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Cut the vegetables and cheese into bite size pieces. Pile the basil leaves on top of each other and roll into a tube (for easy slicing).
Add the chopped basil into the bowl and pour the oil and vinegar over all ingredients, adding a pinch of salt and pepper. Allow time for the veggies to marinate in the dressing. Serve cold.
Jordan Cunha is a nutrition volunteer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Jordan studies nutrition at the University of New Hampshire and works at a restaurant in the Boston area. This recipe is a family favorite created by Jordan and her Mom. Jordan's passion for food and nutrition comes from a family who loves to cook. She decided she wanted to volunteer at Dana-Farber because of her desire to help others, her past experiences with cancer in her family, and academic interests.
Tomatoes' red hue comes from a phytonutrient called lycopene. Lycopene, acts as a powerful antioxidant, and has displayed anti-cancer potential in a variety of studies. In the lab, tomato components have stopped the proliferation or growth of several cancer cell types including prostate, breast, lung, and endometrial. Epidemiological studies have shown that men who eat more lycopene-rich foods have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer.
Combining lycopene-rich vegetables and fruits, like tomatoes, with a small amount healthy fat, like olive oil, increases the amount of this fat-soluble antioxidant phytonutrient that your body can absorb. The absorptive effect is even greater when tomatoes are cooked.