The Nutritional Benefits of Corn Tortillas

The dietary guidelines from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's MyPlate website suggest people eat several servings of grains each day — six ounces for women and seven for men to be exact. Adding corn tortillas to your diet helps you reach your daily recommended intake. Even though corn tortillas have an impressive nutritional profile, they do have some drawbacks. For example, the calories in corn tortillas are moderately high at 218 calories per 2-ounce serving, which is the equivalent of two 6-inch tortillas. Find out more about the nutrition breakdown of corn tortillas on MyPlate.

The Nutritional Benefits of Corn Tortillas (Image: Elena_Danileiko/iStock/GettyImages)

Full of Fiber

Corn tortillas have a beneficial effect on your digestive tract, thanks to their fiber content. Fiber absorbs water and prevents excessively hard stool that can contribute to constipation. A diet rich in fiber also fights hemorrhoids and helps control diverticular disease. Every 2-ounces of corn tortillas provide 6.3 grams of dietary fiber. This makes up roughly 25 and 17 percent of the daily fiber intake respectively recommended for women and men, according to Colorado State University.

Phosphorus for Healthy Cells and Bones

Corn tortilla's nutrition profile also offers health benefits because of its phosphorus content. Phosphorus makes up a key structural component of healthy tissue — it's found in cell membranes as well as DNA. It also contributes to healthy bone tissue, supports red blood cell function and acts as a chemical buffer to control the acidity of your blood. Every 2-ounces of corn tortillas provide you with 314 milligrams of phosphorus, which is 45 percent of the phosphorus you need each day, reports the Linus Pauling Institute.

Metabolism Activating Minerals

Corn tortillas are also sources of copper and manganese, which are two minerals essential for enzyme function. Manganese activates enzymes that support bone growth and aid wound healing, while copper activates enzymes essential for nervous system function. Copper and manganese also activate enzymes needed to support your metabolism. Each 2-ounce portion contains 0.33 milligram of manganese, which is respectively 14 and 18 percent of the recommended daily intake for men and women. This portion size also contains 154 micrograms of copper, or 17 percent of the recommended daily intake.

Serving Tips

With about 8.5 g of carbs in a corn tortilla wrap, they are delicious paired with veggies and lean sources of protein. Stuff them with spinach, tomatoes, grilled chicken and salsa for a simple but delicious and nutritious meal, or substitute black beans for grilled chicken if you want a vegetarian-friendly option. Cut corn tortillas into wedges, lightly brush them with olive oil and then bake them in the oven for healthful tortilla "chips," and then serve the chips with hummus or use them to garnish leafy green salads.

Spice It Up and Cut The Fat

Eating tortilla chips is a favorite way to benefit from the nutrition of corn tortillas. But these ready-made snacks are typically high in fat, especially the flavored kind. A bag of store-bought taco flavored corn chips weighs in at 24.2 grams of fat for a small single-serving bag. Ranch flavor has 24.6 grams of fat per bag. However, plain packaged corn tortillas contain 2.85 g of fat, according to USDA National Nutrient Database

Instead of buying flavored tortilla chips, cut the calories and make your own without all the fat. Start by arranging tortillas, each cut into 8 chip sized wedges, on a cookie sheet. Using a spritzer, spray a combination of oil and lime juice on each chip. Then sprinkle on your favorite flavoring using ground spices, such as chili powder, taco seasoning, cumin, pepper or allspice. Bake for 15 minutes at 350 degrees F, rotating the pan half-way through. This recipe contains only 4.1 g fat, courtesy of All Recipes.com.

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