It’s National Heart Health month! Throw the confetti; start the parade! This is the month where we place the focus on our hearts, keeping them healthy, strong and vital. Wooo-hooooooo! Let’s get this party started!
Oh…wait…isn’t heart disease the leading killer of both men and women? Hasn’t it been so since the 1970’s?
Are we at the mercy of heart disease or can we become proactive partners doing all we can do to ensure that the beat goes on…and on…and on…?
Of course we can…and we here at Christina Cooks are committed to the health of your loving hearts so in honor of the month dedicated to our tickers, we’ll be sending you some delicious recipes and tips to help your heart…and the rest of you thrive during these cold days of February.
We think of lentils as a simple, humble bean, used in soups and stews, casseroles and salads. Like all beans, we know lentils are good for us (we all know the little ditty: ‘beans, beans, they’re good for your heart…), but are they really that big of a deal? Besides being a good source of fiber and magnesium, they are the fastest of all beans to cook. Is there more to lentils than soup?
Well, yes. Check out what Dr Andrew Weil has to say about these little legumes.
“Soluble fiber, found in such high quantities in lentils, forms a gel in the digestive tract that traps cholesterol-containing bile and escorts it out of the body; while insoluble fiber, also plentiful in lentils, provides stool bulk and helps prevent constipation. Just one cup of cooked lentils contains over 15 grams of dietary fiber, all for only 230 calories. Lentils are also an excellent source of molybdenum and folate…as consumption of fruits and vegetables increases, the risk of heart disease drops.”
Try this lovely soup as a delicious way to help keep heart disease at bay. It’s so simple and so delicious, you’ll find yourself looking forward to making it once a week.
LENTIL AND VEGETABLE SOUP
I am obsessed with lentil soup of any kind, but this simple, deeply flavorful soup is on my table once a week…no kidding.
MAKES 4-5 SERVINGS
1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
½ red onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 cup green or brown lentils, rinsed very well
1 cup canned diced tomatoes
4 cups spring or filtered water
1 bay leaf
2 stalks flat-leaf parsley, coarsely minced, for garnish
Place oil, garlic and onion in a medium pot over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in celery and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Stir in carrot and a pinch of salt and sauté for 1 minute. Add lentils, tomatoes, water and bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until lentils are soft, about 45 minutes. Season with about 1 teaspoon salt and simmer 5 to 7 minutes more. Remove and discard bay leaf. Serve garnished with parsley.