Like two sides of a coin, salt also has two faces, one that accompanies its needs in the body and the other that corresponds with its excess intake. To begin with, let’s talk about the significance of salt intake.
You need to ensure that you are taking a steady and safe amount of salt in your diet. It helps you feel less thirsty and increases your body’s water conservation. Salt also plays a crucial role in maintaining the health and functioning of the human body.
However, excess of anything is poisonous. Overconsumption of salt has increasingly become common as the intake of junk food and processed foods has increased among other facts. Mounting evidence, however, indicates that too much salt in your diet can increase the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular diseases.
What’s relatively less known is that excess salt can also impact your brain health. Having more than the recommended amount of salt in the body can culminate in concerns such as cerebrovascular disease, cognitive impairment, stroke, as well as stroke.
What does recent research say about the impact of excess salt consumption?
Recent research published in the journal Nature Neuroscience explains that intake of excess salt corresponds with cognitive insufficiencies.
Researchers explain that the negative implications of excess salt are primarily felt by the endothelial cells, present in the cerebral blood vessels. The endothelial cells line the blood vessels and are responsible for regulating vascular tone.
In the instance of high dietary salt consumption, however, endothelial cells dysfunction is common. This, in turn, affects your cognitive well-being. Research confirms that endothelial dysfunction brings forth a myriad of chronic disorders. However, it is still uncertain how salt-induced dysfunction of the endothelial impacts your brain in the long haul.
The findings of the study
The study reveals that excess salt intake impacts the gut health and weakens the immune system. Consequently, it shows its negative imprint on the cognitive well-being. As per the study, researchers gave a group of mice a diet similar to humans except that it was high in salt.
Such a dietary intake was continued for 12 weeks. After some time, the following observations were made:
-Blood flow to the brain of the mice was reduced and endothelial dysfunction could also be observed
-Behavioral tests revealed cognitive decline among the rodents
-An increase in the TH17 white blood cells in the gut
It should be kept in mind that a large increase in the number of TH17 cells can lead to a rise in the levels of interleukin-17 (IL-17) plasma levels. These are proinflammatory molecules. Therefore, such a rise in the numbers of IL-17 can reach a finale of cognitive decline and birth cerebrovascular effects.
How can you correct the problem?
This research reveals that excess intake of salt leaves negative impacts on the brain. Chiefly, the changes are due to the changes in the gut and immune system. The good news is that the researchers opine that the negative effects can be revered.
The researchers write, “The harmful effects of a high-salt diet were nullified by returning those mice to their regular diet. It points out the reversibility of cognitive impairment and vascular dysfunction.”
Therefore, taking steps to reduce the excess salt content in your diet can help reverse the cognitive impacts that it leaves. Some helpful tips in this regard include reading the food labels before picking them up to ensure that you don’t choose items with a high salt content.
At the same time, you can use fresh vegetables and fruits instead of canned versions. Also, buy fresh meat instead of packaged meat. Lastly, stay away from foods that don’t taste salty but contain high salt content. For example, limit eating cottage cheese.