The benefits of nixtamalized corn flour

Ing. Eduardo Hernandez Paredes //  Jr. Research & Development MINSA

Corn is the food that provides significant amounts of calories, protein and other nutrients to the diet of large sectors of the Mexican population. Through nixtamalization or cooking the corn with lime (nixtli lime ash and tamalli cooked corn dough) dough for tortillas, snacks and corn flour is produced. In Mexico, for example, this traditional process is used by 12,000 mills and 54,000 tortilla shops. (Ortega et al, 2011).

Today, commercial nixtamalized corn flours have become very important especially in the urban population, because it reduces the drudgery of having to make them oneself and because they can be stored for longer periods of time.

Also, these flours have several advantages such as saving space, time and processing equipment; increased shelf life, a homogeneous product, better hygiene control during processing, low humidity which reduces enzyme activity and retards rancidity of fats while maintaining its characteristics, and storage for at least six months under suitable conditions, thereby facilitating handling and requiring only the addition of water to make the dough.

Because of its properties, commercial nixtamalized corn flours are more stable in their nutrient content than the corn used by housewives, which favors the problems associated with consumer surveys and calculation of nutrient intake.

Since our beginnings at MINSA, we have carried out extensive research to take advantage of the benefits of this wonderful food and to improve its nutritional quality given that the corn tortilla is an excellent vehicle for optimizing nutritional quality for the population that includes it in their daily diet.

Source: Ortega-Moody J, E. Morales-Sánchez, M. Hernández Román y M Ruíz Torres. (2011) System for producing nixtamalized flour with low-shear transport. Vol 4


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