You’re tired. And hungry. This is never a fun combination. Heating up a frozen dinner is simple, but maybe a little uninspiring. Grabbing takeout sounds fun, but you just did that—plus, you know the drill about sodium and saturated fat on most menus.
Dr. Elizabeth Klodas, MD, a cardiologist in Minneapolis, MN, highlights a point that might hit home for you: the way we eat is pretty habitual…especially when we’re low on time and energy. “It’s really helpful to have food that you know builds health and to be surrounded by it in your environment,” she says. “By changing what we eat, we can change our health trajectory.”
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Dr. Klodas is the chief medical officer and founder of Step One Foods, which describes itself as “a food company helping patients make dietary changes to reduce their dependence on medication.” She’s authored multiple scientific articles as well as a book, Slay the Giant: The Power of Prevention in Defeating Heart Disease, and also served as founding editor-in-chief of the patient education effort of the American College of Cardiology. One prevailing lesson from all her years studying heart health? “Eighty percent of heart disease is preventable … Nutrition has a huge impact on heart health.”
So what are the best foods for your heart? Here, Dr. Klodas offers a glimpse inside her own kitchen to show us what she eats, based on what she knows about the link between food and cardiac wellness.
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Salad greens, especially arugula
Dr. Klodas tells us, “Salad greens are a high-[nutrient]-volume, low-calorie food and have antioxidants.” (Antioxidants are components in natural foods that help the body resist cell damage.) “Arugula is my favorite, so it’s always in my fridge.”
Why that’s big: arugula is loaded with vitamin C, folate, and potassium, “and assists with cardiovascular health.” Dr. Klodas says she loves the peppery taste and often makes a salad with these greens.
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