Despite health risks, Americans won't lay off the salt

Despite health risks, Americans won't lay off the salt »Play Video

EUGENE, Ore. - Lay off the salt.

That's the government warning coming out of a new report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

The CDC says 99 percent of people who could benefit from a salt-restricted diet are eating way too much of it. That group consists of people over the age of 51, African Americans and chronic disease sufferers.

So with the risk of high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, why can't we stop?

Issac Boatright advises customers on their food choices at the Kiva Grocery Store in Eugene.

"I personally prefer sea salt," he told KVAL News as he explained different kinds of salt.

Salt, the same compound known to preserve food and intensify flavor, can quickly "dull" our tastebuds.

Boatright said it's more common than a lot of people think. "You get used to eating really salty things and it does kind of make it so you don't notice other flavors as much, because the salt is so intense."

One thing you want to watch out for is sodium in things like canned soup. For example, a popular brand of minestrone had 1,260 milligrams of sodium, which is nearly two-thirds of what you should be having each day.

Nutritionists also suggest swapping out your favorite salty snacks for healthier alternatives. Instead of chips, try unsalted pretzels.

Canned vegetables usually have salt in the water, so buy frozen. They're usually the same price and don't have excess salt mixed in.

"Cutting back isn't the only option," Boatright added. "Sodium and potassium balance each other, and you can get potassium in fruit."

Eating fruit like bananas is a quick, inexpensive way to naturally lower your sodium intake.