A soda (or soft drink, soda pop, fizzy drink, or tonic) is a popular drink that originated during the early 19th century. This refreshing drink has gone a long way from being simple soda water. Today, it has become a billion dollar industry with millions of consumers worldwide.

Soda contains carbonated water, sweetener, and a flavouring agent. Due to its high sugar content, soda is often linked to a number of health issues such as obesity, diabetes, low nutrient levels and even dental decay. Almost everyone agrees that soda is bad for the health, but we drink it anyway. Ironically, there is an ingredient in soda that has quite a number of uses. Take a look at the health benefits of bicarbonate of soda and be surprised.

Bicarbonate of soda
Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Prevention of Renal Stones

In recent studies, bicarbonate has shown a significant contribution in reducing the acidity of dietary components. An example of an acidic dietary component is protein which acidifies the urine, leading to hypercalciuria. One test showed that an increased intake of bicarbonate of people on a high-protein diet decreased calcium urinary excretion. The test ran for two weeks, with subjects on a daily intake of 5.5 g of bicarbonate as a controlled variable. From this test, it was concluded that bicarbonate is useful in preventing the recurrence of uric acid renal stones as well as calcium oxalate. 

Control Water Absorption

Another health benefit of bicarbonate is its ability to cure dehydration. It is even a better remedy than certain saline components. Notice that most sports drinks are carbonated. Athletes drink these beverages to restore and retain water in their bodies lost during extreme physical activity. Dehydration can lead to muscle fatigue, preventing muscles and bones to move freely. Oral hydration solutions for patients suffering from diarrhea or LBM also contain bicarbonates. Bicarbonate of soda not only improves the performance of athletes, but also benefits regular people with certain health problems. 

Decreases Dental Plaque Activity

In soda, sugar may subdue bicarbonate’s health benefits. However, bicarbonate alone can actually decrease dental plaque acidity to prevent dental cavities. It also inhibits plaque formation and increases the dental enamel’s calcium uptake. Bicarbonate can also neutralize harmful effects of bacterial metabolic acids by increasing the pH level in the oral cavity.

Neutralizes Stomach Acidity

Bicarbonate also acts as an antacid so it is recommended as a remedy for acid ingestion, sour stomach or heartburn. Prepare a bicarbonate antacid solution by dissolving half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda in half a glass of water. The bicarbonate water acts as a base and neutralizes stomach acids which causes irritation. This is only a temporary solution but very effective in reducing the discomfort in just a few minutes after intake.

Exfoliates the Skin

A mixture of bicarbonate and water is a great skin exfoliant. Bicarbonate is made up of small, fine crystals that can remove dead cells and aid skin renewal. Gently rub the mixture on the face, elbows, or just about anywhere you wish. If desired, this mild treatment can be used daily. 

Prevents Bad Odor

Another one of the health benefits of bicarbonate of soda is its ability to reduce body odor. Simply dust a powder of bicarbonate of soda lightly under your arms for odor protection. Unlike other deodorants that cover up odor, bicarbonate absorbs it. 

When using bicarbonate of soda for any of the aforementioned benefits, certain precautions must be observed. If you wish to drink a solution of sodium bicarbonate and water, first you must make sure that it is completely dissolved. Also, do not drink the solution on a full stomach when treating acidity. Bicarbonate of soda is just a home remedy you can use for mild condition. If symptoms last for more than a week, consult your physician.