Mexican food is the most popular style of international cuisine in the United States, accounting for 42% of all ethnic food sales in the United States. One out of every 10 restaurants in America is selling Mexican cuisine, and there are 67,391 American restaurants that will serve you a burrito. As of 2011, the United States had about 38,000 Mexican restaurants dotting the map, and more than 70% of households use Mexican food and Mexican ingredients in their own cooking. Mexican food has even inspired a cuisine fusion known as Tex-Mex, which started to become popular as far back as the 1940s. Mexican food is delicious, but is Mexican food healthy? Read on to learn all about the nutritional benefits of Mexican food.
- The nutritional benefits of Mexican food: lots of vitamins and minerals. Mexican cuisine emphasizes the use of tomatoes and other fresh vegetables. Onions are a great source of vitamin C, while tomatoes and salsa provide many essential nutrients. The avocados that are in so many Mexican dishes contain fiber, potassium, vitamins and minerals, and plenty of healthy unsaturated fat. Furthermore, all of the spicy peppers and chilis used to create the best Mexican food are packed with trace minerals and micronutrients.
- The nutritional benefits of Mexican food: capsaicin. Speaking of peppers and chilis, capsaicin is the chemical compound found in spicy food. Mexican cuisine is full of this chemical compound, which has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Capsaicin also has been shown to improve circulation in a way that relieves the congestion of allergies and the common cold. Instead of chicken soup, perhaps some spicy salsa is really the best comfort food when you’re ill.
- The nutritional benefits of Mexican food: protein. Mexican cuisine emphasizes healthy proteins including chicken, beef, and pork. Protein is absolutely essential to the human body, and the protein found in meat is the most complete and bioavailable for human consumption. Nearly any Mexican dish is versatile enough to be done with whichever protein you prefer so that you can go as lean or as red as you like when it comes to protein. Some Mexican dishes can also be made with seafood if you prefer an extra lean and nutritious source of protein. Many Mexican dishes also include cheese, another good protein source that also supplies calcium.
- The nutritional benefits of Mexican food: fiber. Because beans are a staple of Mexican cuisine, you’ll find it in many Mexican dishes. Mexican food uses a great variety of beans and each of them supplies a lot of fiber, and beans are also a source of protein, albeit less complete than that found in meat. Whole beans are more nutritious and higher in fiber than refried beans, so if you ask for steamed beans instead of fried, you’ll be getting the best nutrition possible.
- The nutritional benefits of Mexican food: variety. They say that variety is the spice of life, and in many ways it’s also important to your health. With all the emphasis these days on counting calories, cutting carbs, and tallying up your protein and fiber counts for the day, nutritionists are increasingly pointing us towards a different way of eating. Instead of counting by numbers, we should be filling our plate with a variety of colors and types of food. This is the best way to ensure that we not only meet our macronutrient needs, but also take in all of the micronutrients necessary for optimal good health. Mexican food has us covered in this respect. Mexico is considered one of the top four most biodiverse countries in all the world, and this is reflected in the vast variety of foods available on the Mexican plate. In fact, there are seven types of mole sauces alone: Rojo, which is red, Coloradito, which is brown, Negro, which is black and chocolately, and Amarillo, Verde, Manchamantel, and Chichilo.
There’s a lot more to Mexican food than just that burrito or fast food tacos. Mexican cuisine is diverse, healthy, affordable, and easy to locate. Why not find a fine Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight?
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