Flour tortillas are a low-fat food and contain iron along with other B vitamins. They have about 115 calories with 2-3 grams of fat per serving.
Corn tortillas are a low-fat, low-sodium food and contain calcium, potassium and fiber. An average serving contains about 60 calories with 1 gram of fat.
Corn tortillas do not contain gluten, making them a great alternative to bread for those who are gluten intolerant.
* Source: USDA Handbook 8. Based on the average-sized serving; serving sizes may vary depending on the brand.
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According to Mayan legend, tortillas were invented by a peasant for his hungry king in ancient times. The first tortillas, which date approximately 10,000 years before Christ, were made of native corn with dried kernel. Today, corn tortillas are made from either corn cooked in a lime-based solution or by using corn flour, producing a dough, forming it like a pancake and finally baking it in an oven.
Among native Mexicans, tortillas are also commonly used as eating utensils. In the Old West, "cowpokes" realized the versatility of tortillas and used tortillas filled with meat or other foods as a convenient way to eat around the campfire.
Thanks in part to the widespread popularity of Mexican and Southwestern cuisines, Americans love tortillas. In fact, tortillas are more popular today in the U.S. than all other ethnic breads, such as bagels, English muffins and pita bread.
As testament to their popularity, the Tortilla Industry Association (TIA) estimates that Americans consumed approximately 85 billion tortillas in 2000 (not including tortilla chips).
Tortillas have found their place in the American mainstream diet, where they now serve as substitutes for traditional breads in such popular fare as hot dogs, lasagna, pitas, sandwiches and pizza. Tortillas can be used to hold a variety of fillings, used as tasty food scoops, toasted and topped with salad, or served hot and plain.
Tortillas are a flat bread made from either corn or wheat. The versatile tortilla can be warmed in the oven, steamed, grilled, fried, heated in a microwave or toaster or baked in the oven.