en de
Home
arrow
Nutrition
arrow
Is Menudo Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits
Nutrition

Is Menudo Healthy? Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD check
Published on October 17, 2022
180 Views
8 min

Are you a fan of the traditional Mexican soup, menudo? Often made with tripe, many wonder if this unique and flavorful soup is good for their health. So let’s talk about it!

is menudo healthy
Shutterstock.com

We may earn a small commission if you buy via links on our site. Learn more.

As with much of Mexican cuisine, menudo is a spicy dish that many love to enjoy around the world. However, with its distinct primary ingredient, tripe, it makes sense that you may be curious if it is healthy for you.

Can this delicious and comforting soup be added to your healthy and balanced diet? From the potential benefits to the nutritional downsides, let’s talk about menudo. 

What Is Menudo?

Menudo, also affectionately known as pancita or mole de panza, is a Mexican broth-based soup traditionally made from beef tripe, hominy, veggies, and chilis. 

It often contains hominy, which is a hearty form of maize kernels. Menudo recipes also call for onion, garlic, and spices such as oregano, cumin, and guajillo chilis. 

But what is tripe? Tripe is the name of the lining of a cow’s stomach. As a primary ingredient in the soup and the thing used to make the delicious broth, tripe is the star of the show when it comes to menudo.

Tripe is a variety of organ meats many love. Chicken broth is often added as well. 

Similar to the flavor of liver, tripe has a very rich and often salty taste that flavors this soup. While typically beef tripe, some use other types of tripe.

Some common variations include Menudo Rojo with red chilies, Sinaloa style with no chilis but hominy, and pancita, which does not have hominy. However, the options are endless when deciding what to put into your menudo dish.

Is Menudo Healthy?

Menudo is healthy because the tripe is rich in vitamins and minerals, such as selenium and zinc. The spices and vegetables, such as onion and garlic, also add impressive benefits to your health. The soup is also a great source of protein.

5 Health Benefits of Menudo 

Whether from vegetables, spices, or the tripe itself, let’s talk more about the potential benefits of eating menudo. Read on! 

#1 Rich in antioxidants

Menudo is rich in antioxidants, such as selenium. Antioxidants are chemical compounds that work to fight against harmful free radicals that can contribute to oxidative stress in the body. Oxidative stress plays a role in many chronic disease states, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Therefore, eat menudo to get these beneficial antioxidants that help your body to fight oxidative stress, infection, and inflammation. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, selenium also functions in reproduction, DNA synthesis, and thyroid hormone metabolism. 

#2 Source of vitamin B12

Menudo soup is also a great source of vitamin B12. This is because vitamin B12 comes exclusively from animal sources, such as beef tripe. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, while vitamin B12 has essential roles in many body parts, it mainly supports red blood cell formation, nerve functioning, DNA and cell production, and more.

Menudo is actually a great source of many other B vitamins as well, including folate. B vitamins, in general, are needed in a healthy and balanced diet to stay strong and healthy.  

#3 A high amount of iron

Similar to all organ meats, cooked tripe also provides some iron, which is essential for blood health. Iron helps red blood cells transport oxygen through the blood to wherever it is needed around the body. 

The University of California San Francisco states that iron also plays a role in respiration, energy metabolism, and immune functioning. 

While organ meats are a great source of iron, all red meats are as well, such as beef, pork, or veal. Therefore, incorporating these meats into your diet can help you get enough iron in your diet.

Not consuming enough iron can contribute to anemia, in which there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells in the blood. 

Vitamin C helps your body better absorb the iron in the food you eat. So, try to pair your menudo with some citrus fruits, strawberries, bell peppers, or another vitamin C source to get the most iron out of your meal.

#4 Supports a healthy nervous system 

Menudo is also a great source of the essential mineral magnesium. According to the National Institutes of Health, magnesium helps conduct nerve impulses through the body by transporting calcium and potassium ions across cell membranes.

In other words, the magnesium in menudo helps nerve signals get appropriately and correctly transmitted to where it needs to go in the body. 

In addition to nervous control, magnesium helps regulate blood sugars, control blood pressure, and create proteins, among other functions. 

#5 Wound healing

Finally, menudo contains significant amounts of zinc. Zinc works with vitamin C to help heal wounds. It also supports a healthy immune system to keep you healthy and protected from pathogens and bacteria. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, zinc is also essential for energy metabolism. In other words, zinc helps your body take the sugars, or the glucose, from the foods you eat and turn them into a form of energy that the body can use as power and fuel to function. 

Menudo Nutrition Facts

Now that we have discussed the possible benefits of eating menudo, let’s break down the nutritional information of a 100-gram serving and discuss the possible implications for your health. 

Nutritional value (per 100g)

Calories/Nutrient (per 100g)Amount 
Calories (kcal)40
Sodium (mg)482
Net Carbs (g)4.19
Fiber (g)1.6
Sugar (g)0.52
Fats (Total)1.39
Protein (g)3.36
Cholesterol (mg)27

Source: https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1100103/nutrients 

Low in calories and fats 

Since menudo is primarily broth-based instead of a creamy soup, it is relatively low in calories and fat. For example, a 100-gram serving only contains 40 calories and less than 1.5 grams of fat. 

