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Tamales Nutrition

Tamales are a Latin dish made by wrapping corn-based dough around a filling, which is quite often made with pork. The tamales are then wrapped with a corn husk and boiled or steamed. The corn husk is discarded before consumption. Because they are steamed and not fried in oil, tamales are low in fat.

A 100-gram serving, which is about 3.5 ounces, of pork tamales contains 168 calories, most of which come from protein and carbohydrates. The corn breading on pork tamales provides the carbohydrates, of which there are 18.3 grams. More than 70 of the calories in pork tamales are from these carbohydrates, which are a mix of sugar, starch and fiber. Most of the carbohydrates, 15.3 grams, are from starch, but tamales do contain some fiber and a small amount of sugar. One serving contains 1.6 grams of sugar and 3.3 grams of fiber, which is 13 percent of the 25 grams of fiber women should aim for each day.

One serving of pork tamales contains 13.2 grams of protein, which provide about 53 calories. The recommended amount of protein is 46 grams per day for women, so the serving of tamales is 28 percent of your daily needs. Pregnant women and athletes, however, may require higher amounts of protein so ask your doctor what a healthy amount is for you.

Despite the use of pork for the filling, tamales are quite low in fat. One serving contains 4.7 grams, only 1.4 grams of which is saturated fat. The recommended intake for fat is between 20 and 35 percent of the daily calories, which based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet is 400 to 700 calories. One serving of tamales provides only 42 fat calories, but keep in mind this amount is for plain tamales. If you top the tamales with sauce and cheese, the fat content will increase.

Pork tamales are high in the mineral selenium, which is an antioxidant that assists in the prevention of damage to cells. Pollution, cigarette smoke and the toxins created as you metabolize food all cause damage to your cells and antioxidants help to fight this damage. Selenium can also increase sperm production, which may increase fertility. One serving of pork tamales contains 32.6 mcg of selenium, which is 59 percent of the recommended amount.

Tamales also provide 20 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin B-6, which supports the nervous and immune systems. Vitamin B-6 is also necessary for the production of hemoglobin, which are red blood cells that transport oxygen throughout the body. Additionally, vitamin B-6 helps to stabilize blood sugar because it helps your body use stored carbohydrates for energy.

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This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.