When you think of anti-inflammatory foods, olive oil, salmon, and various vegetables are likely some of the first things to come to mind—not baking soda.
According to a 2018 study published in the Journal of Immunology, baking soda may play a role in fostering an anti-inflammatory effect in the body. However, this doesn’t mean you should head to the kitchen and bake cakes and cookies from scratch in an attempt to eat more of the ingredient. (Related: 100 Easiest Recipes You Can Make.)
In fact, researchers found that regularly drinking a mixture of baking soda and water over a period of time helped to reduce inflammation associated with certain conditions and even autoimmune diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis.
Scientists tested this theory out on both rats and humans and found that after two weeks of drinking the concoction, the baking soda directed immune cells (known as macrophages) to work on reducing inflammation. This indicated that the baking ingredient helped the body promote anti-inflammatory responses.
Enabling the body to release this calming signal—as opposed to one that’s equivalent to an emergency attack—could be a huge breakthrough for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, where the immune system regularly attacks the body’s joints and tissues by mistake.
Not to mention, baking soda has also been shown to help manage other symptoms such as heartburn, upset stomach, and canker sores, and may even help to delay the onset of kidney disease. Of course, it shouldn’t be used in place of other medications (especially ones prescribed by your doctor) and may not have the same effects on everyone.
Interested in testing it out? In the study, researchers combined 1/4 teaspoon of baking soda with 20 ounces of water which was sipped throughout the day. Halving that amount may be best to start out, which is why experts suggest mixing 1/8 teaspoon baking soda into a glass of water a few times a week. Consider keeping this routine up for two weeks, but no longer than one month.
You could experience side effects, such as stomach discomfort, so try to avoid drinking the tonic on an empty stomach.
For more tips on how to fight inflammation, be sure to read 14 Tips to Reduce Inflammation to Lose Weight Faster, According to RDs.