Therefore, menudo is a good option if you are looking to lose weight or maintain your current weight because the liquid and the little bit of fiber and protein help you feel full and satisfied. 

Additionally, this is beneficial because you can eat more menudo than just a mere 100-gram serving and still have a meal that is relatively low in calories and fat, though high in salt (more on this below!).

Low in protein

However, a 100-gram serving of menudo only contains 3 grams of protein. Protein provides essential amino acids that are essential for a healthy and balanced diet as they help build muscle and support chemical reactions throughout the body.

Therefore, pairing your Mexican dish with a protein source, such as a glass of low-fat milk or a handful of nuts, can help boost the nutrition of your meal. A protein source will also help you feel more full and satisfied after the meal.

Low in carbohydrates

A serving of menudo only has 4 grams of carbohydrates and less than 1 gram of sugar, making it an excellent option for those with diabetes and those who need to limit their carbohydrate intake. 

Additionally, this makes it a good option for those who are looking to lose weight. To make your menudo keto-friendly, you could take out the hominy as well.

Low in cholesterol

Additionally, a 100-gram serving only contains 27 milligrams of dietary cholesterol. Cholesterol is a type of fat that is found in animal products. 

This number is considered a low amount of dietary cholesterol compared to other animal products since the 2020–2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends consuming as little cholesterol as possible since too much dietary cholesterol can contribute to high blood pressure.

High in sodium

A 100-gram serving of menudo contains a whopping 482 milligrams of sodium. The American Heart Association recommends consuming no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. However, they suggest that having no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium a day is even more ideal for decreasing your risk of heart disease.

Additionally, since 100 grams comes to just about one-third of a cup of soup, it is pretty easy to eat more than 100 grams. A typical 10.5 fluid ounce can of menudo contains 2,820 milligrams of sodium. 

Therefore, look for low-sodium or no-salt-added canned varieties when you eat menudo, or if making your own, you can limit the salt you add to make your menudo healthy.

Healthy Menudo Recipe

Let’s walk through a healthy Menudo recipe that is so easy you can make it yourself at home! Keep in mind that decreasing the amount of chili can give your menudo a more mild flavor.

Healthy Menudo ingredients

  • 1 pound of beef tripe, sliced into squares
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • A small diced onion
  • 1 can of hominy
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup red chile powder
  • 2 tsp of oregano
  • 2 tsp of cumin

Directions

  1. Add the tripe to a pot of water on the stovetop. 
  2. Add the garlic, chile powder, oregano, onion, and cumin.
  3. Cook for one hour. 
  4. Once the beef tripe is tender and soft, add in the can of hominy and let cook for another 15 minutes. 
  5. Add salt and black pepper to taste and top with some fresh lime juice.

For more recipes that are easy and healthy to spruce up your diet, check out the DoFasting app! DoFasting provides thousands of recipes that are hand-picked by nutrition professionals.

DoFasting
The fastest track to healthy weight loss
  • Useful progress tracker and calendar
  • Calorie tracker to track daily caloric intake
  • Over 5,000 nutritious recipes
Our rating:
4.7
Visit DoFasting

FAQs

Can I eat menudo while pregnant?

As long as the menudo is thoroughly heated, it is safe to eat this Mexican dish while pregnant. The antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals are healthy for pregnant women.

Is menudo good or bad for diabetes?

Since menudo is low in total carbohydrates and sugar, this Mexican soup is good for individuals with diabetes. In addition, it will not cause significant spikes in blood sugar.

How many calories are in a bowl of Menudo?

There are only 96 calories in a serving of one cup of menudo. A typical 10.5 fluid ounce can of menudo contains about 234 calories.

Is menudo good for weight loss?

Menudo is good for weight loss since it is low in calories, fat, and carbohydrates but has plenty of ingredients and broth to keep you feeling full and satisfied.

A Word From a Nutritionist

Overall, menudo is a delicious soup filled with essential vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, many are weary of trying menudo because of its unique flavor from the beef tripe, which is the stomach lining of a cow. However, if you like menudo, continue to reap the benefits! 

To make your menudo healthy, bulk it up with protein, such as fresh pork sausage or beans, or pair it with a glass of low-fat milk, increase the amounts of vegetables you include, and lower the salt content

Additionally, pairing your menudo with a slice of whole-wheat bread or roll can provide the dietary fiber needed to stay full and promote healthy digestion and gut health.

Conclusion

In conclusion, menudo is packed with vegetables, spices, and herbs that make it both tasty and nutritious. 

It is low in calories and fat but very high in sodium. Therefore, make your own at home, where you can control the sodium content, or try to find a store-bought version that is low in sodium.

Finally, it is low in protein and fiber, but some simple substitutions can increase these amounts significantly.

HR_author_photo_Edibel
Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Share on
facebook twitter pinterest linkedin

0 Comments

Leave a comment

checked
Thank you for your comment!
We will review it as soon as possible.
HealthReporter

Advertisement
FitMom FitMom
company-logo