MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) —  It’s long been known that healthy eating makes for healthier hearts. It’s what brings Mary Kellogg to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market.

“Well, I think it’s a lifestyle, fresh vegetables are always low in fat,” Kellogg said.

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Exercise and good genes will also help.

“I have zero buildup in my arteries, but it’s a lifestyle choice,” Kellogg added.

But for many it’s not a choice.  Ninety-five million Americans have high cholesterol, and the majority are taking cholesterol-lowering drug, or statins.

“The way we treat heart disease has actually never made sense to me,” Elizabeth Klodas, M.D. Cardiologist said. High cholesterol: here’s a pill, blood pressure: here’s two pills, high blood sugar: here’s two pills and an injection.”

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Dr. Klodas set out to find a healthier alternative.

“If something is caused in part or whole by food, step one should be change the food. But that’s not how the medical system works,” Dr. Klodas said.

She founded Step One Foods. The St. Louis Park company makes a variety of food bars to provide fibers, plant sterols, antioxidants and Omega 3 fatty acids proven to reduce bad cholesterol — anywhere from 9 to 40 percent.

Hopefully, resulting in healthier hearts and longer lives.

“That’s a medication level effect attained with food,” Dr. Klodas said.

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Research now shows that if such targeted foods were prescribed and covered by insurance, it could save the health care industry 10 billion dollars a year.