Heart experts are urging Aussies to "shake-off" the salt in their diets, with many people still thinking salt can be part of heart-healthy eating.
According to Heart Foundation research, which surveyed more than 1000 Australian adults, two in five (40 per cent) agreed salt is OK to flavour foods in heart-healthy eating, with a further 29 per cent who were uncertain.
And in separate recent HeartWatch data from the Heart Foundation, just two in five people (41 per cent) were aware that poor diet increases their risks for heart disease, with men and people aged 45 or over, less likely to be aware of this risk (both 39 per cent).
Ahead of World Salt Awareness Week, March 8-14, Heart Foundation dietitian Sian Armstrong said it was concerning 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."
She said 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."
The Heart Foundation has a range of heart-healthy recipes to suit all tastes that are low in salt. For more recipes click HERE.
For details about healthy salt consumption, click HERE