February is Heart Health month and what better day than Valentine's Day to keep you and your sweetheart healthy? Remember, Food is medicine and the best way to get this medicine is to eat whole foods to get your the best nutrition.
Food donated by Whole Foods Market in Jacksonville.
The appetizer: tomatoes with feta cheese, balsamic vinegar, garlic and olive oil. Tomatoes have lycopene, an antioxidant similar to Vitamin A, which provides that bright red color. Lycopene is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It may help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Lycopene is absorbed better when tomatoes are cooked, or combined with olive oil. Lycopene is also found in strawberries, watermelon, guava, and pink grapefruit. The sliced avocado is a nice accompaniment because it is a heart healthy monounsaturated fat.
The next item is an acorn squash soup. Turmeric gives the soup this beautiful yellow color. Turmeric is a mildly flavored spice commonly used in traditional Chinese Medicine or Ayurvedic Medicine to treat an upset stomach or arthritis. It is also believed to have some anti-cancer properties, and there ongoing studies to investigate this. Dried cranberries to add a contrasting taste and color. There is some evidence that cranberries may help prevent urinary tract infections. They also have antioxidant properties, which are being investigated to see if they prevent heart disease and cancer.