Mexican smart food, a healthy option

Smart food includes a minimally processed balanced diet related to sustainable food systems that require fewer pesticides and agrochemicals

Mexican smart food, a healthy option
Mexican cuisine is also an Intagible Cultural Heritage - Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL
English 15/11/2019 17:57 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 18:10
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A great variety of Mexican food is called smart food because it embodies a healthy diet and is culturally pertinent, that is, besides being balanced and minimally processed, they are related to sustainable food systems that require fewer pesticides and agrochemicals if they are grown in a farm.

In 2010, traditional Mexican cuisine, an alive, ancient and community culture, was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO for being a whole cultural model that includes agricultural activities, rituals, ancient practical knowledge, cooking techniques, and ancient community habits.

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Laura Moreno Altamirano, professor of the Public Health Department of the Medicine Faculty of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, explained that these traditional smart meals are part of our cultural identity and contribute to improving health and control diseases.

For a meal to be considered smart, it must include products from different food groups, for instance, cereal like corn and wheat, legumes like beans and lentils, vegetables, moderate amounts of animal products as protein, and a wide variety of fruits, sweets, and fats.

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Culinary diversity
Mexico has a huge culinary diversity of mixed origin due to the influence of other countries and it has a lot of affordable products and foods that have created a wide and nutritious cuisine. What is most important is to watch out for the quantity and balance of what we eat.

Tlacoyos, quesadillas, sopes, pozole, tostadas, enfrijoladas, molletes, and guacamole, are some of the smart foods that are part of the Mexican diet, Moreno Altamirano said.

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Pozole, for instance, includes corn and is accompanied by tostadas; it contains animal products such as meat and sour cream and is complemented with vegetables like lettuce, onion, radish, oregano, and pepper. Therefore, in pozole we have a mix of protein of vegetable and animal origin, vegetables, and cereal that make smart because it supplies all the nutrients our body needs.

For its part, a tlacoyo combines corn with beans and adds sauce, lettuce, and cheese, that is, foods from all the groups. The same happens with quesadillas, sopes, and any other meal that includes food from several groups, which turns them into smart foods, added Laura Moreno.

She pointed out that most traditional Mexican meals are rich in fiber, minerals, and antioxidants, like squash, chayote, chilacayote, squash flower, nopales, green tomato, tomato, quelite, quintonil, green beans, and a long list of products, most of them native, and others product from mixing but all of them highly healthy.

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