North Americans have grown more health conscious than ever before. Fears of what’s in the water we drink, the GMOs we devour, the burgers we make condescending documentaries about are on the rise. But none of these efforts change the fact that, eventually, things will go wrong. And it’s often unexpected and without logic – a man who consumes nothing but cigarettes, bacon and beers his whole life can somehow survive well into their 80s; a man in perfect health can drop dead while jogging in his 40s. The best we can all do is live our lives the best we know how and just be pleasantly overjoyed by the little surprises life affords us.

One of the silent killers the news often tries to scare the middle class about is the risk of high blood pressure. Roughly 32% of adult Americans suffer from high blood pressure, and in 2014 it was the root cause of death for approximately 1,100 deaths a day. That’s a cost to health care of $48.6 billion a year. So perhaps the news is right to concern the average citizen about the dangers or hypertension.

There are, however, ways to safeguard yourself from the risk a sudden heart attack due to high blood pressure symptoms and signs. Ideally, a steady diet filled with appropriate food are a good start. However, there are others you definitely want to avoid, such as these eight worst foods for high blood pressure:

1. The Salt Crisis

Salt is the unsuspecting murder-condiment for those with high blood pressure, the one you most likely never see coming. The Mayo Clinic recommends you consume only 1500 milligrams of sodium per day. The average citizen eats more than twice that amount, around 3400 milligrams. It’s easy to understand why in a culture so driven by junk food.

Most fast foods are loaded with sodium to further keep customers coming back. About 75 per cent of sodium comes from processed foods and places such as MacDonald’s. If you want to improve your health, avoid these worst foods for high blood pressure.

2. Deli Meat

Cured deli meats are often cured with loads of sodium, particularly the heavier cold cuts. It doesn’t help that the average foodie will load such sandwiches with cheese, heavy bread and pickles. Suddenly calling Subway the healthy alternative sounds like false advertising.

3. Frozen Pizza

You’ve just got in after a hard day at the office to your bachelor apartment and you are, to put simply, wiped out. All you have the energy for is to pull out a frozen pizza and flip on the oven. But any pizza, no matter the topping is loaded with cheese and bread crust. Add to that the occasional cured meat and you’re suddenly holding a round, delicious, misshapen circle of death.

Worse, once frozen pizza undergoes cooking, manufacturers load it with sodium to preserve the flavor while it sits frozen for weeks on end. It may be difficult to pry yourself away from that pizza slice, but avoid these worst foods for high blood pressure.

4. Pickles

We briefly touched about pickles before, but it’s worth mentioning, as any preserved food contains loads of sodium. Salt can take even something as innocuous as a cucumber and make it a round killing machine.

5. Canned Soups

Soups always seem as though they’re the healthy alternative to a side of fries at a restaurant. Clearly, you’re health conscious and educated because you’re opting out of the fat race. But be careful what kind of soup you eat, as those directly from a can have as much as 90 mg of sodium in just a half a can.

6. Sugar

Mounds of white gold – the legal kind – has always had a link to poor health, leading to obesity, acne and even poor dental care. A high sugar intake can also lead to high blood pressure, particularly when mixed in soft drinks. A good rule of thumb: if your sugar intake is leading or contributing to obesity, it’s likely causing high blood pressure as well.

7. Chicken Skin

Many fans of a nice, roast chicken enjoy breasts with the skin on, adding in an extra flavor otherwise absent. But skin will also boost your intake of trans and saturated fats, two enjoyable terms the morbidly obese of the world should get familiar with. Consumption of a great deal of trans fats is a direct path to increased LDL cholesterol (i.e. The bad kind).

8. Alcohol

This one sounds obvious, but the main reason for alcohol affecting your blood pressure isn’t necessarily what you may expect. Alcohol will prevent the high blood pressure medication your doctor prescribed from doing its job. Having more than three drinks in one sitting, according to the Mayo clinic, also can lead to a dangerous spike in blood press.