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“Shake it off”: Two in five Australians think salt is heart-healthy, data says
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

“Shake it off”: Two in five Australians think salt is heart-healthy, data says

Media release - 4 March 2021

The Heart Foundation is urging Australians to “shake-off” the salt in their diets as too many people still believe it can be part of heart-healthy eating.  

The research  surveyed more than 1000 Australian adults and found two in five (40%) agreed salt is OK to flavour foods in heart-healthy eating, with a further 29 per cent who were uncertain. 

And in recent HeartWatch  data, worryingly, just two in five people (41%) were aware that poor diet increases their risks for heart disease, with males and people aged 45 or over, less likely to be aware of this risk (both 39%).

Ahead of World Salt Awareness Week (8-14 March), Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong said it was concerning that people believed salt was ok in heart-healthy eating. She warned that regularly consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure.

“High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms that you have it, but it can put you at higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. As people get older, it can increase over time,” Ms Armstrong said.

"The good news is high blood pressure can be controlled by following a heart-healthy eating pattern that is naturally low in salt, added sugars, saturated and trans fat, together with other lifestyle changes and, if advised by your doctor, taking medication.”

The best way to manage how much salt you eat is cooking fresh, heart-healthy meals with a colourful mix of vegetables, fruits and healthy wholegrains like brown rice or wholemeal couscous. Throw in some proteins that are good for your heart like fish, seafood, beans or lentils, use healthy fats and cut back on foods with hidden salt like chips, muffins or cakes.

“You don’t need to add salt to pack a flavour punch in healthy meals, as cooking with fresh or dried herbs, spices, citrus, garlic or black pepper adds a tasty tang to any dish. 

“Our tastebuds do adjust over time to less salt in foods. And creating your own pasta sauces or salad dressings rather than using store-bought versions packed with salt is not only satisfying but also helps to reduce your salt intake.

“At the Heart Foundation, we’ve created a range of delicious, heart-healthy recipes to suit all tastes that are low in salt, easy and provide practical ideas for hard-working, busy people.” 

This World Salt Awareness Week, Ms Armstrong urged people to “put away the salt shaker, channel your inner Jamie Oliver and get creative in the kitchen to give your heart a healthy boost.”

For heart-healthy recipes that pack a flavour punch but are low in salt, please visit heartfoundation.org.au or learn more about salt and heart health at heartfoundation.org.au/Heart-health-education/Salt-and-heart-health

Media enquiries
Debora McInnes, Senior Media Advisor - Nutrition
M: 0423 827 697 E: debora.mcinnes@heartfoundation.org.au

About the Heart Foundation

The Heart Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to fighting the single biggest killer of Australians – heart disease. For 60 years, it has led the battle to save lives and improve the heart health of all Australians. Its sights are set on a world where people don’t suffer or die prematurely because of heart disease.
Find out your risk of heart attack or stroke by using our Heart Age Calculator. For heart health information and support, call the Heart Foundation Helpline on 13 11 12. To find out about the Heart Foundation’s research program or to make a donation, visit www.heartfoundation.org.au



¹2019 Heart Foundation, Heart Foods Consumer Research
¹2020 Heart Foundation HeartWatch survey, December

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