The Healing Power of Mexican Food
Happy Cinco de Mayo everyone!
Since many of you are going out for Mexican food today, I thought I would talk about all the great super foods abundant in traditional Mexican fare.
Mexican food can be extremely healthy if prepared properly, try to avoid the greasy dishes in lieu of the lighter ones with veggies.
Fajitas and burritos are much better choices than nachos and tacos, and just as delicious. Especially AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE those nasty things that are deep fried (um… can someone tell me how to spell chimichanga?)
Keep in mind that tonight you may also want to avoid drinking your calories. The average margarita or daiquiri runs around 1000 calories!
If you have two of those that is the amount of calories you need for the whole day! Yikes.
Let’s not drink our calories. I know strawberry daiquiri’s are delicious but before you decide to have one ask yourself whether or not you want to be drinking all that sugar, food coloring and calories. Save making drinks like that at home with REAL fruit.
Mojitos (light on the “simple syrup” or without it) are a great refreshing mixed drink option and only around 200 calories per serving. A mojito is a drink that is prepared with rum, lime and mint. Mint is a fabulous antioxidant, which means anti-aging so don’t be afraid to nibble on that garnish a bit. Otherwise choose a light Mexican beer to enjoy with your meal, if you must have a drink.
So what is particularly healthy about Mexican food? Let me break it down for you:
- Tomatoes: When cooked are one of the best sources of lycopene found in nature, which is particularly important for men interested in preventing prostate cancer. Rich in vitamin C, the highest concentration is found in the jelly like substance that surrounds each seed. Full of anti-cancer phytochemicals, and flavonoids they are also a good source of vitamin A, B-vitamins, potassium, and phosphorous.
- Onions: High in quercetin, onions are fabulous for allergy sufferers, onions are a strong anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, anti-viral, anti-parasitic, and contain numerous anti-cancer properties. They also help remove heavy metals from the body. Extremely low in calories, they also contain vitamin A, B-complex, and vitamin C.
- Garlic: A tremendous super food for healthy immunity and cardiovascular system, garlic is antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and anti-carcinogenic. Garlic reduces cholesterol and blood pressure as well as ensures a stable blood sugar. Garlic also rids the body of parasites, heavy metals, and ensures a healthy bowel flora.
- Bell Peppers: Are essentially a “free food” as they are low in calories, rich in fiber beta carotene, vitamin C, and electrolytes.
- Lime: Renowned for their vitamin C content, limes were used on long boat rides by the Royal Navy to help prevent scurvy in British Sailors, which is where the slang nickname “Limey” came about. Limes are also full of bioflavonoids, and trace minerals.
- Cilantro: Used in the naturopathic world to treat heavy metal toxicity, cilantro (as well as any green leafy) is a fabulous chelator for pulling toxic metals such as lead and mercury from the body. Cilantro also aids digestion and relieves gas and bloating.
- Black Beans: An excellent source of fiber, protein, and iron.
- Pinto Beans: Recently I was horrified to find out that my favorite refried beans are prepared with LARD! Oh dear. Be sure to read the labels and find fat free beans or those that are prepared with a canola oil (please not hydrogenated soy or cottonseed oil). Otherwise pinto beans are an excellent source of fiber, protein, and iron as well.
- Avocado: A good source of protein, potassium, and vitamin E, guacamole is one of the healthiest indulgences a person can eat in my opinion. Chock full of good monounsaturated fats, if you are a person that tends to have dry skin, especially around the elbows you will highly benefit from adding some avocado to your diet. The fat from avocados also helps to pull down the Glycemic Load of the meal that you are eating, which translates in to better blood sugar balance. Just be sure to buy real guacamole, or make your own at home to avoid trans-fats and artificial additives. Enjoy in moderation if trying to lose weight as they are known to help people that have a difficult time gaining weight put weight on.
So there you have the best Mexican super foods to help unleash your inner fabulosity! I hope that helps you make the better choices when dining out.
Be healthy, be safe, don’t drink your calories, and please do always take a cab if you are out celebrating beyond two drinks.
~Dr. Nicole Sundene
Resource: The New Whole Foods Encyclpedia by Rebecca Wood