Mexican food is popular throughout the world for good reason: it is scrumptious, colorful, and mouth-watering. But, did you know that Mexican food often has another hidden health benefit? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why eating the Mexican way can improve your health.
Mexican cuisine often consists of some of the healthiest foods on the planet. It is made up of staples such as fresh vegetables, fresh fruits, meats from pork to seafood, and beans that are often black, green, or red in color. Its roots also lie in ancient Mesoamerican food. That’s one of the reasons why authentic mexican food is often spiced with chili powder, dried chilies, or cumin, which is native to the Andes Mountains where the spice originated.
Traditional mexican food dishes often include dishes with high levels of salt. This is because traditionally, salt was used for its healing properties in the Andes Mountains. These dishes can be spicy too, but the balance is often very mild. Some well-known spicy dishes include carne asada, which is a marinated beef dish prepared with peppers, onions, garlic, and corn; tamarindo, a traditional dish of warm mint leaves (often mixed with yogurt) that is prepared with shredded vegetables, chicken, and fish; and enchilada, a dish of roasted corn tortillas filled with either fresco or red sauces to give it a nice, mild kick.
In addition to the regular components found in typical mexican food dishes, other ingredients are common, too. These are normally just variations on the staples, although they may also feature ingredients other than those common to Mexican cuisine. For example, cilantro is an important ingredient in Mexican cooking, and may be used in a variety of ways, both in and out of the traditional context. Cilantro is usually prepared by steaming green herbs in order to obtain its fresh, aromatic flavor. Other standard ingredients found in Mexican dishes include tomatoes (often crushed), chili powder, garlic, onions, and cayenne.
Mole, also known as Guajillo, is another typical ingredient in traditional mexican food. A type of chile pepper with a piquant, pungent taste, mole is also used in Mexican cuisine, particularly in Nuevo Latino (newest immigrants to the United States) foods such as enchilada and chimichangas. As a result of their popularity in Mexican food circles, many people in the United States mistook mole for guacamole and have taken to substituting the former for the latter. While the similarities between the two ingredients are limited – especially in terms of taste – other similarities can be found in the preparation styles.
Although tacos are a fairly well-known choice for North American consumers, they are also very popular in Mexico, where they have been for over one hundred years. Like any other Mexican dish, tacos can be served with many types of sauce, and are especially popular with the native people of Mexico City and other urban areas. While traditional mexican food is typically spiced with cumin, chili powder, and ground dried oregano, many of these spices are also used in the condiments to give taco seasoning a spicy dimension. Typical condiment choices include onions, tomatoes, and cilantro.
While Mexican food is largely meat based, it does contain poultry such as chicken, fish, and even lentils. Because these meats tend to be lower in fat than traditionally Mexican dishes, they are often served as sides or appetizers in traditional mexican cuisine. The addition of fruits, especially oranges, helps to enhance the flavor of these lower fat meats, and gives the dish a sweeter taste. One of the reasons for this is that oranges impart a delicate citrus flavor to Mexican dishes, which is also comparable to the taste of jasmine rice.
Another staple of Mexican street food is enchiladas, or corn tortillas. Unlike their tortilla counterparts, which are usually filled with beef or chicken, enchiladas are filled with vegetables and a variety of flavorsings. Traditional enchilada filling includes tomatoes, chiles, cheese, and mayonnaise. These fillings can vary widely from one place to the next, but are a favorite among local families, and are easy to make at home if you have a tortilla press.