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Salt could make you stupid, says research

A new research study found a strong correlation between high sodium consumption and declining cognitive function. But there's good news: you can get a free salt pass. Find out how.

saltBy Briana Rognlin for

A new study suggests that eating less salt and exercising more may keep our brains smarter longer—in case you needed further motivation to put down the Doritos and head to the gym.

This isn’t the first time that physical activity has been linked to better brain function, but the bit about sodium is something that might surprise you. Researchers didn’t investigate the mechanism by which salt makes us stupid (if that’s really true); they found a strong correlation between sedentary lifestyle, high sodium consumption and declining cognitive function. So should you put down the salt shaker?

If you love salty foods but you don’t love to exercise, the short answer is: yeah. The link between salt and brain function is hazy; researchers simply analyzed data from the Longitudinal Study on Nutrition and Successful Aging, and found a strong correlation between sodium intake, low physical activity and a decline in brain function with age. And that’s even after controlling for other factors like education level and overall diet.

The researchers don’t claim that salt itself is responsible for eroding grey matter; they mainly see it as a marker that heralds poor overall health: Sodium is linked to blood pressure, and many think it also impacts bone health and overall cardiac health.

But there is some good news in all this, especially for anyone who’s highly active. Keep reading to find out how to earn a free salt pass…

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