The history and culture of every nation can be seen in their language, in their folklore, in their traditional clothes and fabrics, and in their food. For Mexicans, one of the best ways to understand their culture is through their food. Mexican cuisine is the result of Mayan, Aztec, and Spanish influence. Of these three, the Spanish had the largest influence on Mexican food and introduced Mexicans to dairy products, garlic, and many herbs and spices.

Benefits of Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries. Not only do they make food taste amazing, but they have also been used for medicinal purposes. Studies have shown that spices and herbs possess properties that can help the overall health of people who consume them. Herbs and spices serve as antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, antitumorigenic, and anticarcinogenic. They also help in lowering your cholesterol and glucose levels. In addition, they also have properties that can help improve your cognition and mood.

Another health benefit of herbs and spices is that they can be used as alternatives to salt, fat, and sugar. Cinnamon and allspice can be used to replace sugar and black pepper, cumin, and dill seeds serve as alternatives to salt. Also, instead of using breading, gravies, and sauces, you can alternatively use herbs and spices to make your food more flavorful. All in all, these are easy yet healthy ways to reduce your intake of sodium, calories, and sweets.

Commonly Used Herbs and Spices in Mexican Cooking

There are hundreds of types of herbs and spices. We’re going to touch on the most commonly used herbs and spices in Mexican cooking, their health benefits, and popular fresh Mexican dishes.

Garlic. Although fresh garlic is botanically a vegetables, it is used by many people as a herb or a spice. Mexicans usually use it when cooking sauces, salsa, taco seasonings, and  Spanish rice. A few of the benefits of consuming garlic include boosting the immune system, improving heart health, and helping in maintaining clear skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties.

Onion. Just like garlic, onion is used by Mexicans in many of their recipes. Some of the most famous foods that contain onions are nachos, tacos, burritos, tortillas, and enchiladas. Many people like it because it adds a little kick and a tangy crunch to their food. Onions are also good antioxidants and they contain a high amount of vitamin C, dietary fiber, folic acid, calcium, iron, and protein –all of which contribute to your overall health. Onions also contain quercetin which is known to provide beneficial effects against some illnesses like cataracts, cardiovascular diseases, and even some kinds of cancer.

Coriander. Coriander as a spice contains dried seeds of the coriander plant, also known as Chinese parsley. Its fresh and lemony flavor makes it a great spice to be used in bread, cakes, and other desserts. It is also used in making salsa and cooking stews, soups, and other dishes like creamy coriander chicken. Its benefits include reducing skin inflammation and relieving some skin disorders. In addition, it also helps in lowering your cholesterol level, regulating blood pressure, and healing ulcers.

Allspice. In some regions in Mexico, allspice is a key ingredient in cooking chilmole, a Turkish dish that contains recado negro spice marinade. They also use it in spice cakes, cookies, flan, and other desserts and beverages. Mexican pickled fish, vegetables, and meat also contain allspice. Based on a medically reviewed article, just like the other herbs and spices, allspice is beneficial for your immune system, digestive system, and cardiovascular health. It also has an anti-inflammatory capacity and is favorable for your blood circulation since it contains a good amount of copper and iron.

Cloves. This herb is usually used by Mexicans in making salsa and guacamole. They also use it in some of their dishes like gazpacho, menudo, mole poblano, and spicy Mexican beans. You just need to be careful with this because it can easily overpower a dish if you use too much. Other than their antibacterial property, based on an article reviewed by a registered dietitian, cloves are also good for your gastrointestinal health, liver protection, diabetes management, and bone preservation.

Thyme. The warm, distinct taste of thyme is perfect for spicy foods and becomes even stronger when frozen. It is commonly used in Mexican mole sauce and Mexican tacos de birria. Thyme aids in boosting your immune system and in reducing inflammation. It also helps in healing and serves as a remedy for cough and sore throat.

Mexican Oregano. Unlike the regular Mediterranean oregano, this herb has an earthy flavor with citrus undertones. It is a popular seasoning for pozole, black beans, and heavy meat dishes. It pairs perfectly with spicy chili peppers so it is also used in chili and salsas. Mexican oregano has various properties that are beneficial to your health like “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, UV defense, anti-glycemic, and cytotoxicity.”

