7 Latin Dishes With Surprising Health Benefits

For most people, Latin American food is seen as a guilty pleasure. The good news? You don’t have to think that anymore! Many of your favorite Latin dishes are packed with tons of health benefits, so there is no need to be so hard on yourself when indulging in these tasty foods. 

1. Health Benefits: Guacamole


It’s hard to come across someone who doesn't love guacamole. While some tend to shy away from this green “dip” because of the fat content, guacamole is actually quite healthy! Avocados are packed with antioxidants, and are high in vitamin E, which is very good for the skin. Also, depending on your recipe, some guacamole's contains jalapenos, which speed up your metabolism and help burn fat. 

2. Health Benefits: Enchiladas


Enchiladas are popular at many Mexican restaurants. No need to skip this tasty entree, just order it with red sauce! Most enchilada red sauces contain cumin- a nutritional powerhouse with high iron content and cancer prevention properties. Enchiladas are also lower in calories than many other traditional Mexican dishes, so if your counting calories this entrée is a good choice.  

3. Health Benefits: Carnitas


Carnitas (pulled pork) are usually considered a celebratory food, but that doesn’t mean you have to save this dish for special occasions. Pork (the other white meat) is packed with protein, and contains less fat than beef. Many carnitas are usually braised in orange juice (or with orange slices) with ups the vitamin C content. Carnitas are great in corn tortillas, or over rice, and are definitely something worth celebrating! 

4. Health Benefits: Chips & Salsa

Chips and Salsa

As long as you don’t go overboard, chips and salsa can be quite the nutritious snack. Salsa is low in calories, full of vitamin C, and is a powerful remedy when fighting a cold. Corn tortilla chips are loaded with fiber, which aids in digestion. Beware restaurant chips, however, as they are usually deep-fried. In this case, moderation is key. 

5. Health Benefits: Fish Tacos

Fish Tacos

Nothing signals summer quite like eating fish tacos. This dish is packed with Omega-3’s which protects your heart and reduces inflammation throughout the body. Also, most fish tacos are loaded with vegetables-such as cabbage and tomatoes- which are high in vitamins and minerals.

6. Health Benefits: Tamales


Tamales seem to get a bad health rap because some tend to be made with lard. However, tamales are low in calories, high in fiber, and very delicious! Tamales main ingredient (corn) is packed with B vitamins, antioxidants, and also helps regulate blood sugar levels.

7. Health Benefits: Ropa Vieja

Ropa Vieja

This popular Cuban stew consists of shredded beef, lots of spices, and green peppers. The stew is full of vitamins, and is usually served over yellow rice, which is high in beta-carotene, an antioxidant powerhouse. And if you’re worried about eating red meat, Ropa Veija can also be made with chicken, which will lower the calorie content.