Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

One of the benefits of Plantain is its nutritious staple food item with nutrients that are beneficial to man. A plantain is a bigger banana! Well, not exactly but they are related; the former is cooked while the later is eaten raw.

Plantains are cultivated and eaten throughout the world with some places having them as main cuisine or side dishes. Continents with sumptuous plantain delicacies include Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Plantains contain vitamins, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants. Each stage of growth has specific use and health benefits, from the unripe green stage to the ripe yellow stage and to the black over ripe stage. They can be cooked, boiled or fried depending on the cuisine.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

Unripe green plantains are dried and grinded into flour which can be added to multi purpose flour for baking and pastries, prepared into bolus and added to other forms of cooking with Caribbean and Indian dishes top on this list.

Identifying Plantain

Musa x paradisiaca commonly called plantain in English is a member of the banana family. It is a popular staple food in Africa and Latin America but believed to be native to southeast Asia. They have thick peels which often require a knife to cut through.

Differences between banana and plantain include bananas taken raw while plantains are cooked, bananas are sweeter and plantains are not except the over ripe ones.

Plantain can be cooked by frying, baking, boiling or grilling. Another method plantain can be consumed is by drying them and grinding them into powder.

Plantain Consumption

Plantains are prepared in many ways as deemed fit by the individual. Popular methods include boiling, frying, grilling etc. The method of cooking goes a long way in retaining the nutrients or not.

Boiling

Ripe or unripe plantains are boiled in water until they are tender and served with sauce, protein etc similar to yam.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

Soups

Ripe plantains can be added to pepper soups and served as appetizers or main course depending on the occasion.

Grilling

This method is slightly different from the roasted plantain although both are done over naked heat or fire. Grilled plantain requires a little bit of oil for the surface and served with sauce.

Roasting

This is commonly called boli in Yoruba language and is prepared by putting the plantains on a mesh over charcoal to roast. It is usually served with groundnuts or chilli sauce.

Frying

This is the most popular method of preparing plantain by most people. It is done by heating the oil and dipping the plantain into the hot oil. It can be served alone or added to other dishes such as beans, rice, barbeques etc.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Fried Plantains

Drying And Grinding

This is usually done whether intentionally as plantain flour or accidental when an unripe plantain falls from its tree. The unripe plantains are sliced and dried and then milled into powder.

Plantain flour can be used in baking and pastries as well as making them into bolus or swallow as we call them and served with soup of choice.

Blending Into Paste

Some prefer the bolus from plantain to be fresh for some reasons. The unripe plantain is cut into pieces and placed into a blender, a little water is added and blended into paste which is then worked on over the stove till a smooth thick consistency is met.

Nutritional Value Of Plantains

Plantains are good sources of carbs, vitamins and minerals. They are low in carbohydrates and fibres. Plantains contain protein, calories, vitamins A, B3, C, nutrients like Potassium and magnesium.

Plantains are an excellent source of fiber, an essential nutrient that regulates bowel movements.

Health Benefits of Plantain

Plantains are recommended for people undergoing weight loss because of its high carb content with the appropriate portion put into consideration. It is better to boil or bake the plantains than frying them as the oil adds to the fat content which is not good for weight loss.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Dried Plantains

Prevention Of Disease

Fiber content of plantain can reduce developing various health conditions which includes:

  • Heart problems
  • Diabetes
  • Diverticular disease
  • Constipation

Other prominent sources of fibre are fruits and vegetables.

Anticancer

Plantains are rich in antioxidants which fight against free radicals causing cancer. It also contains flavonoids and polyphenols which reduces stress and damages.

Boost Immunity

Plantains are rich in Vitamin C which boost the immune system. A word of caution to this is the method of cooking because heat and light destroy vitamin C.

To get the vitamin C in plantain, it should be boiled with little water and not overcooked. Vitamin A also found in plantain is anti-inflammatory and essential for the eyes.

Blood Regulation

Potassium, a nutrient also found in plantains, is essential in heart health and muscles. It also synthesizes protein, lowers and regulates blood pressure reducing the risk of a stroke.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

Weight Loss

Excess weight is a risk factor of high blood pressure which is associated with insulin resistance. Plantains have been researched to reduce hormones associated with obesity in rats although it’s not been detailed in man.

Healthy Heart

Plantains contain vitamin B6 which is essential for proper heart functions. It also helps in various parts of the body such as providing healthy blood cells and metabolism of macronutrients. It also reduces cardiovascular risk by lowering homocysteine.

Other Benefits Of Plantains To Human Health

  • Reduction of cognitive decline and overall brain health
  • Reduction of premenstrual syndrome
  • Improves symptoms of morning sickness in pregnancy
  • Improves mental health by reducing depressive symptoms.

Conclusion

Plantains are an excellent source of fibre, carbs, vitamins and nutrients. They are healthy in all forms of cooking although caution is encouraged in frying methods.

Plantains also contain antioxidants which fights against cancer causing agents. Vitamin C in plantain also boosts the body’s immunity and vitamin B which reduces cardiovascular risk and improves good mood.

Excess weight can be reduced with regular inclusion of plantain in diet although portion control should be put in place and the best cooking method for this is boiling not frying.

Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantain

Despite the nutritional value of plantains, it is important to take them in recommended quantities and they are cooked to retain their nutritional value.

Are you a plantain farmer? How do you enjoy your plantain? Leave your response in the comments section.

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