It’s a fundamental requirement that humans and most higher forms of life need to eat food in order to survive. It is through the consumption of a balanced diet that you supply your body with the necessary nutrients and energy it needs in order to grow and replenish itself. But whilst food is most appropriately eaten, there are some very surprising non-nutritional uses for your favorite foods.
The cleaning powers of foods
Cleaning with the aid of substances derived from food is not something new to the world. Citric juices, like that of lemons, have been used since antiquity for their ability to cut down grease, kill bacteria and fungus and leave a soothing fragrance after application. Abrasive compounds, like salt, can have a scouring effect on surfaces, and carbonated beverages like Coca Cola can remove rust from lime scale buildup.
Food can also fragrance your house after you’re done cleaning. Grated lemon, or lime, rind contains fragrant essential oils that leave spaces smelling fresh and lively, and these oils can be used in combination with any other natural fragrance to create your own signature scent to combat the musty smell of dust in houses that don’t air out very well. They can even be used to deordorise fridges and stored clothes.
Food as a beauty treatment
Masks made from egg whites or cucumbers are a classical skin treatment thought to moisturize and tighten skin. Whilst the tightening effect may merely be a pipe dream, there’s no mistake they can leave you feeling refreshed and relieved of stress, and this is more than likely the reason they’ve become so popular over the years.
Chemical peels using natural acids, like glycolic acid from sugarcane or lactic acid from soured milk, are very powerful skin treatments with proven benefits in the treatment of problems like wrinkles and acne. In this case, it is a component of a food that has the beneficial effect, but that’s not to say that the whole food doesn’t also work. In fact, Cleopatra is believed to have bathed in milk and honey to give her a radiant complexion, and vegetables like turmeric can be used to subtly color hair.
Food for decoration and art
Linseed oil derived from the edible flax plant has been used for centuries as an agent to bind and form the base of oil paints. Some of the most beautiful works of art were created using these paints. Food ingredients like paprika and cocoa powder can even be used to create non-toxic finger paints for kids to play with and explore their creativity, and the large eggs of ostriches can be carved to form elaborate and unique ornaments.
Whilst food will always have its place primarily as a source of nutrition, the many other uses are limited only by your imagination and zest for adventure. As technology continues to advance, there is a constant discovery of alternative uses for whole foods and their components, and vegetable oils may even be popularized as an alternative fuel source for cars one day.