Cinco Reasons to Love Mexican Food for Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

5/5/15: the fifth day of the fifth month of 2015. What a symmetrical date! No, this is not a math-focused piece, but I will give you five reasons to add more Mexican flare to your meals this year.

Today, I celebrate the rich food culture of our southern neighbor. Many of my favorite foods are found in Mexican cuisine. In fact, I'm not sure I could function without a daily dose of them. It could be my California roots, but I think the foods are just that good. I'm always on the lookout for ways to blend Mexican and American foods into one.

Check out my latest attempt with a “hot dog taco.” There was no actual hot dog involved, but I was out of tortillas and wasn't about to let that stop me from enjoying one of my favorite meals.

taco-hot-dog-bun

Alright, let's get to why you should be adding more Mexican flavors to your diet.

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1. Get more MUFAs

Holy guacamole do I love avocados! But not just for the taste. They're also a great source of monounsaturated fats (MUFA). MUFAs can help lower LDL and maintain HDL blood cholesterol levels. MUFAs may also improve insulin sensitivity.

Check out IFIC Foundation’s resource, “Dietary Fats: Balancing Health & Flavor,” for more info on a variety of dietary fat sources.

2. Color me heart-healthy

Is there a healthier condiment than salsa? Tomato, onion, and cilantro pack a heart-healthy punch. Plus, the green, white, and red dish makes for a tasty and festive way to honor the colors of Mexico's flag.

spices-healthy-low-sodium

3. Spice up your life

DASH-ing some herbs and spices in your meals has many benefits. Get creative and experiment with bold flavors to doctor up your dish. My salsa and guacamole has never been the same since I discovered cumin! Plus, if you are watching your salt intake, many herb and spice varieties have no sodium.

corn-bean-salsa-fiber-iron-healthy

4. Be(ans) Corny

A sense of humor is important…and so is a healthful and varied diet. Black beans and corn make a great (and colorful) addition to any dish. The combo is packed with protein while providing whole grains, insoluble fiber, and iron. These are all crucial components to a healthful diet that many Americans don't consume enough of. 

dark-chocolate-antioxidants

5. Get your flavonol flavor on

Did you know that chocolate has its roots in the Olmec, Mayan and Aztec civilizations? It’s true, the cocoa plant is native to the Americas, and its popularity has spread worldwide.

But dark chocolate isn’t just a tasty treat—the health benefits are real. Chocolate contains high amounts of antioxidant-rich compounds called flavanols, which can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The highest flavanol and antioxidant content is found in dark chocolate. However, even with its healthful properties, chocolate is high in calories, so enjoy your portions in moderation.

 

Tener una diversión y nutritiva Cinco de Mayo!