12 Health Benefits Of Plantain You Never Knew Existed

health benefits of plantain

Introduction

The health benefits of plantain are the amazing health importance of consuming it. Studies have shown how the nutrients found in plantain can help boost sexual performance through increased libido. Unripe plantains are the less-sweet, starchier similar to the banana.

Sweet bananas, sometimes referred to as dessert bananas are much more predominant in the U.S. and Europe, but plantains are an extremely essential staple food for people in tropical countries. Most plantains are always cooked before consumption. This is to say they taste pretty awful raw and you shouldn’t be tricked by their resemblance with banana.

Studies have shown several health benefits of unripe plantain as it provides vital minerals that help keep your body running efficiently. Also, a cup of sliced, cooked plantains has 49 mg of magnesium and 716 mg of potassium, giving you 15% of your RDI (recommended daily intake) for each of these minerals.

A 2012 article, published by English researchers deduced that plantain may help prevent infectious diseases that are associated with diarrhea.

Furthermore, Venezuelan researchers also deduced that hospitalized children who consumed plantains experienced more weight gain and a faster recovery than children who consumed yogurt.

Consequently, plantains are good sources of complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins, and are easily digestible. Cooked plantains are nutritionally very equivalent to a potato calorie-wise, but has more of some minerals and vitamins. This makes them a rich source of vitamins A, C, and B6, fiber, potassium, and magnesium. You can get this staple food from grocery shops.

Amazing health benefits of plantain

Here are the amazing health benefits of consuming plantain regularly:

Plantains are highly nutritious

Plantains are excellent sources of vitamins, minerals, and complex carbohydrates, and are easily digestible. It is one of the staple foods being consumed by millions of people for centuries.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), its basic nutrition facts for a cup of sliced plantain is 148 grams.

Nutrition facts of plantain

Calories              179

Protein               1 g

Fiber                   4 g

Vitamin C           27 mg

Vitamin B6         0.44 mg

Fat                       0 gram

Carbohydrate   48 g

Potassium         739 mg

Vitamin A          83ug

Magnesium      55 mg

However, plantains are a poor source of fat and protein, so they only represent a part of a healthy, balanced diet, similar to many grains in the U.S.

It helps improve weight loss

Consuming plantain or unripe plantain helps improve weight loss since it is relatively low in carbohydrates, with high fiber content, essential vitamins, and minerals. These fiber and complex carbs are less processed and more slowly digested than the simple carbs present in processed foods. This helps keep you full and more satisfied for longer after a meal, which can mean less snacking on unhealthy foods.

Furthermore, when you consume plantain with enough vegetable soup and chicken, it can bring about a great weight loss and a healthy meal.

Suitable for heart health

Since plantain is rich in potassium, this helps maintain the cell and body fluids that regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. Plantains also contain vitamin B6 (pyridoxine). Consuming a cup of sliced plantains gives you approximately 34% of the RDA (recommended dietary allowance). The presence of this vitamin helps lower homocysteine levels which are often linked with coronary artery disease and stroke.

Also, its fiber content is essential for lowering your cholesterols levels which reduces your chances of developing any heart diseases. Unripe plantain contains some amount of serotonin which opens the arteries, improves blood circulation and reduces homocysteine levels.

Read Also: 29 Best Incredible Heart-Healthy Foods You Must Eat

Improves digestion effectively

This is one of the health benefits of plantain as the presence of fiber helps improve bowel movement effectively. Fiber helps softens your feces and increases the stool’s overall size and weight. This makes bulky feces much more easy to pass and therefore prevent constipation. A study conducted by Mayo Clinic deduced that consuming diets rich in fiber helps lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids and small pouches around your large intestine known as diverticular disease.

Notwithstanding, fiber also increases fullness, slows digestion, and may help regulate cholesterol levels in your body. Consuming an unripe plantain also boost your circulatory and digestive system immensely.    

Rich in antioxidants

An increase in antioxidants is one of the health benefits of plantain to your body. Since plantains contain approximately 32% of the recommended amount of vitamin C in one cup, its vitamin serves as an antioxidant. And this helps boost your immune system greatly.

The presence of this antioxidant helps shield your body against free radical damage that has been linked with heart disease, aging, and even some types of cancer. Studies have deduced an inverse relationship between the consumption of vitamin C and breast, lung, stomach, colon, esophagus, and other types of cancers. It was discovered that people with cancer also have a decrease in blood plasma concentrations of vitamin C.

