‘Renew You’ Challenge – Are you one of those people that adds salt to everything? You might want to pay attention. According to a study done in 2009, the average daily salt intake for adults in the U.S. is about 3,400mg per day, and more than 70% of people over the age of 20 have an increased risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure). For those folks, the general recommendation is no more than 1,500mg of salt daily—less than half of what they’re actually eating!

Because a lot of people are talking about salt these days—why we crave it, if we need it, what we can use instead—the DASH Diet is getting a lot of attention. DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension” and it’s not just about eating less salt. The DASH Diet also incorporates more fruits and veggies into the diet, and fewer fats and sweets.

So, (and yes, you knew I was going to say it) this week I want you to try to lower your salt intake, and hopefully you’ll stick with it even after the week is over. Start slowly, choosing low-sodium options when available, and instead of reaching for the salt shaker, experiment with different seasonings like garlic or even a low-sodium salt substitute. You may just find something you really like!

And the next time someone asks if you want fries with that? Have the willpower to say no… and take the opportunity to add more veggies to your diet!