August 22, 2011

CANADA: Inactive seniors need to reduce salt intake

TORONTO, Ontario / Toronto Sun / Life / Health & Fitness / August 22, 2011

By Sharon Lem, Toronto Sun

High-salt diets coupled with low physical activity can be detrimental
to the mental health of those 65 and older. (QMI files)

Here's another reason for couch potatoes to lay off the salt.

Older adults who lead sedentary lives and consume a lot of salt may be at risk not only for heart disease, but cognitive decline.

A study -- published in the journal Neurobiology of Aging -- found evidence high-salt diets coupled with low physical activity can be detrimental to the mental health of those 65 and older.

"Our results show it's a combination of high salt intake and low physical activity which declined cognitive function. The message is if you're not active, make sure you cut back on your salt intake," said lead investigator Dr. Alexandra Fiocco, a scientist with Toronto's Baycrest Hospital's Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research Unit.

The study followed 1,262 healthy seniors between the ages of 67 and 84, tracking their sodium consumption and physical activity over three years.

The participants had a daily sodium intake ranging from 2,263 milligrams to 8,098 milligrams.

Participants were given an exam to measure their cognitive decline. The scores showed those with the lowest salt consumption suffered less of a cognitive decline than participants with the higher sodium intake.

Health Canada recommends people aged 14 years and older consume no more than 2,300 milligrams of salt each day.

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