I am
Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.
heartfoundation.org.au|Helpline 13 11 12

Why are you playing this game? It’s putting your heart at risk.

The game is “hide and seek”. You play it without even realising. The shock is that when you play this game, you could be placing your heart health at risk.

3 min read

We’re all playing hide and seek with salt. Every day most Australians eat nearly twice the recommended daily intake of salt. 

Eating salt increases the level of sodium in your diet. Over time, a high level of sodium in your blood can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. The danger is when your blood pressure is too high for too long; you could be at major risk for developing heart disease.   

So, what should you do? Eating less salt can be a challenge because salt is “sneaky”:  

Seventy-five percent of the salt we eat comes from processed and packaged foods. You may not realise how much salt is in the foods you eat because many of them don’t taste salty. 

This Salt Awareness Week discover ways to win the most important game of hide and seek you could ever play. 

Salt Awareness Week ran from Monday, 9 March – Sunday, 15 March; the theme for 2020 was ‘Hide and Seek’. You can act today to beat salt in a real-life game of hide and seek. Here’s how: 

Discover the secrets of food labels 

Almost all packaged foods in Australia need to have a Nutrition Information Panel on the packet. By reading the information panel, you can uncover how much salt is the food you want to buy. 

When you read this panel, it’s important to remember that the salt content of food is listed as “sodium”. 

The next secret is understanding how much salt is in certain foods and how to compare this to other products. When reading the label to choose between two sauces, for example, always check the “per 100g” column. To pick a product that is “low salt”, go for one that has less than 120mg of sodium per 100g. If you can’t find a suitable product with this level of sodium, look for something with less than 400mg of sodium per 100g; this level is also appropriate. 

You can learn more about reading food labels here. 

Spot salt that sneaks into sauces 

We all love to save time when we’re cooking, especially on a weeknight, right after we get home from work or study. To help speed things up, you might have a few bottles of pasta sauce or pesto in the cupboard to jump start your cooking  

However, not all sauces were created equal! Some pasta sauces can have up to 90 times the amount of salt of their competitors! That’s not a winning result when you’re looking to cook a quick, easy and healthy meal.  

We all face pressures of time and work-life balance, which means that it’s more than OK to have a few time-saving hacks up our sleeves. Plus, home cooking is usually healthier than high salt takeaway foods. Remember the advice we shared above: always read the label when picking up a few bottles for your stash of sauces. 

Peer into the perils of packaged foods 

We know that packaged foods can help you save time, and they give you quick and easy access to something to eat when your tummy unexpectedly starts to rumble. Packaged foods are often on hand at school or work, or when we head out for a day trip or to a sports game. Just like the other foods mentioned in this blog, these foods, including healthy-looking dips and cheeses, can be made with too much salt. 

To avoid the salt in packaged foods, the best option is often in choosing healthy, fresh alternatives like unsalted nuts or fresh fruits and vegetables.  

Even more ways to swap the salt

Discover heart-healthy and delicious recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. 

Next time you play hide and seek with salt, play to win! Your heart will thank you for it. 

You might also be interested in

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

4 tips to keep your heart healthy while working from home

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

What's your BMI?

Are you within a healthy weight range for your height?...

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Women and heart disease

Information on women and heart disease for consumers....

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Tasty recipes to start the day | Breakfast Recipe Booklet

Have an easy and delicious start to your day. Get your free copy now....

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

Are you at risk of heart disease?

There is no single cause for any one heart condition, but there are risk factors that increase your chance of developing one. ...

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

Chimichurri sauce

5 minutes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Heart Foundation recipes

Search all of our heart healthy recipes ...

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Key healthy eating messages for heart attack recovery 

Eating healthy foods can help you recover and reduce your risk of more heart problems. ...

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab helped get his life back on track. ...

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Cholesterol and triglycerides action plan

Key steps that can help you manage your cholesterol and triglyceride levels....

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Heart Health Check Toolkit

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Environment, climate change and heart health

Information on how air pollution, heatwaves and bushfires can impact heart health, and what you can do to look after yourself. ...

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Heart Age Calculator

Could you be at risk of heart disease? Get your estimated heart age now....

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Confidential. Personal. Reliable.

Got a question about your heart?...

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

Chest x-ray for heart disease

This test can help your doctor determine if there is anything wrong with your heart....

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving program

Workplace giving is a simple and tax effective way for employees to make regular donations to a cause they care about. ...

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

What is acute rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease?

Rheumatic heart disease is a serious disease that causes damage to your heart valves. ...

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Cardiac arrest at 33: the challenges of restarting your life

Emma shares her story and opens up about her emotional struggles....

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Salad recipes

Search through our tasty salad recipes...

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Award

Mushroom, feta and thyme omelette

Mushroom, feta and thyme omelette

Mushroom, feta and thyme omelette

10 minutes
Serves 1

Italian fish parcels

Italian fish parcels

Italian fish parcels

20 minutes
Serves 4

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

What is a heart attack?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease....

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

Cardiac Rehabilitation for Health Professionals - Patient Resources

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

GLOBAL CARDIOVASCULAR RESEARCH FUNDERS FORUM

FACILITATING INTERNATIONAL CLINICAL TRIALS ...

How we fought heart disease in 2020

How we fought heart disease in 2020

How we fought heart disease in 2020

Everything we do is possible thanks to the generosity of our supporters. ...

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

What is heart disease?

Heart disease is the broad term for conditions that affect the structure and function of the heart muscle. ...

Types of physical activity

Types of physical activity

Types of physical activity

Nine out of 10 Australians could reduce the risk of heart disease by walking as little as 15 minutes more each day....

You’re probably not eating enough fish – here’s what you should do.

You’re probably not eating enough fish – here’s what you should do.

You’re probably not eating enough fish – here’s what you should do.

Fish and seafood is one of the most beneficial sources of omega 3. Incorporating more of it into your eating pattern can significantly lower your chances of heart disease and stroke. ...

Templates integrated in Best Practice software

Templates integrated in Best Practice software

Popular Heart Health Check templates – CVD risk assessment and management plan – are directly accessible from within Bp Premier ...

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

$8 million for research into Australia's biggest killer - heart disease

Media release - 3 June 2021...

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Taking your heart medicines

Know what your heart medicines are for and how to take them. ...

Atrial fibrillation resources for patients

Atrial fibrillation resources for patients

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

Chicken fajitas

20 minutes
Serves 4

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril credits cardiac rehab for getting his life back

Cyril suffered a heart attack in 2015. Cardiac rehab helped get his life back on track. ...

Nourishing chicken soup

Nourishing chicken soup

Nourishing chicken soup

1 hour
Serves 6

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

Cardiac Rehabilitation Advocacy

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Cardiac rehabilitation resources for healthcare providers

Useful cardiac rehabilitation resources for health professionals....

Moroccan chickpea tagine

Moroccan chickpea tagine

25-40 minutes
Serves 4

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

Find a cardiac rehabilitation service near you

This directory presents information on cardiac rehab programs offered across Australia....