Health: The Nutritional Benefits Of Plantains

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Fried plantain Image from https://www.demandafrica.com/food/recipes/kelewele-ghana-spicy-fried-plantains/

Plantain is a less sweet, starchier equivalent to bananas. They are usually cooked before eating and are so nutrient-rich as to be considered a hidden superfood.

Nutrition Facts

For one cup of plantain (137-139g)
Calories: 166
Fat: 0.1g
Sodium: 2.7mg
Carbohydrates: 40g
Fibre: 3.5g
Sugars: 3.1g
Protein: 1.5g

Rich in

Vitamin A
Vitamin C
Potassium
Vitamin B6
Magnesium
Iron

Health benefits of plantain

Digestive health

Plantains are high in fibre. Fibre promotes bowel regularity, softens stool, and increases its overall size and weight. Bulky stools are much easier to pass and therefore prevent constipation. Their resistant starch also acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the colon.

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Weight management

Carbohydrates have a bad reputation when it comes to weight management. The fibre and starch found in plantains are complex carbs. Fibre and complex carbs are less processed and more slowly digested than simple crabs which are found in processed foods. They keep you fuller for longer which means less snacking between meals which is really beneficial when one usually snacks on unhealthy foods.

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High in antioxidants

Vitamin C in plantains is a great source of antioxidants that boost the immune system. Antioxidants protect the body against damage by free radicals. This damage is associated with ageing, heart disease, and even cancer. Studies have found an inverse relationship between vitamin C intake and lung, breast, colon, stomach, and oesophagus cancers. People with cancer were also found to have lower blood plasma concentrations of vitamin C.

Good for your heart

The high amount of potassium in plantains is essential for maintaining the cell and body fluids that control heart rate and blood pressure. The fibre in them also helps lower cholesterol which overall keeps the heart performing optimally.

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Diabetes control

For people living with type 2 diabetes, glycemic control is crucial. This means that blood sugar levels don’t go too high or too low. Plantains are high in starch and just like other types of fibre, resistant starch doesn’t raise blood sugar levels.

Because plantains don’t digest in the small intestine, they don’t spike blood sugar. In general, foods that digest slowly have a low glycemic index making them good food choices for people with diabetes.

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Blood pressure control

Plantains are a great source of potassium which is an important mineral that reduces hypertension (high blood pressure). Because they are a naturally low sodium food, they support a dietary plan for treating hypertension.

Hypertension has been linked to an excess of sodium and a lack of potassium. High blood pressure can cause a heart attack, stroke, and aneurysm among other cardiovascular problems.

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Promote healthy brain function

Vitamin B6 found in plantain plays a key role in healthy brain function. It helps make hormones like serotonin and norepinephrine which keeps moods stable and melatonin which regulates the body’s clock.

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Great source of potassium

Potassium does more than just help regulate blood pressure. Potassium levels also affect skeletal and smooth muscle contraction which allows for regular digestive and muscular function. It helps regulate heart rhythm. Studies show that people who consume potassium-rich diets tend to be at a lower risk of stroke, osteoporosis, and renal disease.

Great source of magnesium

Magnesium helps regulate blood pressure and also prevents osteoporosis which is the weakening of bones and bone loss usually accompanied by ageing. It directly affects calcium absorption which can avert or reverse osteoporosis.

It also lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels. Magnesium has also long been used to help with migraines, headaches, insomnia, and even depression.

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Aids pregnancy nutrition

For women of child-bearing age, plantain consumption contributes to the prevention of Vitamin A deficiency which increases the risk of preterm delivery. Plantains also provide folate and iron which play a key role in maintaining a healthy pregnancy.

Preparation and serving methods

Plantains are an excellent option for gluten-free and paleo-friendly recipes and are versatile with so many ways of preparing them. The classic way of eating them is deep-fried and eaten as chips. Plantain can be mashed or grilled/roasted.

They can be steam cooked for the elderly and infants as well as ground into flour used for infant milk. They can be baked in recipes such as banana bread and banana muffins and even pancakes. Your sense of adventure is all that stands between you and a great recipe. Enjoy.

Check out: Bananas are good for your health- here’s why you need to eat more of this delicious fruit. You can also substitute plantains for bananas in these recipes. 4 delicious easy to make banana recipes. There is also a recipe for plantains here. Food: Easy Desserts To Make Using 3 Ingredients Or Less

Also, check out Health And Nutritional Benefits Of Arrowroots and Health And Nutritional Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes

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