Patients frequently ask Elizabeth Klodas, MD, a preventive cardiologist (a clinician who helps people reduce their risk of heart disease) the same fundamental question: “What should I eat?” Given that heart disease is mainly preventable by diet and lifestyle choices, this is definitely information worth having.
Knowing what nutrients (and foods containing them) directly benefit the heart is vital, but ingesting them is what counts most. Dr. Klodas invented Step One Meals, a range of heart-healthy foods, to make this easier for individuals, especially when eating on the go.
“As a cardiologist, I took a different strategy than a regular food manufacturer,” Dr. Klodas explains. “To begin, we selected four essential nutrients for heart health that nearly no one gets enough of. Then we looked for whole food items that are particularly high in certain nutrients and used them to make our goods.”
Are you curious about the four essential nutrients and how Dr. Klodas and her team packaged them in a way that is both accessible and tasty? Continue reading to learn more about how she came up with the idea for Step One Foods and the main ingredients.
The 4 heart-healthy nutrients that many people are deficient in
Dr. Klodas said that there are four important heart-healthy nutrients that she frequently sees individuals lacking. Are you able to figure out what they are? Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and plant sterols are all found in whole foods (natural plant components that interfere with cholesterol absorption in the gut). Dr. Klodas explains, “These nutrients are crucial to achieving good cholesterol levels.”
She designed the food line to include the Big Four in every product. “We used ingredients like chia, oat bran, walnuts, and berries to make sure that every serving of every product offered precise levels of each of these four ‘building blocks of heart health’ in clinically important proportions,” she explains.
Dr. Klodas and her team ran a clinical research with the items in the line to prove that they may indeed help lower cholesterol. “We then went on to prove that our technique works by putting our foods through a randomised controlled clinical study,” she says, referring to the greatest level of scientific scrutiny usually reserved for drugs. “Not only did we choose carefully the substances to include, but we also confirmed that the combinations and amounts of ingredients we chose resulted in measurable, positive cholesterol results.” This indicates that the food line has been scientifically shown to promote heart health.
The star elements in this collection of heart-healthy foods
So, what exactly is included in the line? There is a wide variety of snack bars to pick from because the items were designed with convenience in mind. Smoothie mixes, oatmeals, and pancake mixes are also available. Oat bran, almonds, and berries, as Dr. Klodas indicated, are all constituents that appear often across the line. Antioxidants are abundant in berries, and oat bran provides a wonderful source of fibre. “Fiber also aids digestion and keeps you fuller for longer,” adds Dr. Klodas.
Dr. Klodas explains that “nuts are present in each and every one of our products since they have so many health benefits.” “Protein, healthful unsaturated fats, fibre, vitamin E, plant sterols, and L-arginine [an amino acid] are all found in nuts.” Unsaturated fats, she continues, help lower “bad” LDL cholesterol while increasing “good” HDL cholesterol. She continues, “They also help prevent abnormal cardiac rhythms, have minor blood-thinning characteristics, and are anti-inflammatory.”
Chocolate is another component that appears throughout the collection. While milk chocolate isn’t best for heart health, dark chocolate is, according to Dr. Klodas. “Chocolate flavanols in cocoa beans have antioxidant benefits that help lower blood pressure, improve vascular function, and prevent cell damage linked to heart disease,” she explains. “Chocolate has also been linked to a lower incidence of diabetes, stroke, and heart attacks.”
Dr. Klodas and her colleagues were not only conscious of the components utilised in the line, but also of the ingredients they sought to avoid, according to her. “I recently looked at the ingredient panels on some of the most popular ‘healthy’ snack bars. On the label of one bar, there were five different kinds of sugar mentioned separately “According to Dr. Klodas. She claims that eliminating high levels of sugar and artificial substances was crucial when developing each product. “We don’t use any binders or fillers. There are no ingredients that are harmful to your health “she explains.
To eat with heart health in mind, you don’t have to cling to a cardiologist-created food brand. Fruits, nuts, fish, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and yoghurt are all heart-healthy foods. However, if you’re searching for something to keep in your purse or snack drawer, this food line is for you. You may be confident that each product was carefully considered.
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