Bicarbonate of soda, better known as baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, has numerous uses–it's a cleaning agent, antacid, fire extinguisher and more. There also are interesting health benefits when you drink baking soda, which is alkaline, in water. Viruses and diseases such as colds, flu, cancer and even heart disease thrive in an acidic body, but cannot survive when your body is alkaline. The 2009 Journal of the American Society of Nephrology revealed a study of 134 patients with advanced kidney disease. Taking baking soda daily dramatically slowed down the progression of kidney disease, resulting in no need for dialysis.
To increase your body's pH, take 1/4 tsp. of baking soda dissolved in one-half glass of water on an empty stomach, once in the morning and again before bedtime. Acidity and alkalinity is measured by pH, which ranges from 0 to 14 with 7.0 being neutral; a pH above 7.0 is alkaline, and below 7.0 is acidic. Baking soda has the highest pH of 14. Create a healthy body by keeping your body's pH between 7.1 and 7.5.
Drink the baking soda and water solution at the very beginning of cold or flu symptoms, such as a runny nose or sneezing, to help kill the viruses. Keep your body alkaline by increasing fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet.
If you're an athlete, swallow sodium bicarbonate supplements with water to buffer lactic acid buildup and improve your exercise performance. Ingest 0.3 g of sodium bicarbonate per 2.2 lb. of body weight, one to two hours before the event, drinking plenty of water.
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Drink a glass of water with a half lemon or lime squeezed into it twice daily if you are unable to take baking soda and water. Lemons and limes are acidic but become alkaline in your body, raising your alkalinity almost as well as baking soda.
Test your saliva or urine pH levels inexpensively with litmus paper, the pink and blue strips you may remember from high school science class. Find them at drug stores or consider purchasing pH devices.
Do not take baking powder–baking powder is not the same thing as baking soda or bicarbonate of soda. Baking powder contains some baking soda and other ingredients such as aluminum, which is harmful to your body.
Avoid drinking anything with bicarbonate of soda if you're on a sodium-restricted diet or have high blood pressure, unless directed by your doctor.
Ask your doctor before taking baking soda if you're on prescription drugs.
Do not give baking soda with water to children younger than 5.
Do not take this baking soda/water solution if you're stomach is full from eating.
Check with your sports coach before taking sodium bicarbonate supplements before an event, to make sure it's acceptable.
Chyrene Pendleton has been a business owner and newsletter editor for more than seven years. She is a freelance writer with over 25 years experience and teaches a variety of topics, including alternative health, hair care and metaphysics. Pendleton is a certified television show producer, radio talk-show host and producer, and a computer programmer with a bachelor's degree in computer science.