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4th-picnicNot only is Independence Day is a time to celebrate an important step for our great nation, but the laidback long weekend is perfect for picnics, parties and backyard barbecues with friends and family. As you’re planning the menu, here are 4 tips—plus 3 easy-to-prepare recipes—for making your 4th of July gathering as heart-healthy as it is delicious:

  1. Add a Little Surf to Your Turf. Before you fire up the grill, consider adding some healthy seafood options. Fatty fish such as salmon and herring are rich in Omega-3 fatty acids shown to support heart health, and grilled shrimp offer a light and healthy lean protein option. Get creative with herbs, spices and fresh citrus for a burst of summer flavor.
  2. Opt for a Better Burger. Sometimes only a juicy burger will do, so just be sure to select grass-fed ground beef and stick to healthy portion sizes (experts say about 3 ounces for lean meat and poultry). Before grilling, add spices or chopped onions and peppers for an extra kick, and be sure to have plenty of leafy greens on hand for topping; kale is a great choice because it’s loaded with heart-smart nutrients like fiber, potassium, vitamin K and Omega-3s.
  3. Heart-Healthier Sides Make a Difference. Instead of starchy potato and pasta salads (remember: starchy carbs break down into sugar, and sugar is bad for your heart), lighten up your sides by offering grilled veggie kebabs, lighter salads and slaws (see Jicama Beet Salad recipe below), and plenty of raw, non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits for easy snacking. Did you know that cherries are high in potassium, which promotes healthy blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of stroke?
  4. Go Nuts. Say goodbye to greasy chips and processed snack mixes—nuts are the way to go for heart health! Not only do they provide plenty of healthy fats and fiber, but they also contain vitamin E, beneficial amino acids, potassium and more to promote healthy cholesterol levels and help reduce the risk of coronary artery disease. Fill snack bowls with almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews and pistachios—just make sure they’re raw and not covered in sugar and salt, which can undermine their heart health benefits.

Fire up the Grill! 3 Healthful & Delicious 4th of July Recipes:

Grilled Shrimp & Veggie Kebabs
(This recipe serves 2 but is easy to double or triple)

Ingredients (kebabs):
½ lb. shrimp (approx. 20), peeled and deveined
1 large onion, quartered and cut into thick slices
1 large red bell pepper, cut into large slices
1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into large slices
10 cherry tomatoes

Ingredients (dressing):
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. fresh parsley, minced
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Directions: Soak wooden skewers in water for 10 minutes (to prevent burning during cooking). Thread shrimp and veggies onto skewers. In a small bowl, whisk together lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, parsley and black pepper. Drizzle dressing over kabobs. Grill over medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Serve hot.

Sweet & Spicy Grilled Salmon
(This recipe serves 2 but is easy to double or triple)

Ingredients:
Two 3-oz. wild salmon fillets
1 tbsp. olive oil
¼ cup chives, finely chopped

Ingredients (wet rub):
1 tsp. soy sauce
½ tsp. honey
½ tsp. fresh ginger, grated
½ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ tsp. blackstrap molasses
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
Pinch of salt

Directions: Wash salmon and pat dry. In a small bowl, combine all wet rub ingredients except black pepper. Glaze top of fish liberally with wet rub; dust with black pepper. Grill at medium-high heat until salmon just starts to release its fat and/or the flesh flakes easily (about 10 to 15 minutes for a 1-inch-thick fillet). Remove from grill and serve immediately.

Jicama Beet Salad
Serves 4

Ingredients:
½ large jicama
1 red beet
1 golden beet
1 tbsp. lime juice
½ tsp. fresh ginger, minced
Salt to taste

Directions: Peel and julienne jicama and beets; place in large bowl. Add lime juice, ginger and salt; mix well. Set aside at least 20 minutes before serving.

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lady-sittingBeach weather is calling—now is the time to slim down and shape up for summer. The good news is you don’t need to rely on harmful fad diets or deprive yourself of your favorite foods just to shed those few extra pounds. Here are three simple and healthful ways to slim down and achieve a healthy body weight in time for summer.

  1. Jumpstart Weight Loss with Cleansing: Your body is exposed to harmful toxins every day, and those toxins love to hang out in fat cells—which means the more fat cells you have, the more toxins your body will retain. As you lose weight, those toxins are drawn out and released into the bloodstream where they can impede your weight loss efforts by slowing down metabolism and making it harder to burn fat. ReNew Life offers a full selection of natural herbal cleanses and weight loss support formulas designed to help eliminate toxins and waste, promote the use of stored fat for energy, and increase lean body mass.‡
  2. Curb Cravings with Fiber: We know from Brenda Watson’s The Fiber35 Diet that fiber has unique appetite-suppressing properties; it expands in the stomach, taking up more space, which helps you feel full.‡ It also slows the digestive process to help you stay satisfied longer after eating and triggers the release of a hormone called cholecystokinin, which tells the brain the stomach is full.‡ And just recently, experts at the Imperial College London discovered that the body produces a certain chemical after eating fiber which alters the brain cells that control hunger, prompting us to eat less.‡ Aim for at least 35 grams of fiber daily from non-starchy veggies and low-sugar fruits, along with a natural fiber supplement to help curb appetite.‡

 Lose the Excuses and Get Active: A healthy body weight and regular exercise go hand in hand. It’s just that simple. Fortunately, one of the best things about summer is that the warm weather and extra hours of sunlight offer endless possibilities for outdoor activity—which means if going to the gym has gotten a little stale, now is your chance to get out there and get active! Active muscles suck up extra blood sugar, break down fat and increase metabolism, so make it a point to exercise at least 30 minutes a day, five times a week. A mix of aerobic activity and resistance training is ideal, with some stretching and/or yoga included.

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‡These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. The material on this page is for consumer informational and educational purposes only, under section 5 of DSHEA.

Disclaimer: Nothing in this website is intended as, or should be construed as, medical advice. Consumers should consult with their own health care practitioners for individual, medical recommendations. The information in this website concerns dietary supplements, over-the-counter products that are not drugs. Our dietary supplement products are not intended for use as a means to cure, treat, prevent, diagnose, or mitigate any disease or other medical or abnormal condition.

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