When it comes to going out to eat, there’s no denying that Mexican restaurants are a popular choice for Americans. As of 2011, there are 38,000 Mexican restaurants dispersed all across the American landscape.
One out of every 10 restaurants in the United States sells Mexican food, making it the most popular style of international cuisine in the country. In fact, there are more than 67,000 restaurants that serve a burrito.
Need further proof of the popularity of Mexican food in the United States? The invention of Tex-Mex (which occurred in the 1940s) is one good example of integration of American and Mexican culture and fusion of food. Furthermore, tortillas have been outselling hot dog buns since 2010 and salsa has become the top condiment nationwide, surpassing even ketchup and mayo.
Apart from eating at the neighborhood Mexican restaurant, Americans are chowing down on Mexican food at home. Mexican food continues to be the most popular ethnic food segment in the United States with a 42 percent share of ethnic food sales. Additionally, more than 70 percent of American households use Mexican food and ingredients.
Three quarters of customers are looking for new flavors in ethnic cuisines and two thirds want bolder flavors and unfamiliar foods. With plenty of variety and flexibility, Mexican food offers foodies of all tastes something unique and delicious.
For all the popularity of Mexican restaurant chains such as La Senorita, Chi-Chi’s and Qdoba, there are many heath benefits one can gain from eating their share of rice, beans and tacos. What are the nutritional benefits of Mexican food? Read on to find out.
- Lowered Blood Pressure and Cholesterol: The spiciness in peppers like jalapenos and habaneros is full of capsaicin. While capsaicin is what gives peppers their burn, it can also help lower blood pressure and cholesterol. If you’ve ever heard the old wives tale about eating spicy food when you’re sick, it’s because there’s some truth to it. Eating foods with capsaicin helps improve your circulation and also relieves congestion. Next time you’re at a Mexican restaurant, adding some spice to your meal might be just the cure for your ills.
- Fiber: Though some health guidelines differ, nearly all of them recommend a healthy dose of fiber every day. National recommendations are 30-38 grams a day for men and 25 grams a day for women. Other guidelines suggest 14 grams of fiber per 1,000 calories in a diet. Regardless of the numbers, Americans should definitely be loading up on fiber. Fortunately for fans of Mexican food, beans are a staple and beans are chock-full of fiber. Black beans and pinto beans are high in fiber with 20 grams and 30 grams per cup respectively. These two are a preferable option over refried beans, which have 12 grams of fiber per cup.
- Nutrients: Another benefit of visiting your local Mexican restaurant is that Mexican food is packed with nutrients. If you’re a big fan of tacos, you can enjoy them even more with the knowledge that the lettuce, tomatoes and onions packed in your tacos are full of important nutrients such as vitamin C and vitamin A. Don’t forget avocados, which are a staple of Mexican cuisine and are full of vitamin C, vitamin B-6 and magnesium. Loading up on veggies on your next trip to a visit to a Mexican restaurant will do your body a lot of good.
- Protein: Protein is important for muscle and tissue health and gives you energy. Most, if not all, Mexican dishes contain meat and with beef, carne asada, pork and chicken often on a menu, there’s no shortage of protein options. Lean meats such as ground pork and beef and chicken are healthier and still can be very tasty.
With plenty of health benefits, you can feel comfortable and satisfied whether you’re visiting your local Mexican restaurant for authentic Mexican food or making handmade burritos home.