Healthy Alternatives for Tortillas

Corn, Blue corn, whole-grain or flour?

We have all been in that situation at the supermarket deciding between what tortillas are healthier for you and your family. Which one is healthier; corn, whole-grain or flour? Which one has fewer calories? Reading the nutritional label will help you determine which ingredients and nutrients are better for you and your family.

Since corn tortillas are also corn-based, they are considered healthier than the flour tortilla. One regular corn tortilla contains about half the calories and half the fat of a flour tortilla. There are some flour tortilla products that are made with unbleached/untreated flour. This helps maintain a low-carbohydrate and non-trans fat tortilla.

On the other hand, the whole-grain tortilla is another healthy alternative. By consuming whole grains, you are receiving the nutritious benefits of the entire grain. So why choose whole grain instead of refined grains? Many of the nutrients are eliminated in the grinding process in refined grains, such as vitamin E, which are crucial to good health. Refined wheat flour is so nutritionally insufficient farmers report that even bugs die when trying to sustain themselves on it in silos. All type of grains are a good source of complex carbohydrates, various vitamins and minerals, and are naturally low in fat. Whole grains–grains that have not been refined–are even better for you due to better sources of fiber and other important nutrients such as selenium, potassium and magnesium. So if you ever have the option to substitute whole grains for refined grains, whole grains will better suit your dose of nutrients.

Healthy alternatives do not only apply to tortillas, they also apply to tortilla chips too! According to WebMD Health News, a new study shows when it comes to packing the most nutrition into a taco shell or bowl of tortilla chips, blue is the best. Researchers from the home of the tortilla, Mexico, found blue corn tortillas contain 20% more protein than their white corn counterparts. Researchers also say the blue color of the tortillas comes from anthocyanins in the corn, which are the same healthy compounds found in berries and red wine.

Good news for dieters and people with diabetes. Blue corn also has less starch and a lower glycemic index (GI). Foods with a lower glycemic index are considered healthier because the sugar content is taken into the blood more slowly and provide a steady source of energy, while sugars in high-glycemic index foods are more likely to cause spikes in blood sugar and energy levels. Finally, researchers found blue corn tortillas had a glycemic index value that did change over time, while white corn tortillas had a higher GI that would also increase with storage.

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