Consequently, with a serving of plantains providing over 35% of the vitamin C needed per day, plantains have been regarded as one of the best sources of vitamin C. so, why not inculcate plantain into your diet to enjoy this enriching health benefits?

Great meal for people with diabetes

Unlike ripe or overripe plantain, unripe plantain is very low in sugar and this makes it a suitable choice for diabetes especially when added with other fiber and foods rich in proteins like green vegetables. This also makes it an ideal choice for preventing diabetes.

Helps prevent the development of an ulcer

Several studies have shown that unripe plantain contains phytochemical properties like leucocyanidin which helps prevent the development of an ulcer in your body. You can either consume ripe or unripe plantain to enjoy its amazing health benefits.

Boosts and strengthens stronger bones

Unripe plantain is a good source of calcium which is an essential mineral needed for the development of stronger bones, nails, muscles, and teeth. Adding unripe plantain in your meal helps prevent osteoporosis which deals with the weakening of your bones leading to fractures.

Helps improve better vision and skin health

This is one of the health benefits of plantain as the presence of vitamins A, B6 and C help improve your vision, better skin complexion strengthens immunity against diseases and free radicals.

Suitable for treating anemia

Effective treatment of anemia and neuritis is one of the health benefits of plantain. The presence of vitamin B6 in plantain helps in the effective treatment of inflammation of the nerve known as neuritis and anemia (a medical condition where an individual is having low red blood cells in the blood, which brings about weakness).

Including unripe plantain into your meal plan helps treat or prevent your chances of developing neuritis and anemia.

Boosts sexual performance

Several studies have shown that the essential nutrients in plantain help improve your sexual performance through increased libido. Frequent consumption of plantain can also boost male fertility, thicker sperm, and volume respectively.

Furthermore, health experts have suggested that consuming unripe plantain (either boiled or roasted) with garlic and ginger is wonderful as they help boost sexual performance.

Read Also: 24 Natural Foods That Increase Your Sex Drive And Stamina

Plantains are versatile like potatoes

Have you come across plantains being fried and soaked in grease as a side dish in restaurants? Some may be topped with sour cream to make it tasty. Have in mind that fried plantains are not that healthy especially when fried with an unhealthy oil or if you’re trying to lose weight. You’re advised to think of plantains as a starchy vegetable or a substitute for potatoes. Its texture and mild flavor are really attractive especially when grilled or baked.

Why not add plantains as part of a meat or vegetarian-friendly stew, or grill them together with fish. Plantains are great options for gluten-free or paleo-friendly recipes, such as paleo pancakes. If you want something new, try a Latin recipe that includes ripe plantain arepas or Boronia (graded plantain and eggplant).

Where can I find plantain?

Plantains could be found in tropical countries across the globe ranging from South and Central America to the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, and Africa. Although plantain is a non-seasonal crop, it can be available throughout the year. They are regarded as staple foods in tropic regions and provide a significant source of calories in their diets.

Furthermore, you can also get plantain in grocery stores and in supermarkets. If you can’t find plantain in your local grocery store, visit an Asian or Latin grocery store. This staple crop is relatively cheap just like bananas and you can have a bunch for less than a euro/dollar.

How to make plantain porridge?

health benefits of plantain

Recipes for preparing plantain porridge

  • Get fresh handfuls of plantains (5-7 pieces)
  • 2 handfuls of crayfishes (grate them)
  • 3 cubes of Maggi
  • 1/2 liter of palm oil
  • 2 large fishes
  • 1/2 spoonful of pepper

Method

  • Peel the fresh plantains (ripe or unripe plantains) with a clean knife and wash it off with clean water
  • Cut the peeled plantains into slices or smaller pieces into a bowl
  • Wash your fish and steam it by adding 2 cups of clean water, 2 Maggi cubes, 1/2 spoonful of red bell peppers, and chopped onions to taste
  • Add the chopped plantains into the boiling pot together with 1/2 liter of palm oil and stir
  • Include your grated crayfishes into the cooking pot and stir to mix evenly 
  • Allow it to stay for 2-3 minutes on your cooking gas
  • Remove the pot from the cooking gas or stove and your plantain porridge is ready to be served
  • You can enjoy it with a glass of chilled wine or juice

That’s how to prepare my favorite plantain porridge either using ripe or unripe plantain

Summary

Now that you’ve known the health benefits of plantain, inculcate it into your healthy meal for optimal results. You can also include unripe plantain into your meal plan and enjoy the amazing medicinal and therapeutic properties it possesses.

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