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5 Common Misconceptions About Mexican Food

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Mexican food

For many broke college students or just about anyone with the late-night munchies or a wicked hangover, Mexican food is god sent. It’s very affordable, delicious, and assuming your stomach can handle the unique combination of cheese, meat, veggies, and Mexican spices, filling.

In the U.S. and Canada, restaurants such as Taco Bell and Chipotle have become go-to places for lovers of Mexican food. Visions of crunchy tacos and burritos bursting out of their wrap, and nachos buried deep under tons of melted cheese — that’s perfect Mexican cuisine, right? Wrong!

What most Americans and Canadians think of as Mexican food is actually Tex-Mex, the abominable “Americanized” version. Let’s clear up a few misconceptions about authentic Mexican food then…

corn tortillas, Mexican food

1. Corn is to Mexican Food as Wheat is to American

Corn is a staple of Mexican cuisine and is specially used to make food that’s often served as an accompaniment to stews, soups, grilled meats and other dishes. Two popular examples are corn tortillas and husks.

The flour-based tortillas that most non-Mexicans have become accustomed are a Tex-Mex design and are not “authentic” Mexican.

Huitlacoche (Corn smut)

2. Of the Millions of Different Fillings, Beef Isn’t Common

In authentic Mexican cuisine, you will rarely, if ever, see ground beef on the menu because beef is/was expensive in the country!

Mexicans traditionally used ingredients that were plentiful and affordable, so fillings such as squash blossoms, insects and even “huitlacoche” (pictured above, a fungus that attacks corn) are common. The little meat that was used were cheap cuts that were marinated and braised slow and low for maximum flavor and tenderness.

Oaxaca White Mexican cheese

3. Cheese is Not Yellow Or Gooey, And It’s Sparingly Used

There is nothing authentically Mexican about the yellow, gooey melted cheese on top of your nachos, or even that shredded yellow cheese on your tacos. Real Mexican cheeses are either queso Fresco or queso Oaxaca (shown above).

Fresco is crumbly, nutty, and salty, while Oaxaca is stringy and melty, much like mozzarella. However, authentic Mexican cuisine limits the use of these cheeses so as not to overpower the other flavors.

Pico de Gallo, Mexican Salsa

4. Salsa Ain’t Salsa, It’s Pico De Gallo

Mention salsa to your typical American or Canadian and the first thing they conjure up are chopped tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, with a dash of lime juice. However, what we call salsa is known in Mexico as pico de gallo (pictured above), a combination of tomatoes, onions, cilantro and lime juice.

Authentic Mexican salsa is actually a fresh sauce made from steeping chillis with tomatoes, garlic, onions, jalapeno, and lime juice and then blending the mixture into a combination of other fresh ingredient.

Mojarra Frito, Mexican Fish dish

5. Tacos, Burritos and Quesadillas are All There is

Although Tacos, burritos, quesadillas and even nachos are very common in Mexican cuisine, they are not the only things on the menu. There are plethora of other dishes from chicken with mole poblano (chicken simmered in a rich, chocolate-chili sauce) to Cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork stew).

Mexico is bordered by both the Pacific and Atlantic ocean, so can image there are many fish dishes. You should try the Mojarra frita…

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Diet & Health

Have Anxiety? Eat These 5 Foods to Feel Better

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Food and anxiety

It has long been known that certain foods have a calming effect on the mind, and now new research now supports this longstanding observation.

In the case of anxiety, there are a number of foods that are effective at alleviating or even curing the condition. Here they are:

Salmon slices

1. Fatty Fish

You shouldn’t be surprised to see fish on the list. Studies have shown time and time again that the gill-bearing aquatic animals are among the healthiest food sources for protein and omega 3 fatty acids. In fact, one study has found that the omega 3 in fatty fish found in such fish as wild Alaskan salmon may significantly reduce anxiety levels.

With fish’s versatility as a culinary ingredient, there is no excuse not to load up on these healthy and satiating food

pickles and other pickled vegetables

2. Probiotics-Rich Food

Food rich in probiotics (or “good bacteria”) have been proven to improve gut health and strengthen the immune system. A major study carried out by the University of Toronto also shows that they can also mitigate depression and social anxiety.

Pickles, kimchi, kefir and sauerkraut are notable for their probiotic content, so try to incorporate them in your daily diet.

Raw spinach in brown bowl

3. Magnesium-Rich Food

As with probiotics, there’s a scientific link between magnesium and anxiety. An Austrian study carried out in 2004 concluded that a magnesium-deficient diet in mice resulted to an increase in anxiety and depression related-behavior.

To help ensure you meet your daily requirement of magnesium, double up on green leafy vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes and seeds.

Fresh Oysters

4. Foods Rich in Zinc

Experts recommend eating foods rich in zinc to reduce anxiety and psychosis, Mental Health Food reports. A study in Guatemala involving 674 students found that those who took 5 mg of zinc per day for a span of 6 months had significantly decreased levels of depression and anxiety compared to those who took a placebo.

Oysters contain the highest levels of zinc. Other seafood like crabs and lobsters are also rich in the mineral, as are beef, chicken, cashews, milk and cheese.

Cut Avocados

5. Avocado, other vitamin B rich foods

There are many reasons to eat Avocados, and now you can add anxiety-mitigation to the nutrient-dense fruit’s  long, seemingly-growing list of benefits.

Food rich in vitamin B like Avocados can aid in the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. According to Mental Health Daily, deficiencies these neurotransmitters are linked to increased mood swings, sadness, insomnia, worrying and even the inability to feel pleasure.

