Nutritional Facts About Mexico’s Iconic Food: the tortilla.

Tortilla for Mexicans is like bread. It is a food that doubles as plate and spoon, part of the daily meal, regardless of the consumer’s economic status. Tortillas will always be on the table as a loyal companion to many dishes

By Dania Vargas Austryjak Tuesday, August 4, 2015 comments

tortillas Grilling Fresh

 

Ancestral, versatile, nutritious and delicious food.

 

Tortilla for Mexicans is like bread. It is a food that doubles as plate and spoon, part of the daily meal, regardless of the consumer’s economic status. Tortillas will always be on the table as a loyal companion to many dishes or as the main ingredient of others. It is a nutritious and delicious icon of Mexican identity.

 

The history of tortillas has been dated back to thousands of years ago, with the first attempts to domesticate maize and perfect the process of nixtamalization, in which the corn or maize is soaked in an alkaline solution. Here in Mexico, it is done with limewater.

 

This process enhances the maize’s flavor and nutritional value. It also makes kernels easier to ground. Since well before the arrival of the Spanish, tortillas have been a part of the diet of Mexicans.

 

tortillas Grilling Fresh

Grilling Fresh Tortillas” by Adam Cohn, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0, via Flickr.

 

In recent years, a trend against carbs has taken hold in Mexico, with many people removing tortillas from their daily meals. That being said, tortillas can still be part of daily diets, so long as the amount eaten is moderated. If they are fried or covered in cream or other foods, it would of course add more calories to the meal.

 

Tortillas, however, provide minerals, as well as protein, dietary fiber, carbohydrates and energy. According to the Mexican Office of the Federal Prosecutor for the Consumer (PROFECO), one regular size corn tortilla of approximately 6” in diameter and 1.3 ounces has:

 

Protein                        1.9 to 2.5 g

Dietary fiber                1.2 to 1.4 g

Carbohydrates             15 to 17 g

Energy                        72 to 78.4 kcal

Phosphorus                  64 to 91 mg

Calcium                       34.3 to 73.5 mg

Magnesium                  21 to 23 mg

Potassium                    36.8 to 64.8 mg

 

Tortillas maiz blanco

Original: “Title unknown” by ProtoplasmaKid, used under CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

 

With all this information we may determine that tortillas can be included in a balanced diet, and even be considered as part of the “cereal group,” as an equivalent of rice, pasta, bread and potato. Again, it is important to remember that they should be consumed in moderation, and preferably not fried.

 

Tortillas can be used as main ingredients in dishes like tortilla soup and chilaquiles. They can also be the base for many dishes like traditional tacos, quesadillas and enchiladas. With tortillas, the options are endless, and it’s up to you to discover the delicious ways to eat them. One very simple and traditional way is to grab a hot and freshly made tortilla, sprinkle it with some salt, roll it up and enjoy. That’s all you need!