What is nixtamal?

What's Nixtamal?


Nixtamal is an Aztec word to describe corn that has been partially cooked and soaked with calcium hydroxide, otherwise referred to as cal or lime. Calcium hydroxide is simply the dust that results from scraping a limestone rock. The Aztec would grind corn against the limestone found in the riverbeds, and hence discovered the benefit of the interaction of this natural element with corn. The process of nixtamalization was first developed in Mesoamerica where maize was originally cultivated. There is no precise date for when the technology was developed, but the earliest evidence of nixtamalization is found in Guatamala’s southern coast, with equipment dating from 1200-1500BCE.

Nixtamal can be ground into masa (a corn dough) for making tortillas or similar patted disk (finely ground) or tamales (coarsely ground), or can be kept in its whole form to make pozole, otherwise known as hominy.

Nixtamal Benefits

Nixtamalization is the process of cooking corn in calcium hydroxide or lime. The nutritional benefits of nixtamalized corn are intimately linked to the processing of corn with calcium hydroxide.

The aztecs became aware of the effect of lime on corn simply by paying attention to how their bodies responded after eating corn that had been ground in limestone. This corn did not cause digestive problems and gave them energy and spiritual alertness.

Hundreds of years later scientists discovered that lime releases niacin in corn, an essential amino acid. As a result, nixtamalized corn can reduce bad cholesterol, increase good cholesterol and contributes to the optimal functioning of other body processes such as digestion, cellular repair and elimination of toxins. Niacin also seems to reduce the level of triglycerides in the blood. The alkaline process in nixtamalized corn also reduces zein protein in the body, helping create a balance between the essential amino acids.

In addition, natural corn possesses these nutrients:

  • Vitamin B1 – Processes carbohydrates.
  • Vitamin B5 – Improves physiological function.
  • Folate – Promotes the production of new cells, particularly during pregnancy.
  • Vitamin C – Helps fight illnesses like the common cold.
  • Fiber – Reduces cholesterol and risk of colon cancer.

These benefits are possible because of corn’s ability to absorb minerals during the nixtamalization process. This process can increase the absorption of calcium, iron, copper and zinc.

WHAT NIXTAMAL IS NOT

Nixtamal is not corn flour mixed with wheat flour. Our dough is 100% made of corn.

We don’t use additives in any of our products. As a result, you can enjoy a tortilla that is 100% natural, non-GMO, without preservatives, lard, vegetable shortening, gluten or salt.

In short, our natural corn tortillas are delicious and very nutritious!