A recent Chinese study investigated the impact of dietary sodium, potassium, sodium to potassium ratio, and salt on the cognitive function of 4.213 people aged above 50.

Researchers found that a high intake of sodium (> 5593.2 mg/day) and a high sodium to potassium ratio (> 3.8/day) increased the risk of declined memory.

Contrariwise, higher levels of potassium intake (> 1653.3 mg/day) were related to a higher cognitive score. Interestingly, the average cognitive test score increased by ~1 point when 1000 mg/day of sodium was replaced with an equal intake of potassium.

It is worth mentioning that the results of the study are based on cognitive tests and participants’ self-reporting.

The conclusion of the study is that decreasing sodium intake, in combination with properly increasing potassium intake, can improve our brain health. In other words, the dietary sodium to potassium ratio seem to be more relevant for the functioning of our brain than 1 of these 2 elements separately.


Health Organization’s recommendation for sodium is a maximum of 1400 mg/day for people aged 50-79 years and 5 g/day of salt.

Especially high amount of sodium are in packaged and restaurant food as a result of food processing with the use of preservatives. The top 10 sources of dietary sodium are: breads/rolls; pizza; sandwiches; cold cuts/cured meats; soups; burritos, tacos; savory snacks (chips, popcorn, pretzels, crackers); chicken; cheese; eggs, omelets.

Salt, on the other hand, is what we add to our food. It is also known as sodium chloride, is about 40% sodium and 60% chloride.

As for potassium, you can find it in bananas, oranges and melons, cooked spinach and broccoli, potatoes and sweet potatoes.


Curious? HERE and HERE are the sources

Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

On my website you can find the latest scientific findings related to lifestyle and its influence on your brain health.

This reliable information is written in a compact and easy to understand way.

I hope that you’ll get motivated by my articles and will apply information in your day-to-day life to help your brain work better, to feel yourself better and to slow down your brain aging!

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