Is menudo healthy? While this Mexican soup is a classic, you may not know much about its health benefits.
In Mexican culture, menudo is a popular folk remedy for everything from a cold to a hangover. If you’re wondering if there’s any truth to this tradition, this blog post is for you!
We’ll go over the basic nutrition facts and benefits for this soup with beef tripe, and look into some of these traditional uses of menudo, as well.
So grab a bowl of menudo and let’s dive in!
Menudo is a traditional Mexican stew made with cooked tripe (beef’s stomach lining), hominy, and a variety of spices. It is traditionally served for special occasions, breakfast, or even as a popular home remedy. You’ll find menudo throughout Mexico and the Southwest.
How do you eat it?
You can eat menudo like any soup. But before you dig in, remember to add fresh lime juice, chopped onion, and maybe some radishes.
Is it good for you?
Menudo is a pretty healthy food! Mexican cuisine is full of nourishing soups and caldos like menudo. They make great additions to a balanced diet because a soup like menudo has a good blend of protein, carbs, fiber, and vegetables.
To further investigate if it is healthy for you, let’s break down menudo nutrition facts and benefits.
Here are the nutrition facts for a typical bowl of menudo rojo (1) (keep in mind nutrition facts may vary by recipe):
|Iron||6% daily value|
|B12||20% daily value|
|Zinc||18% daily value|
Honeycomb tripe is actually a relatively low-fat protein. 4 ounces of raw tripe has about 4 grams of fat (5). Tripe has healthy unsaturated fats in addition to saturated fat.
Any additional fat in menudo would vary based on the recipe or cooking technique. Overall, though, I would not classify menudo as a food that’s too high in fat.
Overall, I would classify menudo as a healthy food. Menudo provides plenty of protein from the tripe and hominy is a good source of fiber. This combination of protein and fiber, plus the water from the broth, makes menudo very filling while providing plenty of nutrients.
People looking for a complete, balanced meal may wish to add more vegetables to their menudo at the table. I recommend garnishes like diced onion and shredded cabbage!
Is tripe good for you?
Organ meat like tripe has some unique health benefits that we don’t get very much of anymore in our modern food system.
In addition to being a good source of vitamin B12 and zinc, tripe is a good source of collagen (6)! Collagen is important for building and maintaining connective tissue. This is why eating enough collagen may help with joint pain, arthritis, etc (7).
One thing to be aware of is that tripe is somewhat high in cholesterol (8). It can still be a part of a healthy diet, but it’s something to be aware of if you’re watching your cholesterol.
Healthy Menudo Recipes
Here are some menudo recipes to make that are simple and nutritious!
- Menudo by Mama Maggie’s Kitchen. This recipe includes a tip on how to reduce the smell of tripe.
- White Menudo by Rumba Meats. A classic menudo variation without the chile sauce.
- Vegan menudo recipe by Mexican Made Meatless. For my plant-based amigas! Keep in mind this recipe won’t have the vitamin B12, iron, or collagen as classic menudo. It’s still a great source of fiber and vegetables, though!
- Menudo verde recipe by La piña en la Cocina. A fun alternative using green chiles instead of red.
Pregnant people are frequently told to avoid organ meats, due to the high vitamin A content. It’s worth noting this recommendation applies more to liver–which is especially high in vitamin A– than tripe.
Many dietitians now are revising this guideline to recommend organ meats in moderation during pregnancy. This means 1-2 servings per week (3 oz each).
In the case of menudo, this would be one bowl of menudo 1-2 times per week (if this is the only organ meat you’re eating). For more information on organ meats and pregnancy, check out this post by prenatal dietitian Ryann Kipping. And always remember to check with your doctor.
Is it good for a cold?
There’s no clear scientific evidence suggesting menudo is good for a cold. However, there are a few reasons you may still want to enjoy menudo if you have a cold.
First is simply comfort! If you’ve grown up associating a bowl of menudo with being taken care of when you’re sick, it can bring you a lot of comfort. Don’t underestimate the power of these small comforts when it comes to healing!
Second, there may be something about warm soup in general that is good when you’re sick. Some evidence suggests that hot chicken broth may help loosen mucus, and herbs and spices may do the same thing.
It makes sense then that a nutritious soup like menudo would have a similar effect.
Is it good for a hangover?
There’s not much information out there investigating if menudo is good for a hangover. However, there are a few possible reasons it’s a popular home remedy.
First is simply that it’s hydrating. Alcohol is a diuretic and can dehydrate you, which is one of the causes of a hangover (9). Hydrating foods like soup can help alleviate this dehydration.
Canned menudo will still be a good source of protein and fiber, thanks to the tripe and the hominy. Canned menudo may be higher in salt and lower in vegetables than a homemade version. So you may need to add extra veggies to your bowl if you choose canned.
Menudo has elements that are both heart healthy and less heart healthy. The good news is that menudo has plenty of fiber and resistant starch thanks to the hominy. However, people with high cholesterol may want to be aware of the fact that tripe can be high in cholesterol.
People with high blood pressure will want to watch out for high sodium in canned menudo.
In short, menudo can be a very nutritious meal. It’s a good source of nutrients that many of us don’t get enough of, like collagen and vitamin B12.
People may want to exercise caution if they have high cholesterol or high blood pressure. You may also want to add extra vegetables to your bowl, depending on your health goals.
But while there isn’t much data on the effectiveness of menudo for a cold or a hangover, I think we can see that maybe our moms and abuelas were on to something with their home remedies!
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