Nutritional Benefits

The staple diet of the region—corn and beans, supplemented with meat, dairy products, and local fruit and vegetables—is nutritionally complete and well suited to a healthful lifestyle. The proper combination of tortilla and beans provides an excellent complement of amino acids, thus supplying the necessary amount of complex protein. The process of liming the maize makes the calcium and the niacin in the tortilla more bioavailable, and this food is a major source of these nutrients. In addition, the traditional preparation of tortillas with a hand mill and grinding stones appears to add iron and zinc to the tortilla. Beans are excellent sources of B vitamins, magnesium, folate, and fiber. The tomato and chile-based salsas, along with several of the tropical fruits such as limes and oranges are important sources of vitamin C, and the variety of vegetables and yellow fruits such as papaya, melon, and mango provide excellent sources of carotenoids, which are precursors of vitamin A.

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