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Are Tortillas Healthy?

author image Eliza Martinez
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.
Are Tortillas Healthy?
A taco with beef and beans in a flour tortilla. Photo Credit: gkrphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Tacos, enchiladas, burritos, wraps and chips are commonly known foods made with tortillas. Corn and flour tortillas can be healthy to eat on a daily basis, depending on how they are prepared. Tortillas can be made at home or purchased at a grocery store. Nutrient content varies among brands, so read nutrition labels before making a purchase.

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Flour Tortillas

Flour tortillas are a low-fat food that make up a serving from the grain group. Eating a whole wheat tortilla increases your fiber intake, which helps you feel full longer. A fajita-sized Mission tortilla contains 110 calories and 2.5 g of fat. Fill a tortilla with cold cuts, low-fat cheese and sliced vegetables for a twist on the classic sandwich.

Corn Tortillas

The USDA recommends eating whole grains, making gluten-free corn tortillas an ideal choice. Two La Favorita brand corn tortillas, for example, contain 125 calories and 1 g of fat, making two corn tortillas lower in fat per serving than one flour tortilla. Mexican dishes, such as tacos, burritos and quesadillas, can be prepared with corn tortillas to reduce fat and calories.

Tortilla Chips

Deep frying in oil makes tortilla chips high in calorie. One ounce of Tostitos bite-size tortilla chips, about 24 chips, contains 140 calories and 7 g of fat. Fried taco and tostada shells also contain more fat and are higher in calories than flour and corn tortillas. Although you don't have to completely eliminate tortilla chips from your diet, eating more than one serving on a regular basis could increase your risk of weight gain and high cholesterol.

Health Benefits

Whole grain tortillas are high in complex carbohydrates and fiber, which provide energy and support healthy digestion. Adequate fiber intake also helps control cholesterol levels and reduces your risk of heart disease. Tortillas are a good source of B vitamins, which support a healthy nervous system. Folate, found in whole grain tortillas, supports women's health during childbearing years and can prevent neural tube birth defects such as spina bifida. The iron in tortillas helps blood move oxygen throughout your body.

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