General

Salt: nature’s antidepressant?

It’s not good for our health, but may improve our mood

Eating too much salt isn’t a healthy habit, but people may crave it because it improves their mood, according to new research from the University of Iowa. When rats don’t have enough sodium chloride – common table salt – in their diet, they neglect activities that normally give them pleasure, like drinking sugary liquids or pressing a bar that stimulates pleasure in their brains, according to a study from psychologist Kim Johnson. “Things that normally would be pleasurable for rats didn’t elicit the same degree of relish, which leads us to believe that a salt deficit and the craving associated with it can induce one of the key symptoms associated with depression,” Johnson said. If salt is a natural antidepressant, it could help explain why we eat so much of it, researchers say, even though too much of it can be bad for health.

ScienceDaily

Looking for more?

Get the best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.