You already know it’s best to lay off high-salt foods, but you also need to be on the lookout for less obvious foods that are loaded with sodium.

We all like sodium chloride, also known as common table salt, but sometimes we can eat too much of it. Unfortunately for savoury food fans, a diet high in sodium can wreak havoc on your health. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, excess sodium increases your blood volume and with it, your blood pressure. Chronic high blood pressure can increase your risk of serious conditions like heart disease and stroke.

We do need sodium though, for important bodily functions like maintaining good fluid balance, transmitting nerve impulses, and moving our muscles. So how much sodium can you safely eat each day? The latest dietary guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommend keeping sodium levels below 2,300 milligrams (mg), or just 1 teaspoon (tsp), per day. A limit of 1,500 mg could benefit you even more, but if either of those aren’t possible for you at the moment, even cutting back by 1,000 mg could improve your blood pressure.

While most people already know it’s best to steer clear of salty foods, from canned veggies to everyday bread, there are secret salt mines to beware of.

1. Food From The Deli Is Doused In Sodium

“There are plenty of hidden sources of sodium in our diets,” says Lanah J. Brennan, RDN, a registered dietitian based in Lafayette, Louisiana. “Sliced deli meats and hot dogs are packed with sodium.” One hot dog can contain as much as 700 mg of sodium, while just two slices of regular deli ham can have close to 250 mg. “Choose fresh meat or fish instead,” she advises.

Also check the nutrition labels of raw meats; sometimes they can be “plumped” with a sodium solution to help retain moisture that nonetheless can quintuple their salt content.

2. Your Breakfast Cereal Might Be Seriously Salty

The average American consumes more than 3,000 mg of sodium per day, according to the FDA, and cereals and other processed foods account for a large majority of their sodium intake. One cup of cornflakes can have almost 270 mg of sodium per serving, which can add up quickly if you aren’t measuring portion sizes. And other processed breakfast foods are even worse: Premade pancake mixes can have more than 450 mg per serving. “Instead,” Brennan says, “try making your own mixes from scratch using low-sodium baking powder and baking soda.”

3. Store Vegetable Juice Can Be A Liquid Salt Mine

Even a healthy-sounding option like vegetable juice (in a bottle or can) can be high in salt. That’s why it’s important to read labels closely. Sodium content is listed per serving size; to be considered a low-sodium serving, it should be 140 mg or less, per the National Academy of Sciences. Even a can of tomato juice can be a mini sodium bomb, with more than 900 mg per 11.5-ounce (oz) serving. Your best bet is to squeeze your own fresh vegetable juice – a medium tomato has only 6 mg of sodium, per the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

4. Canned Soup and Vegetables Contain Untold Salt

Anything in a can, from soup to tomatoes, could harbour high sodium shenanigans. “Check all those can labels, and choose products with less sodium per serving,” says Brennan. A classic 10.5-oz can of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup contains 2,225 mg of sodium, for instance – basically your entire daily allowance. On the other hand, you can make your own soup using low-sodium broth and fresh ingredients.

5. Flavour Packets and Condiments are Teeming With Salt

Instead of using the salty flavour packets that come in boxes of macaroni and rice dishes, make your own flavourings with fresh ingredients. By using fresh herbs and spices, you can infuse plenty of flavour into your dishes without any additional sodium. Consider seasoning your meals with lemon juice, ground pepper, cumin, garlic, onion powder, and fresh herbs.

Also, be careful about pouring on condiments. Ketchup and tomato sauce has about 150 mg of sodium per tablespoon (tbsp), and soy sauce can pack almost a whopping 1,000 mg of sodium per tbsp. You can also find lower-sodium versions of condiments if you look.

To lower your sodium intake, buy your vegetables fresh instead of from a can, and be sure to rinse all canned veggies you do have to remove excess sodium before eating. Half a cup of raw carrots has only 45 mg of sodium, and a cup of green beans has just 6 mg. You may also be able to find low-sodium versions of some canned foods or some with no salt added.

6. Frozen Meals Can Be Freakishly Salty

The frozen foods section of your grocery store can be another hiding place for salt. A single slice of a frozen pizza can contain 720 mg of sodium – and who eats just one? All that excess salt causes your body to retain fluid, which will not only leaving you feeling bloated, it can also lead to high blood pressure. Look for low-sodium options, or better yet, cook your own meals from scratch in bulk, and freeze leftovers for days you don’t feel like cooking.

7. Spaghetti Sauce is Sneakily Salty

Spaghetti may make a frequent appearance in your dinner rotation, but if you are worried about your sodium intake, you might want to rethink how you prepare the dish. One cup of spaghetti sauce can have a sodium content of nearly 1,000 mg. If you’re a fan of meat sauce, you also have to factor in the additional sodium coming from the sausage or meatballs. As an alternative, make your own spaghetti sauce from ripe plum tomatoes and fresh basil and garlic. You can also toss spaghetti with fresh veggies and olive oil for a healthy, no-sauce dish.

8. Bread and Tortillas Bristle With The Briny Stuff

When it comes to breads, rolls, and tortillas, once again, you need to read the labels carefully. Don’t assume that all grains are the same. One 6-inch flour tortilla can contain more than 400 mg of sodium, and that number jumps to more than 500 mg for a 10-inch tortilla. Instead, choose plain corn tortillas, which contain just 15 mg of sodium in two 6-inch rounds. And if you’re grilling, a hamburger bun can add an additional 200 mg of sodium to your meal. Instead, try swapping in a lettuce wrap or portobello mushroom bun for added nutrients and flavour, without any extra sodium.

9. Your Dairy Might Dance In Salt

Dairy can be a good source of calcium and vitamin D, but some products may not be a smart choice when it comes to managing high blood pressure. Some dairy foods like cottage cheese, buttermilk, and processed cheeses can be high in salt. For a lower-sodium option, choose fresh mozzarella with 85 mg of sodium per oz or Swiss cheese with less than 40 mg per slice.

10. Some Seafoods Are Saturated In Sodium

Seafood is a great addition to a heart-healthy diet. When prepared in a healthy way, seafood may help lower cholesterol, which in turn helps improve heart health. But you need to choose your seafood wisely, since options like shellfish and canned tuna fish are high in salt. Five oz of canned tuna has more than 300 mg of sodium, and 3 oz of frozen shrimp can have more than 400 mg. Better seafood choices include fresh tuna, salmon, halibut, and haddock.

“The bottom line on hidden food sources of sodium is to check your labels and choose products with less than 140 mg per serving,” says Brennan. And choose fresh, whole foods as often as possible.