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Mexican food is one of the most healthy cuisines in the world.

AUTHENTIC Mexican food is healthy. It is low in fat, cholesterol and contains many vitamins and nutrients your body needs. No matter whether you choose a vegetarian dish or a meat dish, Mexican cuisine can help you lose weight and remain healthy while giving you appetizing food with a lot of flavor. You do not need to miss out on flavor to eat healthy.

The following are foods that appear on mexican dining tables on a daily basis, and that we, here at Azteca, serve to more and more of our Irish and European customers on that same daily basis!

AVOCADOS:

Avocados provide nearly 20 essential nutrients, including fibre, potassium, Vitamin E, B-vitamins and folic acid. They also act as a "nutrient booster" by enabling the body to absorb more fat-soluble nutrients, such as alpha and beta-carotene and lutein, in foods that are eaten with the fruit.

Next to the olive, the avocado is the second fruit with the highest monounsaturated fatty acids content at 20%. This amounts to almost twenty times that of any other fruit.

Weight-watchers often stay away from avocados specifically because of the fat content of the fruit. But that's a myth. The monounsaturated fats and the wholesome nutrition helps the basal metabolic rate, and reduce overeating.

A majority of the fats content is the health-promoting monounsaturated fats, followed by smaller amounts of polyunsaturated and saturated fats.

The potassium content of an avocado is three times that of a banana. Other essential minerals are iron and copper for the blood, phosphorus and magnesium.

The sodium content in avocados and its low sugar content and absence of starch make it an ideal fruit for diabetics and hypoglycemics.

It is also one of the richest source of fibre among all fruits and vegetables. Packed with vitamins A, several B-complex, especially B3 (folic acid), powerful anti-oxidants like vitamins C and E, calcium, iron, potassium, etc.

CHILLI:

Fresh and dried chilli peppers are what give Mexican dishes their characteristic taste. Some popular varieties include jalapeƱo, poblano, serrano, guajillo, chipotle, pasilla, habanero, ancho, mulato and cascabel.

Health Benefits: Capsaicin is the active ingredient in chilli, giving them not only their spice but also their health benefits. This spicy compound has been found to:

fight cancer, provide pain relief, prevent sinusitis and relieve congestion, fight inflammation, relieve intestinal disease protect the heart by reducing cholesterol, help your body burn fat and lose weight.

CORNFLOUR:

Corn tortillas are a naturally low-fat, low-sodium food and contain calcium, potassium and fibre. An average serving contains about 60 calories and only 1 gram of fat. Corn tortillas are very low in cholesterol. Corn is also a source of anti-oxidants, iron, vitamins A and C.

Corn flour is gluten-free, giving ceoliacs something to cheer about. Azteca is the biggest importer of mexican cornflour in Ireland at the moment.

CORIANDER:

Coriander and its seeds, have been found to help control blood sugar, lower cholesterol and fight inflammation and free radicals. Coriander may also have antimicrobial properties. More health benefits of coriander include treatment of swellings, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, digestion, menstrual disorders, small pox, eye care, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, etc.

But this is only the tip of the ice-berg. Coriander has so many benefits that a book can be written on them. It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin-C), minerals and vitamins, each having a number of beneficial properties.

ONIONS:

Medicinal properties aside, the onion has many nutrients that assist in boosting good health. Minerals such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, manganese, and phosphorus all play an important role in the human body in a variety of different applications. Vitamins are also essential elements for human health, and onions possess a large array of these such as choline, chromium, vitamin C, folate, niacin, riboflavin, vitamins A and B6 and carotene among others. Onions contain protein, energy, carbohydrates, glucose and fibre, as well having a high content of water.

Despite the fact that onions are jam packed with nutrients, they are extremely low in calories. One cup of raw onions is a mere 65 calories.

TOMATOES:

Fresh tomatoes are the backbone of nearly all mexican salsas. Tomatoes are a rich source of several nutrients. They are well known for their high vitamin C content, but also contain significant amounts of vitamin A, B vitamins including niacin and riboflavin, magnesium, phosphorous and calcium.

Tomatoes are also a good source of chromium, folate and fibre.

TOMATILLOS:

These little fellows are what our salsa verde is made from. The highly nutritional aspects of tomatillos may surprise you. One medium raw tomatillo contains only 11 calories, yet it packs 91 mg. of potassium. That same little fruit contains 4 mg. of vitamin C, 2.4 mg of calcium, 2.38 mg. of folic acid, and 39 IU of vitamin A. Imagine the benefits if you include several in your recipe - so, next time you tuck into our enchiladas verdes - enjoy the goodness!

LIMES:

The health benefits of lime include weight loss, skin care, good digestion, eye care etc. the list is endless.

The first fruit that comes to our minds when it comes to medicinal uses is perhaps the good old lime. This sour citrus fruit can do what many specialist medicines cannot. Lime, has been used down through the ages for the treatment of various ailments. Lime are fat- and cholesterol-free, low in calories, a good source of fibre, and high in vitamin C. They also contain phytochemicals, which may help protect against cancer and other diseases.

Even when you're not being so good, and sinking a nice cool bottle of mexican beer - just look at the wedge of lime inside!!

GARLIC:

Do I need to tell you?