February is Heart (Ode) Month here in Canada.

Have you ever heard the word ode’imin? It means “strawberry” in Ojibwe. Ode’imin combines the words ode (heart) and min (berry). The term ode’imin originates from its heart shape. Also, First Nations have always connected the benefits of delicious, juicy berries to heart strength.

For Heart Month, how can we give back to our hearts for working hard every day so that we can walk on Mother Earth? We can eat nutritious foods, exercise, quit smoking, and sleep well. From time immemorial, First Nations have been eating healthy foods from the land, including berries.

Berries help the heart as they are rich in antioxidants—substances found in certain foods that help fight cell damage. First Nations hold heart berries as a sacred medicine and often share the berry with others in feasts and ceremonies. These little berries carry many teachings, and when it comes to foods that taste great and are great for your heart, it’s hard to beat the berry.

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