It looks more and more like the key to short-term health is exercise. Exercising helps conceal some of the unhealthy food choices that make American life so decadent and satisfying. Who doesn’t want to at least try a couple of celebrity chef Paula Deen’s delectable treats?

A study claims consuming too much salt while living a sedentary lifestyle will eventually destroy one’s brain. It is well known that salt wreaks havoc of one’s heart, but researchers assert that their three-year study of more than 1,200 people links sodium-heavy diets and an exercise-free life with cognitive decline in old age.

According to ABC News, which quotes study author Carol Greenwood, a nutrition scientist and interim director of the Baycrest Kunin-Lunenfeld Applied and Evaluative Research in Toronto, humans that eat too much salt will find themselves in an unhealthy position if they don’t exercise:

“People who were physically active were protected, regardless of their sodium intake,” said Greenwood. “What’s important is maintaining the integrity of the cardiovascular system, and the benefits of exercise are going to outweigh any negative effects we see with salt.”

Now just imagine if one exercises and reduces his sodium intake. Even though this study is purely observational, which means its investigator has no control over the study’s subjects, cutting salt from one’s diet by eliminating processed foods will always help maintain optimal health when exercise is not an option.

For a variety of reasons, not everyone has the time to dedicate to exercise everyday, so eating a diet full of fruit and vegetables, which reduces salt and increases the ideal balance of potassium to sodium, will help keep one healthy until she is ready to pick up an exercise regimen again.

“The reality is that excess sodium affects not only blood pressure but bone health, and probably cardiac health overall,” said Dr. David Katz, director of Medical Studies in Public Health at Yale University. “And further, it tends to be a marker of an overly processed diet that is itself harmful in a variety of ways.”


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