High salt intake linked to elevated stress levels

AGE FOTOSTOCK

A diet containing lots of salty food has been linked to higher levels of stress.

Following studies of mice, researchers from the University of Edinburgh reported that animals consuming a high-salt diet had a 75 per cent increase in levels of a stress hormone.

"We are what we eat and understanding how high-salt food changes our mental health is an important step to improving wellbeing," said Professor Matthew Bailey. "We know that eating too much salt damages our heart, blood vessels and kidneys. This study now tells us that high salt in our food also changes the way our brain handles stress."

Going forward, the team hopes that there will be a review conducted into salt levels in food, specifically around the amount in processed options.

They also want to understand if high salt intake leads to other behavioural changes such as anxiety and aggression.

"The recommended salt intake for adults is less than six grams a day but most people regularly eat about nine grams," the study authors continued. "This can contribute to higher blood pressure, which increases the risks of heart attacks, strokes and vascular dementia."

Full study results have been published in Cardiovascular Research.