Most of us know to avoid excess salt in our diets [high levels of salt in our diets raises blood pressure, which can contribute to strokes and heart disease]. But a new study from the federal Centers For Disease Control and Prevention says many foods have high levels of salt we're not even aware of!

Healthy adults are advised to take in no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, or about a teaspoon [those with diabetes, kidney disease, or heart issues should use only 1,500 milligrams per day].Unfortunately, the average intake per day is 3,300 milligrams! The problem doesn't seem to be added salt, put on when we eat, or even salty snacks [which come in at #10 inthe research]The study notes that 10 common foods are responsible for more than 40% of the salt Americans take in each day.

The worst culprit? Breads and rolls. They're responsible for 7.4% of the salt we take in each day. Lunchmeats [heavily salted]come in at #2, followed by pizza [salts in the sauce, the cheese, and any meat used as a "side"], poultry [sometimes injected with saline as a preservative], and soups [flavoring and preservatives]

Sandwiches [bread, cheese, and lunchmeats] come in at #6. Then there's cheeses, pasta dishes, and meat dishes. Popcorn, potato chips, salted nuts and other snacks are at #10, because we don't usually eat them every day.

How can you avoid excess salt? Most experts say the keys are knowledge [reading nutritional labels on food packages] and control [eating smaller portions]. Ignoring the salt shaker on the restaurant table [or removing them from your table at home] certainly helps as well.

(stltoday.com, nydailynews.com, huffingtonpost.com