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Salt Isn’t Only Bad for the Heart but Also for the Brain

Edited By: Natalie Smith


 It’s long been known that too much salt intake is linked to an increase in blood pressure leading to a likelier risk of heart attack or stroke, but now there’s another reason why it is recommended to stay away from this white seasoning as much as possible. In a study conducted at the Feil Family Brain and Mind Research Institute in New York, high salt consumption was associated with memory and learning difficulties, and the surprising thing is that this problem is due to the brain's connection to the intestines.

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The new connection found between the brain and the intestines

When researchers examined the reason behind their study results, which showed that the brain suffered damage after consuming a lot of salt, they found that there was a connection between the small intestine and the brain. The high amount of salt consumed stimulated immune changes in the small intestine, which led to poor blood flow to the brain, thereby impairing cognitive functioning.

If you’ve reached middle age, we have bad news for you - the harmful effect on the brain worsens as the years pass. However, there’s also some good news - when you stop consuming a lot of salt the brain returns to normal function.

So, how can you continue to consume salt and prevent its harmful effects?

You may think that this study’s motive is to encourage people to stop consuming salt, but it really isn’t. You just have to know how to consume it in moderation and in the right quantity for your body. The American Heart Association recommends consuming 2,300 mg of sodium per day or less, which is about a teaspoon of salt, but most people consume more, not necessarily because they add salt to their food, but because a lot of processed food comes packed with sodium. You’re probably consuming more salt than you think and need:

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  • Bread - One slice may not seem to contain too much salt, but it contains 230 mg of sodium, multiply it by the number of slices you eat per day and you’ll find that you consume far more salt than you think.
  • Pizza - One slice of pizza can contain 760 mg of sodium, but rarely is anyone ever satisfied with only one?
  • Instant soups and meals - Within a few minutes, you can prepare yourself a serving of about 940 mg of sodium or more, so make sure to check the sodium content before buying these products. Giving them up altogether would be the smart move here.
  • Cold cuts - 3 grams of turkey cold cuts will put 780 mg of sodium in your body, and the same amount of salami will add about 1,300 mg of sodium to your diet, so it’s recommended to give up the cold cuts.
  • Cottage cheese – There’s no need to throw this commodity out of the house, but you should reduce how much you eat of it. One cup of cottage cheese contains 920 mg of sodium, so it is recommended to consume less than this cheese or at least look for its lowered or sodium-free version.
In addition to this, when you cook food at home, control the amount of salt you add to it. If you feel that your food is lacking flavor, add more seasoning ingredients, such as spices or herbs. Click here to learn about all the different spices and how to use them!
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