Few Mexican dishes are complete without a side of rice and beans. This classic combination provides the foundation of a delicious meal at Mexican restaurants. But rice and beans aren't just popular...

This dynamic duo packs a health punch. 

Adding to the nutritional benefits of Mexican food, these foods offer protein, fiber, and other essential diet staples. The next time you eat rice and beans, you are also nourishing your body with the following nutrients. 

Protein
While you certainly get protein from the chicken or beef in your meal, rice and beans offer an extra nutritional boost. Since the combination of rice and beans has all of the essential amino acids, you're getting complete proteins with every bite. And for every half cup that you eat, you're gaining 9.6 grams of protein. 

Fiber
Rice and beans are packed with fiber on their own, so the benefit is even better when you put them together. Adding this nutrient to your meal can balance blood sugar and control cholesterol. It also aids with digestion, helping your body get the most out of your meal. 

Iron
Contrary to popular belief, meat is not the only source of iron. Dark leafy greens, in particular, are a viable plant-based iron source. Add rice and beans to the mix, and you have a yummy, iron-rich meal. Getting enough iron in your diet helps your immune system and keeps your energy high. 

Folate
One of the most essential nutrients that we need from food, folate is important to heart health, immunity, and reproduction. A half cup of rice and beans offers about half of the recommended daily value of folate. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables throughout the day to get your full day's worth. 

About 71.08% of American households use Mexican food ingredients while cooking, and rice and beans are certainly part of this cuisine. Whether cooking at home or eating at Mexican restaurants, rice and beans can balance your meal and keep you feeling nourished throughout the day. By trying out different types of rice and beans, as well as interesting flavor combinations, this combo can soon become an exciting part of your diet.