SOOTHE YOUR SKIN

Q Someone told me I should be drinking bicarbonate of soda to help ease eczema symptoms – is there any truth in this?

A Drunk as a solution, bicarbonate of soda or sodium bicarbonate soothes an acid stomach (it’s what’s in Alka Seltzer). But there could be a kind of theoretical logic to consuming sodium bicarbonate for eczema, too, as a recent study suggested it could help reduce the inflammation that’s so typical in autoimmune diseases such as eczema.

That’s a long way off saying it’s a treatment for eczema, though, and you would need to take care how you took it as it can change the acid/alkaline balance of the body. It might be worth a worth a chat with your GP, as they sometimes prescribe sodium bicarbonate for kidney disease, so are familiar with its use beyond an antacid.

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Competitive cyclists have specific nutritional needs and have to time eating meals and snacks carefully, so energy bars and gels can be helpful. Katie’s meals provide a good balance of key nutrients such as slow-release carbs and protein, but she could eat a bit more fruit and veg – a white potato is a starchy carbohydrate, nutritionally speaking, so won’t count towards your 5-a-day. Chickpea pancakes are a good high-protein snack, but a handful of nuts or a high-protein yoghurt such as Total 0% or Skyr is a quicker option. She could also try quinoa, wholegrain couscous or a bean salad with tuna for lunch.’

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