You’re probably aware that a diet high in salt is bad for blood pressure, but new information indicates it might be a problem for the brain, too. In a recent study, researchers determined that there may be a link between consuming too much salt and impaired memory and cognitive abilities.
About the Study
This particular study was conducted on mice, but previous studies conducted on humans have also indicated a connection between salt consumption and the brain. In the current study, researchers fed mice salt in quantities of eight to sixteen times higher than they normally ate. Eight to twelve weeks into the study, the mice began to have difficulties telling objects they were familiar with apart. They also had more trouble getting through mazes. This demonstrates problems with both memory and thinking.
The study’s lead researcher stated that if you attributed those kinds of problems to a human, it would be an indicator of severe dementia. The person would have trouble completing activities of daily living. He agreed that the amount of salt the mice were given was excessive, but also pointed out that many Americans have no idea how much salt they are actually eating since there is so much sodium hidden in many of the foods we eat, like restaurant and processed foods.
High Salt Foods to Avoid
The recommended daily allowance of salt is 2,300 mg, which is approximately a teaspoon of salt. However, it’s even better to aim for 1,500 mg or less for older adults. You might think your aging relative eats a fairly healthy diet, but you might be surprised by what you’d find if you were to track their salt intake. Some of the foods we think of as healthy, or at least acceptable, are filled with salt. Some surprising high sodium foods include:
- Lunchmeat and Processed Meat: A single hotdog contains 700 mg of sodium and a slice of deli ham as around 300 mg.
- Cereal: A cup of cornflakes contains 300 mg of salt.
- Tomato Juice: An 8-ounce serving can contain 700 mg of sodium.
- Canned Soup: Some cans of soup can contain 1,300 mg of sodium.
- Condiments: Ketchup contains 150 mg of sodium per tablespoon and soy sauce contains 1,000 mg per tablespoon.
If you’re concerned about the amount of salt in your senior relative’s diet, a senior care provider can help them to cut the salt. A senior care provider can prepare healthy meals with a reduced salt content. Senior care providers can help the older adult to make good choices for snacks and drinks that don’t contain as much sodium. And, if your loved one has been diagnosed with high blood pressure, a senior care provider can remind them to take their medications.
If you or an aging loved one are considering senior care in Manchester, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
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