Health Benefits: Avocados are an excellent source of the healthy monounsaturated fat oleic acid, which helps lower cholesterol and can help protect against breast cancer. They also contain the highest amount of the carotenoid lutein among commonly eaten fruits, along with high amounts of other carotenoids and vitamin E, which together have been found to inhibit different types of cancer growth.
Plus, because healthy carotenoids are fat-soluble, consuming avocados, which are naturally rich in monounsaturated fat, helps enhance your body's ability to absorb these healthy nutrients from other vegetables.
Cilantro, sometimes referred to as Mexican or Chinese parsley, has a strong flavour that people usually love or hate. In Mexican cuisine, it's a popular herb used in guacamole, salsas and sauces.
Health Benefits: Cilantro is rich in beneficial phytonutrients, flavonoids and active phenolic acid compounds, which may be responsible for many of its health benefits. Cilantro, and its seeds, have been found to help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation and free radicals. Cilantro may also have antimicrobial properties.
Fresh and dried chili peppers are what give Mexican dishes their characteristic spice, though specific peppers are used for flavour while others are used for heat. Some popular varieties include jalapeno, poblano, serrano, guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, habanero, ancho, mulato and cascabel.
Health Benefits: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chili peppers, giving them not only their spice but also their health benefits. In fact, the hotter the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains. This spicy compound has been found to Fight cancer, prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion, fight inflammation also helping burn fat, provide pain relief and a major factor in protecting the heart by a reduction in cholesterol, triglycerides and platelet protection
Beans are yet another staple ingredient in Mexican cuisine, perhaps second only to corn. While a variety of beans, like pinto, lentils, kidney beans and fava beans, are used in Mexican cooking, the focus is on pinto and black beans because they're far more common in Mexican cooking and they offer many nutritional benefits -- loads of antioxidants. Normally Mexican beans are served boiled or fried.
Health Benefits: Pinto and black beans are rich in antioxidants, beans are high in dietary fiber, which is an excellent cholesterol fighter, and the complex carbohydrates they contain help keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day -- essential for staying alert and feeling energized.