Mexican Cinnamon. This spice has a sweet, mild, and complex taste compared to the more common cinnamon. Because of its taste, it is frequently used in sweet treats like Mexican cinnamon cookies, churros, and Mexican buñuelos. The benefits of consuming this involve balanced blood sugar, improved glycogen synthesis in the liver, and slowed the rate of gastric emptying. It also contains antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Cumin. The unique bitter and somewhat toasty taste of this herb is something that is hard to find in other herbs and spices making it an important component of some Mexican dishes. It is used in Mexican dishes like Caldillo Duranfues, enchiladas, some types of cheese, Gallina Borracha, carnitas, and many others. It possesses the other common benefits of herbs and spices like antioxidant and antibacterial properties, immunity booster, and it reduces the risk of diabetes. What makes it extraordinary is that it helps in relieving respiratory disorders and increasing lactation and cognitive performance.

Cacao. Mexicans usually use cacao in savory and sweet dishes like ice creams, cakes, moles, and chile-based sauces. They also have their own version of hot chocolate. According to an online publication on the health benefits of cacao powder, some benefits of cacao powder include lowered blood pressure and reduced diabetes risk, inflammation, and heart disease risk.

Chili Powder. It is used by Mexicans in many dishes but the most common is in tacos and enchiladas. They also use it in marinades, vegetable salads, and cornbread. It is so common in Mexico that they even use it as a condiment to flavor fruits and as an ingredient in some candies. According to an article on the health benefits of chili, chili peppers, and chili powder, it reduces the duration of sickness, prevents heart disease, and promotes weight loss.

Final Thoughts

Herbs and spices do not only enrich the flavor of your food, but they also come packed with a number of health benefits. They also let you have amazing experiences with food. Above all those, they tell great stories about the foods, cultures, and people of different nations like Mexico.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What spices and herbs do Mexican cuisine common use

Herbs and spices are an important part of any cuisine, and Mexican food is no exception. There are a variety of common spices and herbs used in Mexican food, including chili powder, cumin, oregano, garlic, and onions. These ingredients are often used to flavor meat dishes such as tacos and enchiladas.

In addition to the aforementioned spices, Mexicans also use plenty of fresh cilantro in their cooking. This aromatic herb adds a bright flavor to many dishes, including soups, stews, salads, and salsas. Other popular herbs used in Mexican cuisine include epazote (a pungent herb often used to flavor beans)

What is the main seasoning in Mexican food

Most people think of traditional Mexican food have a variety of Mexicans spices, but the truth is that the main seasoning in Mexican cuisine is actually a spice blend of seasoning mix. Some common Mexicans spices includes smoked paprika, cumin, oregano, and chili powder, and it gives dishes a deep red color and unique flavor. While some Mexican dishes do indeed pack a bit of heat, it's typically more due to the inclusion of jalapeños or other chile peppers.

What are the most common Mexican spices

While Mexican cuisine varies greatly from one region to another, there are several spices that are used in most recipes. These include chili powder, cumin, garlic, and onion. Some other spices used in Mexican food include oregano, thyme, and black pepper.

What are common Mexican spice mix that goes into taco seasoning

Chili spices are a common ingredient in Mexican tacos. The most common chili spice used in tacos is cumin, which gives the dish a nice smoky flavor. Other common chili spices used in tacos include , ground chiles , oregano, and Ceylon cinnamon. These spices can be found in most Mexican grocery stores.

There are a variety of popular spices used in central and southern Mexico, including chili peppers, cumin, oregano, and cilantro plant. Central Mexico is home to many of the most commonly used spices, such as chili peppers and cumin. These peppers are used to add flavor and heat to dishes. Chili powder is also a common spice found in central Mexico. This powder is made from dried chili peppers that have been ground up into a fine powder. Depending on the Mexicans recipes. It is often used as a rub for meats or can be added to soups and stews. Oregano is another popular spice found in this region. It has a strong flavor and aroma that goes well with many Mexican dishes.

What Mexican dressing is used in chicken salad dressing

Authentic Mexican food salad dressing is a tasty, tangy addition to chicken salads. Commonly used spices in this type of dressing include cumin, chile powder, and garlic powder and onion powder. This bold dressing really kicks up the sweet flavor of chicken salads, making them more interesting and delicious. If you're looking for a change from your usual salad routine.

Does Mexican cuisine have different types of chili powder

Yes, there are actually many different types of chili powder used in Mexican cuisine depending on the recipe. Each recipe with their own unique flavor profile. For example, ancho powder form is made from dried poblano peppers and has a mild, sweet taste. whereas chipotle powder is made from smoked fresh jalapeño peppers and has a deep, smoky flavor with that heat a unique fragrant aroma.

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