Every Ingredient Matters

We’ve all know we should read the nutritional panel before buying food. But how many of us know the ingredient list is even more important?

The ingredient list is where you’ll find the truly helpful information, because it tells you exactly what you’ll be eating.

At Step One Foods we use ingredients that are scientifically proven to have a cardiovascular benefit. In fact, more than 300 studies back-up our ingredient lists. Here’s interesting information about some of our favorite ingredients — some you may recognize and some you may not.

To learn even more about the ingredients that are in the other foods you’re eating, check them out in our ingredient glossary. (http://steponefoods.com/glossary.aspx)


Eating blueberries increases insulin sensitivity in people who are obese.  This is important because as weight goes up, tissue sensitivity to insulin goes down leading to higher and higher blood sugar readings eventually culminating in the development of diabetes.[i]


We use whole cranberries in every one of our products because cranberries have a  high antioxidant content and anti-inflammatory properties. Both of these characteristics make cranberries beneficial for the cardiovascular system [ii]


It’s no accident that nuts — almonds, walnuts and pecans– are in all of our foods, Based on the data from the Nurses’ Health Study, substituting calories and fat from  nuts for the equivalent calories from carbohydrates in an average diet is associated with a 30% reduction in heart disease risk.[iii]


The flax in Step One Foods contributes to both our high fiber and omega-3 counts. A diet enriched with flax improves blood vessel function and significantly reduces diastolic blood pressure (the bottom blood pressure number), especially in people with high cholesterol.[iv] 


One of our favorite ingredients, chia was used as an energy source by ancient Aztec warriors. The seed was so prized, in fact, that for a time it was used as currency. We value chia for its high omega-3 and fiber content. (And yes, this is the same seed used in Chia Pets.)[v] 


Pycnogenol is ground pine bark and is high in antioxidants. Ours comes from the south of France. Early explorers who suffered from scurvy discovered the power of pine, and often boiled pine needles to make tea.

Among people with diabetes and high blood pressure, adding small daily doses of pycnogenol significantly reduces LDL (bad) cholesterol, improves blood sugar control, and lowers the amount of medication needed to control blood pressure.[vi] 

Plant sterols

Plant sterols are found in all plants.  They block cholesterol absorption from the intestinal tract.  In patients with familial hypercholesterolemia, very high cholesterol levels related to a genetic cause, adding plant sterols to the diet results in 10-15% reductions in LDL (bad) cholesterol without any adverse effects.[vii]

[i]Stull AJ, Cash KC, Johnson WD, Champagne CM, Cefalu WT. Bioactives in blueberries improve insulin sensitivity in obese, insulin-resistant men and women. J Nutr, 2010, 140: (10) 1764-1768.

[ii] Côté J, Caillet S, Doyon G, Sylvain JF, Lacroix M. Bioactive compounds in cranberries and their biological properties. Crit RevFood Sci Nutr. 2010 Aug;50(7):666-79.

[iii]Hu FB, Stampfer MJ. Nut consumption and risk of coronary heart disease: a review of epidemiologic evidence. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 1999;1(3):204-209.

[iv]West SG, Krick AL, Klein LC, Zhao G, Wojtowicz TF, McGuiness M, Bagshaw DM, Wagner P, Ceballos RM, Holub BJ, Kris-Etherton PM.  Effects of diets high in walnuts and flax oil on hemodynamic responses to stress and vascular endothelial function. J Am CollNutr. 2010 Dec;29(6):595-603.

[v]Jin F1, Nieman DC, Sha W, Xie G, Qiu Y, Jia W.Supplementation of milled chia seeds increases plasma ALA and EPA in postmenopausal women.Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2012 Jun;67(2):105-10.

[vi]Zibadi S, Rohdewald PJ, Park D, Watson RR. Reduction of cardiovascular risk factors in subjects with type 2 diabetes by Pycnogenol supplementation. Nutr Res. 2008 May;28(5):315-20.

[vii]Moruisi KG, Oosthuizen W, Opperman AM. Phytosterols/stanols lower cholesterol concentrations in familial hypercholesterolemic subjects: a systematic review with meta-analysis. J Am Coll Nutr. 2006;25(1):41-48.

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