Tips For Ordering Mexican Food

America adopted Mexican cuisine into its diet without much hesitation—after all, it’s delicious! But it is important to distinguish between healthy dishes and potentially unhealthy ones. Before you order up that plate of enchiladas at your favorite restaurant, it’s important to remember that a lot of Mexican food is fried and cheese-laden, which means it can add a great deal of saturated fat to your diet if you’re  not careful.

The Dangers Of Fried Food  

It is no secret that excessive fried food consumption contributes to obesity and heart disease. However, a recent study suggests that it may harm, not just your body, but your brain as well. The culprit is believed to be a chemical released when such foods are heated.   

These chemicals are called glycation end products (AGEs). They’re lipids or proteins which, when placed in the presence of sugars, undergo “glycation,” which results in the stiffening and accelerated aging of cells. In addition to contributing to the onset of diabetes and atherosclerosis, this substance has been linked with dangerous inflammation.   

In the study, mice who consumed more AGEs exhibited higher levels of beta-amyloid protein plaques in the brain; a physiological condition typical of those with Alzheimer’s disease. In a group of 93 adults between the ages of 60 and older, those whose blood exhibited higher levels of AGEs exhibited greater degrees of cognitive dysfunction.  

The Healthy Mexican Meal  

Fortunately, Mexican food does not have to be unhealthy. In addition to being choosy about what you order, request to your server that he not bring fried tortilla chips. Similarly, do not eat the fried shell if you eat a taco salad. Instead of refried beans, try frijoles a la charra or borracho beans and Spanish rice; instead of canritas (fried beef or pork), order some chicken breast or grilled fish. Substitute quesadillas (which contain fried foods), with chicken fajitas, which provide a healthy alternative. Finally, flautas contain fried cheese; instead of ordering this, check out your restaurant’s chicken or beef enchiladas. 

Following these tips ensure that you will avoid potentially unhealthy fried food. Of course, food does not have to be fried to be unhealthy.  Full-fat sour cream and cheese is best avoided, with salsa, pico de gallo, jalapeno peppers and cilantro serving as delicious substitutes. If you decide to substitute chalupas or tacos (which is a wise decision) with taco salad or fajita salad, make sure that you do not eat the tortilla shell, and make sure to ask for low-fat sour cream. Finally, if you do decide to consume tortillas, make sure you ask for corn tortillas instead of flour tortillas.