Choose food low in salt (sodium) and sugar
Salt - Also identified as sodium on food labels, is linked to high blood pressure in some people, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.
Reduce the amount of high-salt foods e.g. processed meats, salted nuts, chips, pickled foods, cheese, yeast spreads (e.g. marmite), some tinned foods and most take-aways. Try herbs and spices to add flavour instead of salt, soy sauce or bouillon cubes. If you do use small amounts of table salt, choose iodised table salt.
Limit high-salt foods such as ham, pastrami, pickles, marmite, vegemite, soy sauce, stock powder, gravy mix, salted nuts and crisps.
The recommended daily intake for New Zealanders is a maximum of 2300mg sodium per day (approximately a teaspoon of salt). Less is better if you have high blood pressure levels.
Sugar - Sugar is classified as a carbohydrate. Your body doesn’t need to get any carbohydrate from added sugar. This is why sugary drinks are linked to unwanted weight gain. You don’t usually get full from sugary drinks, yet they provide high levels of energy/calories adding to the total daily energy intake.
Added sugars such as table sugar, honey, raw sugar and golden syrup are low in nutrition but high in carbohydrate and energy. The body metabolises these added sugars the same way; it doesn’t distinguish, for example, between “brown sugar” and “honey.” They can quickly raise blood glucose levels and cause weight gain. Try to avoid sweet foods such as lollies, sweetened drinks, cakes and biscuits.
1 teaspoon sugar = 4 grams of carbohydrate
In March 2014, the World Health Organisation released draft guidelines suggesting a maximum of six teaspoons (approx 25 grams) per day for an adult. That's less than is typically found in a single can of regular soft drink, which can contain about 40 grams of sugar.