Often times, people fall into a habit of excessively eating when worried, anxious, nervous, or stressed. Rather than eat any and everything that crosses your path, try to reach for food that will actually make you feel less anxious. As we have shown, the selection is large and varied.

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Diet & Health

Remember Better: Eating These Foods Can Improve Your Memory

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Different brain food

It seems everyone wants a good memory nowadays, explaining why memory-enhancing medicine or food supplements have become popular. But do you really need supplements or pills to help you remember better? What if we told you there are certain foods that can help achieve the results you desire?

In this article, we list a number of prominent food items, that when consumed, have the same effect as taking questionable memory enhancing food supplements:

Fresh seafood

1.Wild Salmon, Herring, Mackerel and Other Oily Fish

This one shouldn’t come as surprise — fish is good for the brain because certain species are rich in the much-talked-about omega 3 fatty acids.

Now, there have been conflicting studies regarding the memory-enhancing benefits of omega 3, but a recent MIDAS study that involved 485 aging participants with memory problems concluded that those who took omega 3 supplements for a mere 24 week period exhibited significantly higher scores in memory tests than those who took a placebo.

Yet more scientific research supporting the efficacy of omega 3 acids in maintaining a healthy memory and even a healthy heart health…

Different nuts together

2. Nuts, Dark Green Leafy Vegetables and Seeds

When was the last time you put some nuts or a bushy broccoli in your mouth? In you want better memory but haven’t stuffed your face in a while, it’s about time you started making them part of your daily diet.

Nuts; leafy veggies like kale, collard greens, spinach, and broccoli; and certain seeds have a high Vitamin E content that help maintain and even improve mental health, especially warding off dementia.

In fact, a Harvard study found that those who take vitamin E and C supplements had 88 percent lower incidence of vascular dementia compared to those who do not.

Walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, flax seed, peanuts and sunflower seeds are among the most Vitamin E-rich foods that could actually enhance one’s memory.

Just make sure to stay away from salted nuts; the considerable amount of sodium they usually contain is very bad for your health.

Many Fresh Fruits

3. Fruits and Other Plant-Based Foods Rich in Flavonoids

Many fruits and vegetables are rich in flavonoids, antioxidants that help repair cell damage caused by free radicals. Flavonoids have been known to reverse age-related memory decline, with one study showing that flavanols, anthocyanins and flavanones — all types of flavonoids — have the greatest potential in improving memory.

Apples, berries, citrus, various vegetables, wine, tea and cocoa (used to make chocolate) are especially rich in flavonoids, according to Royal Society of Chemistry. So if you want improved memory, it’s important to include them in your diet.

For chocolate lovers, just make sure to opt for dark chocolates to avoid excessive sugar content.

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Diet & Health

Drink Healthy: Top 4 Healthiest Types of Tea for You

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Different types of tea, healthiest

A lot of people have been switching their morning coffee for tea, and for good reason. Not only does tea provide much of the caffeine coffee drinkers crave, but they also offer a host of unique health benefits.

Indeed, scientific support for the health benefits of tea-drinking continues to accumulate, with one recent study finding that consistent tea drinkers are 35 percent less likely to have a heart attack or any cardiovascular disease.

In fact, regular tea consumption could actually reduce arterial plaque and possibly reverse atherosclerosis.

However, with so many different variety of tea products available, how do first-time tea drinkers know which ones are the best? To help you, we list the top four types of tea that are generally considered to offer the most health benefits.

Oolong Tea, wooded board

Oolong Tea

Those who drink tea primarily for their health benefits need to give the funnily-named oolong tea a try. Produced through a unique process that includes oxidation and withering the tea plant under the sun before curling and twisting, the traditional Chinese tea packed with antioxidants.

According to WebMD, the antioxidants in oolong tea provide drinkers anti-cancer protection and lower bad cholesterol levels.

The tea also has fat-burning properties and is often marketed as a weight loss option. For people who want to kickstart their mornings on a high (caffeine high, that is) and healthy note, replacing the morning coffee with oolong tea could do wonders.

Green tea

Green Tea

Green tea has long been known as one of the healthiest drinks available and has been a favorite of yoga practitioners, especially yogis.

In recommending green tea, Authority Nutrition researched ten reasons why people should drink it regularly, focusing on the tea’s richness in Epigallocatechin Gallete (EGCG), a powerful antioxidant that some scientists believe treats various diseases.

Green tea also contains polyphenols called flavonoids and catechins, antioxidants that help repair free radical damage in cells. Catechins also protect against heart disease, cancer, and even neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

As a matter of fact, teas are a better source of polyphenols than fruits and vegetables because they contain ten time more of the special antioxidants.

White tea

White Tea

For those who prefer a more delicately-flavored tea, white tea is a good option. Not only is it relatively tasty, but the tea also rich in catechins and other antioxidants and offers the same level of heart disease and cancer protection as green tea does.

WebMD reports that white tea may also offer the most potent anticancer property when compared to more processed tea variants.

Ginger tea with lemon

Ginger-Lemon

Ginger by itself has a lot of health benefits, most noteworthy of which is its anti-microbial properties. Combined it with other healthy ingredients only assures an even healthier concoction.

Speaking of concoctions, ginger lemon tea is among the healthiest, thanks largely to its immune boosting property. The mixture of powerful antioxidants from the two ingredients creates a powerful drink that may even help prevent the growth and spread of cancer cells, reports VegKitchen.

Ginger lemon tea could also help subdue the effects of diabetes because Ginger is rich in zinc, a mineral that aids in the production and secretion of insulin.

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