Want to unwind? Don’t just pour yourself a drink — pour yourself some salt.
A new study finds that this essential mineral might help you to relax, lower stress levels and beat social anxiety problems.
And yes, this is the same stuff your doc is telling you to avoid!
Researchers from the University of Cincinnati fed some rats a sodium chloride solution and tormented them a little: In one experiment, they were restrained… and in another, they were dumped into a cage with unfamiliar rats.
Then, the researchers put rats with normal salt levels through the same experiments.
The salty rats did better by just about every measure: When restrained, they had lower levels of the stress hormone angiotensin II, higher levels of the feel-good hormone oxytocin, better heart rates and lower blood pressure than rats that didn’t get extra salt.
That’s right — LOWER blood pressure levels than rats that didn’t get the salt.
The salt-fed rats also returned to normal BP levels and heart rates more quickly than those without salt.
And when they were put into cages with unfamiliar rats, the salted rats were quick to make new friends.
Maybe that explains the whole salt-on-the-margarita-glass thing among humans.
Rats with normal salt levels, on the other hand, were like the new kid in class: edgy, anxious and alone.
It would be easy to dismiss this if this was the first and only study of its kind — but it’s not.
In a study last year, researchers found that rats with low levels of salt become withdrawn, avoiding things they enjoy like sugary drinks or buttons that provide stimulation.
I don’t know if salt has as big an impact on stress and mood in humans as it does in rats… but it would explain why people on low-salt diets become moody and irritable.