The traditional Mexican cuisine is packed with essential nutrients and amazing flavor, similar to the much publicized Mediterranean diet. North Americans would benefit from the quality Mexican food that was served in homes south of the border before the nacho-and -cheese era. The cuisine’s fundamental ingredients like beans, corn, rice, tomatoes, avocados and peppers are well known for their healing properties.
Legumes improve water and sugar metabolism as well as providing quality protein and dietary fiber. Brown rice is high in fiber, soothes the stomach and contributes B vitamins to the body, while corn nourishes the heart and regulates digestion.
Beans and grains are already nutritionally dense, but Mexican dishes improve their profile by including a variety of vegetables and spices that boost digestion and the absorption of nutrients. Medicinal Cayenne pepper, for instance, is one of the world’s highest botanical sources of vitamin C, a necessary component in iron metabolism. Ginger and garlic are respected digestive aids and garlic’s antiviral qualities are often associated with longevity and strong immunity. Cilantro, a zesty Mexican parsley contains provitamin A, calcium, magnesium and chlorophyll. It makes a great addition to most dishes or can be used as a garnish at the end of the meal to strengthen digestion.
Mexican fruits also support good health. Tomatoes tonify the stomach while improving body alkalinity in cases of gout or arthritis and limes benefit the liver, are antimicrobial, cleanse the blood and improve mineral absorption. One of the most famous Mexican delights, avocados also pack a nutritious punch. They are a superb source of monounsaturated fatty acids, copper, and lecithin (an emulsifier required for fat digestion).
The cooling effect of most Mexican foods makes them a perfect addition to our summer cooking adventures. Take Mexican foods to your picnics, barbeques and brunches, they will provide color, interest and energy!