You may have heard of the word “nixtamal”, but have you ever wondered what it means or what it’s all about? The word dates all the way back to Aztec culture and it was/is used to describe the process involving partially cooked and lime-soaked corn. The Aztecs would search riverbeds for limestone rock which they would then use to grind corn against. The entire process is perhaps best known as nixtamalization.
As you likely already know, nixtamal is able to be ground into masa for the purposes of making tortillas, tamales, or finely ground patted discs. Masa is simply the Spanish word used to describe the corn dough. Alternatively, nixtamal is also flexible in that it can be kept in its entire form for the purposes of making pozole, perhaps best known by its name of hominy.
The Aztecs discovered the benefits of nixtamal using a good old-fashioned approach: trying it. They soon realized it was a source of energy while also giving them a spiritual alertness without causing major digestive issues. As science has massively evolved since those times, the presence of the amino acid niacin in nixtamal may also help with reducing bad cholesterol, eliminating toxins, and repairing cells.
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