Health tips — October 2014

Consuming more salt may stave off stress and how interpersonal conflict may increase hypertension.

Grab the saltshaker

Looking for a reason to indulge this Thanksgiving? According to research published in the journal Appetite, eating salty foods may help stave off stress. The University of Haifa study looked at US data on 10,000 individuals and found that rates of depression and stress were higher among those who consumed less salt, with the effect being even more pronounced for women. The researchers suggest that salt cravings may be a biological defence against stress.

Bad blood can lead to high blood pressure

Interpersonal conflict may increase the risk of hypertension in older adults, research from Carnegie Mellon University finds. The study of 1,502 healthy adults aged 50 and older tallied the number of negative interactions — e.g., excessive demands, criticism or disappointment — with partners, family and friends. Blood pressure was taken at the initial assessment and four years later. Those with a greater frequency of adverse social encounters were more likely to develop hypertension within the four-year period — but only if those negative interactions were between friends and extended family. Poor relations between partners and children did not make a difference.