It’s Cinco de Mayo, and that means it’s time to celebrate! And what better way to do it than with some heart-healthy treats that will tantalize your taste buds?
Historically, May 5 marks the unexpected victory of the Mexican Army over the French in 1862. But for most of us, it’s really just an excuse to celebrate our love of Mexican cuisine and culture.
You and your family can eat very well today (and anytime, really) by partaking in some fresh, heart-healthy Mexican foods. Here are a few ideas that can pack some big health benefits.
3 Heart-Healthy Cinco de Mayo Recipes
1. Chunky Guacamole
When it comes to avocado, it’s hard to know where to start describing the health benefits. But, I’ll try. It’s literally one of the most nutritious foods out there, featuring double-digit percentages of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for:
- Vitamin K
- Folate (vitamin B9)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B5
- Vitamin B6
- Vitamin E
And all that comes from a single 3.5-oz serving. Along with smaller amounts of other nutrients, you’re also getting 160 quality calories, made up of 2 grams (g) of protein, 9 g of carbs—7 of which are fiber—and most importantly, 15 g of healthy fats. The monounsaturated fats can help limit inflammation, lower cholesterol, and improve heart health. With the fiber content added in, avocado is one of the more heart-healthy food choices available.
You can use guacamole as a dip served with carrot, celery, and cucumber sticks (or splurge and have some tortilla chips as a rare treat) or as a topping for sandwiches, egg dishes, or fish tacos (see below).
To make a chunky guacamole dip, stir up some lightly mashed avocado, diced tomato, onion, cilantro, and chiles (to taste), and fresh lime juice until it’s mixed but still chunky. Oh, and the tomatoes are also filled with the antioxidant lycopene, which is associated with a lower risk of prostate and colorectal cancers, among other cancers.
2. Black Bean Salad
A black bean salad packs plenty of nutrients into a small number of calories, providing antioxidants, protein, healthy fats, plenty of fiber, and all kinds of flavor that complements any dish. Black beans could promote heart health, lower cholesterol, and bring down blood pressure. So, they’re really worth eating, even long after Cinco de Mayo is over. A tasty, textured, spicy, and nutritious recipe for a salad combines:
- 5-oz can of black beans
- 9 oz cooked corn (fresh or frozen)
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 1/3 red onion, chopped
- 1 scallion, chopped
- Juice of 1 1/2 to 2 limes
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 tbsp fresh minced cilantro
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1 medium Hass avocado, diced
- 1 diced jalapeno
3. Grilled Fish Tacos
Tacos are delicious. There’s no doubt about that! You can use any meat you’d like, but for this dish, I’m thinking some nice, light fish. And hey, if you want to go ahead and abandon the tortilla shell (or replace it with a whole-grain tortilla wrap), then do it. But at the end of the day, a couple of tortillas on a special occasion won’t derail the diet or put added stress on your heart.
Grill up your favorite fish—red snapper, tilapia, etc.—to get those healthy omega-3 fats and lean protein. Put it in a tortilla shell or wrapper, and then top it off with all your preferred veggies, such as bell pepper, onion, tomato, or cabbage. You can even make a spicy, creamy slaw with protein-packed Greek yogurt, avocado, onions, cilantro, and jalapeno.
As they say in Mexico, Buen provecho!
Simon, K., “Fish Tacos with Creamy Lime Guacamole and Cabbage Slaw,” Food & Wine, June 2008; http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/fish-tacos-creamy-lime-guacamole-and-cabbage-slaw, last accessed May 2, 2017.
“Southwestern Black Bean Salad,” Skinnytaste, April 29, 2013; http://www.skinnytaste.com/southwestern-black-bean-salad/, last accessed May 2, 2017.