A high-salt diet can overtime lead to decline in cognitive function by causing a deficiency of nitric oxide, vital for maintaining vascular health in the brain, according to a new study in mice from Weill Cornell Medicine researchers.
Too low level of nitric oxide can lead to chemical changes in the protein tau in the brain, contributing to dementia.
This adds on to the fact that eating a High-salt diet isn’t only bad for your blood pressure.
Most cells in the human body produce nitric oxide, which is very important for blood vessel health. The compound works by dilating blood vessels, something that improves blood flow and decreases blood pressure, two things that are very important for protecting the brain and cognitive performance, as well as heart health.
Eating foods high in salt, may cause a drop in the amount of nitric oxide found in the body. When this happens, protein in the brain called tau may undergo a chemical change that causes it to start accumulating. This accumulation has been linked to cognitive issues and the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
Low Sodium Cooking at Home:
- Make use of onions, garlic, herbs, spices, citrus juices and vinegars in place of some or all the salt to add flavor.
- Drain and rinse canned beans (like chickpeas, kidney beans, etc.) and vegetables. You’ll cut the sodium by up to 40 percent.
- Combine lower-sodium versions of food with regular versions. If you don’t like the taste of lower-sodium foods right now, try combining them in equal parts with a regular version of the same food. You’ll get less salt and probably won’t notice much difference in taste. This works especially well for broths, soups and tomato-based pasta sauces.
- Cook pasta, rice and hot cereal without salt. You’re likely going to add other flavorful ingredients, so you won’t miss the salt.
- Cook by grilling, braising, roasting, searing and sautéing to bring out natural flavors. This will reduce the need to add salt.
- Incorporate foods with potassium like sweet potatoes, potatoes, greens, tomatoes and lower-sodium tomato sauce, white beans, kidney beans, non-fat yogurt, oranges, bananas and cantaloupe. Potassium helps counter the effects of sodium and may help lower your blood pressure.
With less salt, you can taste your food’s natural flavour.