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The Healing Power of Mexican Food

by in Antioxidants, Bioflavonoids, Diet Tips, Fiber, Heavy Metal Toxicity, Kitchen Sink, Superfoods May 5, 2008

mojito.jpg 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



23 Comments
  1. Wow, how interesting this article is on Mexican food! I learned so much about one of my favorite kinds of cuisine! I do, of course stay away from fried foods, as they don’t agree with me anyway, but it’s nice to know the breakdown of how good some of the foods in this category can be!

    Now, here’s a question for you! I would LOVE to drink my calories (as many may be the opposite), however, would you have a suggestion for a very healthy high caloric, but HEALTHY drink that was non-alcoholic that could help with weight gain? I know this subject seems reoccuring with me. LOL!

    By the way, LOVE the top banner. It’s so fun!
    Doc KC

  2. lets go get some mexican food… viva la mexico

  3. 1000 calories for a margarita? Yikes! Good thing I don’t drink those too often.
    .
    Is it also true that hot peppers are good for us as well? Seems I read that somewhere. Also, do rice and beans (when eaten together) make a complete protein?
    .
    I love you broke down the nutritional values on each food. That makes choices a lot easier.
    .
    Happy Cinco de Mayo to you too!

  4. I used to use days like this as just another reason to party, which included drinking a ton of calories (cervesa por favor!). I’m working hard to change my lifestyle and that included avoiding alcohol. I still enjoy a chicken enchilada every once in a while, but we make them at home with much healthier ingredients.

  5. Erin Happycamper May 6, 2008 at 8:47 am Reply

    !!!! Love the new banner !!!!

    And now I love mexican food even more.

    Thanks Doc! =x

  6. Wa-hey! Finally some great news, I love all that stuff and I’m not really bothered about Margarita’s. My wife is going to be crushed though 😉

  7. I love to hear that Mexican is good for you. I love it!!!! I have figured out that I have to watch what I eat at the restaurants though, because I have figured out that it is not all good for you – like the fried stuff.

    Know something funny? I fixed baked enchiladas last night and didn’t even realize it was cinco de mayo until after that.

    Dr. Nicole. I am having a very hard time contacting you. You had a question for me? I filled out your contact form twice. I think it may have gone to your spam folder.

  8. I eat a lot of Mexican food because of the corn tortillas. YUM…I’m wheat gluten intolerant but corn tortillas don’t bother me. 😀 I loooove Mexican food!!!

    Hugs, JJ

  9. Hi Doc KC- I would start drinking smoothies, they are a great way to add nutritious calories to your diet. I will post more info on this because a lot of people have been asking for tips on gaining weight. Thanks for asking!!

  10. Hi Mclaughlin- Are you treating? LOL

  11. Hi Barbara- yes beans and rice are a complete protein!!!

    Cayenne peppers are a great fat burning food. I will be writing much more about peppers soon!!!

  12. Good for you FB! I love chicken enchiladas…let me know next time you are making them and I will invite myself over 😀

  13. I love my new banner too!! Thanks Erin 😀

  14. Hi Tim- well better to know now than never right? Turn her in to a mojito girl, it is the new fad anyways, so best to be on the bandwagon. 😛

  15. Hi Jennifer! Good job being in the natural flow of things. Although I eat so much Mexican food it would be hard for me not to hit it on Cinco de Mayo by accident 😀

  16. Hi JJ- yes corn tortilla’s are a wheat free persons best friend! Thanks for stopping by 😀

  17. Did you get the email message I responded to today? I responded to the question you asked me.
    p.s you don’t have to post this comment. It was just the only way I knew to contact you for sure.

  18. Hi,

    I recently read that lycopene (I guess it was this component) found in tomatoes is also good for protecting our skin from the Sun. I guess from UVs.
    But I’m sure that the article was about tomatoes.

    Kind regards,

    José

  19. Hi Jose- yes lycopene and all the carotenes are extremely protective to the skin, this is why cooked orange and yellow veggies in the diet are of extreme importance! All antioxidants are great for fighting UV radiation especially those found in green tea.

    Thanks for your question!

  20. I love Mexican food! The hotter the better… even habanero hot! I have a cupboard full of hot sauces (up to 1.5 million scoville units for you chiliheads). I have read reports that a few of us lucky ones (approximately 4%) have digestive systems that releases endorphines when eating hot foods. That’s right, I get “high” from eating hot foods. Good thing it is natural and healthy. There are also some articles touting cancer preventing traits being discovered.

    My biggest problem is that I love Mexican food so much I eat too much of it! I now try to order the lunch size menu even at dinner if possible.

    Great article!

  21. hi Nicole, you are so beautiful, congratulations!!

    I am mexican, here in Mexico we do NOT know chimichangas, that is mexican-american food I think. I read at once in internet that it was invented in California. The drink that you mentioned mojito, is cuban I think.

    A lot of people outside Mexico don’t know about our seafood, which is very healthy I think, that would be a good article.

    Congratulations, you are making a great job with this site.

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