’s high in sodium, an ingredient weeds don’t like. Sprinkle baking soda on weeds you want to kill. Just take care not to sprinkle any near plants you want to keep.

8. Air Freshener

Many of the air fresheners you buy at the store don’t get rid of odors—they just cover them up. Unlike other air fresheners made from a variety of unfamiliar chemicals, baking soda lets you eliminate odors the natural way. Make your own air freshener with baking soda mixed with essential oils in a small jar covered with fabric.

A box of baking soda kept in the refrigerator is also a great way to neutralize stinky odors left behind from spoiled food. And sprinkle some of the white powder in the bottom of your kitchen trashcan to reduce foul smells.