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Stress Levels Are Associated With High Salt Intake, Study

Eating a high salt level is not good for your health, which is a known fact. According to WHO, adults should consume less than 5 g (just under a teaspoon) of salt per day [1]. Unfortunately, and easily, more than 90 per cent of the population consumes more than 5 g of salt a day.

A diet containing high amounts of salty food has been linked to elevated stress levels, according to a recent study. The study results are not based on human trials but on mice [2].

According to researchers from the University of Edinburgh, consuming a high-salt diet increases stress hormone levels.

"We are what we eat and understanding how high-salt food changes our mental health is important to improving wellbeing," said the study author.

How Does Excess Salt Cause Stress?

Here are the important points from the study:

Point 1: Researchers noted that despite the well-established effects on the heart and circulatory system, little was known about the effects of a high-salt diet on behaviour.

Point 2: According to the study, not only did mice with a normal diet have increased levels of resting stress hormones, but the mice with a high salt diet hormone response to environmental stress also increased.

Point 3: While the recommended amount of salt for an adult is only 5 grams, the majority of us consume more than 9 grams.

Point 4: An increase in salt consumption can result in higher blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and vascular dementia [3][4].

Several studies have been conducted previous to this one to study the link between high salt intake and stress levels. Here are some of the reasons why salt increases stress levels:

Reason 1: As a consequence of elevated sodium levels, the body becomes unable to respond naturally to stress by inhibiting stress hormones that would otherwise be activated in stressful situations. This, in turn, can worsen stress levels in people who consume a high amount of salty foods [5].

Reason 2: Consuming excessive amounts of salt raises blood pressure and increases the workload of the heart, resulting in the body releasing adrenalin into the bloodstream, which in turn ends up as increased stress [6].

On A Final Note...

Excessive of any food item is never good for our health. Consuming too many salty foods can negatively impact not just your physical health but also your mental health. The study authors added that more research is required to gather a better understanding.

Story first published: Friday, November 18, 2022, 14:46 [IST]
Read more about: stress salt mental health 
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