August 2010 Issue

The Vibrant, Healthy Flavors of an Authentic Latin Diet

The traditional diet of Latin America is vastly different from the westernized versions of foods we’ve come to know—images of cheesy enchiladas and greasy tacos are usually conjured up. But Latin cuisine has a fascinating history that includes influences from the ancient Aztec, Mayan and Incan cultures. The cornerstones of the traditional diet are beans, grains, potatoes, tomatoes, chilies, avocados, corn, vegetables, legumes, and spices—foods health experts now know are part of a disease-protective diet. In addition, the traditional diet includes many healthful habits, such as combining colorful fruits and vegetables, a focus on eating "real" food instead of processed food, and an emphasis on plant proteins such as beans and grilling meats.

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