Scientists from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) developed barley tortillas, which have a lower glycemic index (rating system that shows how quickly each food affects blood sugar levels) than corn and wheat tortillas, so they can be consumed by patients with diabetes.
The specialists of the Higher School of Medicine (ESM) decided to develop this nutritional alternative because barley allows reducing glucose absorption, because enzymes from the microvilli of the human intestines cannot hydrolyze the beta glucoside components of the polysaccharides present in this cereal.
Barley brings multiple benefits to the body, for example, vitamins of group B: folic acid and choline, vitamin K, and is a good source of potassium, magnesium and phosphorus. Additionally, its greatest virtue is its richness in minor elements, such as iron, sulfur, copper, zinc, manganese, chromium, selenium, iodine and molybdenum.
In addition, unlike corn and wheat, barley contains lysine, an amino acid essential for the synthesis of muscle mass and strengthening the immune system.
The tortilla, named Maltitortilla Glucofixed, is an ideal food for people with chronic-degenerative diseases such as diabetes, overweight, obesity and gastrointestinal problems, as well as for individuals with nutrient deficiency states and geriatric population with poor intestinal motility. For its nutrients, it also favors the healthy growth of children.
According to its creators, barley is an underused cereal in the industry. It contains a compound called hordenin that acts as a natural antiseptic at the intestinal level and stimulates dopaminergic receptors, which among other functions play a role in the feeling of well-being and mood of people.
The professors and researchers participating in the project are Gustavo Acosta Altamirano, Gabriela Cortés Moreno, Eleazar Lara Padilla and Ana María González Farías.
The main challenge was finding and standardizing the exact formulation to obtain tortillas with the appropriate texture, flavor and consistency, which required multiple trials.
The IPN scientists will begin the process of patenting the product to then launch it into the market.
“It’s an innovation in which we are pioneers. It will definitely impact the nutrition of Mexicans and will contribute reducing obesity rates. So, we will not only focus on tortilla production, but also, with the formula, we will elaborate other foods of popular consumption, such as tamales and bakery products,” Acosta Altamirano said.
Source: La Jornada