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Consuming Too Much Salt Can Lead To Higher Levels Of Stress, According To New Research

Goffkein - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

With Thanksgiving’s recent passing, the holiday season is officially upon us. And even though traditions can vary from family to family during this time of year, most holiday celebrations have one thing in common: an abundance of food.

It is also no secret that Christmas time can be extremely stressful for various reasons. Maybe you are struggling to make ends meet and trying to figure out how to navigate gift-giving this year, or perhaps you are often faced with family strife or drama in the weeks leading up to December 25.

No matter what brings you stress, though, you would probably like it if some of these feelings could be lifted off of your shoulders.

And according to a new study conducted by the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, altering your diet to avoid salt could be the answer.

It is currently recommended that adults consume less than six grams of salt per day. However, most people regularly exceed this recommendation and consume about nine grams.

Some impacts of salt overconsumption have been well-known, such as the diet’s ability to increase blood pressure and lead to a higher risk of strokes, heart attacks, and vascular dementia. But, scientists have yet to uncover how too much salt might impact a person’s behavior– until now.

To study this, the researchers used mice– animals that typically have a low-salt diet– and fed them a high-salt diet to mimic the normal daily human intake. They found that stress hormone levels increased by a staggering seventy-five percent.

On top of that, the mice’s hormone response to environmental stress was twice as high as the mice that consumed a normal diet, and the increased salt intake exacerbated gene activity– specifically among genes in the brain that produce proteins to control how the body responds to stressors.

“We are what we eat, and understanding how high-salt food changes our mental health is an important step to improving well-being,” said Matthew Bailey, a renal physiology professor at the University of Edinburgh Center for Cardiovascular Science.

Goffkein – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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