Eating too much salt can increase a person’s stress levels. In tests on mice, researchers found that a high-salt diet increased stress hormones by 75%.
Experts say the results should prompt a rethinking of public health guidelines regarding salt consumption and manufacturers’ efforts to reduce the amount of salt in processed foods.
“Consuming excessive amounts of salt is not only bad for physical health, it can also increase stress levels and lead to mental health problems.”
What is the recommended salt intake per day?
Adults should consume no more than six grams of salt each day, although most people often consume nine grams. This can result in high blood pressure, which increases the risk of vascular dementia, heart attack and stroke.
Effects of a high-salt diet
Although the effects of a high-salt diet on the heart and circulatory system have long been recognized, nothing was known about how it would affect someone’s behavior.
Mice that normally consume minimal amounts of salt were used by researchers at the University of Edinburgh to investigate this. They were then fed a high-salt diet to simulate human salt intake.
They found that the hormonal response of mice to environmental stress was twice that of mice fed a normal diet. Their resting stress hormone levels increased. Excessive salt consumption has led to an increase in the activity of certain genes in the brain. These genes make proteins that regulate how the body responds to stress.
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