More than Taco Bell
It’s no secret that our nation is an unhealthy one. Portion sizes and processed ingredients are always on the rise, driving healthcare costs right up with them. Among the worst offenders in fast food is the hamburger chain, where some menu items have as much as doubled in size a 30-year period. Unsurprisingly, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with diabetes every 17 seconds.
What may come as a shock to those of you who think tamales are just those cinnamon candies next to the checkout at 7-11, is that Hispanic food offers several healthy alternatives to your normal diet.
Despite the omnipresent pizzerias and Chinese joints in every mall food court, the ethnic food consumed most in this country is actually Mexican. Americans consume tortillas and avocados, two classic examples of “cocina latina,” by the billions –including 158 million avocados during one single Super Bowl! Overall, Hispanic food accounts for more than half of the ethnic market.
The good news here is that Hispanics are more likely than other groups to choose fresh ingredients, and those ingredients tend to have intrinsic health benefits. Unbeknownst to most football fans, those millions of avocados shoveled down during the big game contained almost 20 vitamins and minerals, and offer potential health benefits including lowered blood pressure, balanced cholesterol, and better eyesight.
Many dishes in Hispanic culture are served with mole, a sauce that itself can incorporate any number of fresh ingredients.
Of course, anyone who’s had homemade tamales from a corner stand will agree that eating healthier doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor. Maybe next time you’re in search of a yummy dinner idea, you’ll Google “recetas de cocina.”