Health Benefits of Plantains - Green, yellow, black! Why are bananas so tricky?
Bananas, ripe or unripe, have many things to offer our bodies. Each of these bananas is different from the other and benefits us in different ways. This article deals with a densely nutrient member of the banana family, Plantain.
What is plantain?
A native fruit of Southeast Asia, Plantain is one of the varieties of bananas and belongs to the genus of Musa.
It is starchy with a neutral flavor and contains low sugar. This green fruit is generally cooked and consumed but can also be eaten raw since the starch gets converted into sugar in the ripening process.
Apart from this, it is also used as flour in many parts of the world to bake cakes and bread. Initially, people used plantain to make beer, ketchup, and soups.
It is famous in tropical countries and is grown all season all around the world that makes it rank 10th in the world's top staple food.
Nutritional benefits of Plantain
Fruits are a rich source of essential vitamins and minerals that our body requires for efficient functioning and plantain is no exception. According to the U.S Department of Agriculture, 100 grams of plantain can avail you 499 mg of Potassium, 4 mg of sodium, 0.4 g of fats, 122 calories, 1.3 g of proteins, and 32 g of carbohydrates which includes 2.3 g of dietary fiber and 15 g of sugar. Each of these nutrients contributes to our body in various ways. Keep reading to find out Plantain's benefits and side effects.
Health benefits of Plantain
1. Plantain is Rich in Fiber
Plantain contains both soluble and insoluble fibers. A low fiber diet can lead to many complications and hence it is advisable to include high fiber food in your diet.
- Dietary fibers helps in the smooth digestion of food by regulating bowel moments, feeding good gut bacteria, avoiding constipation, etc.
- Fibers also aid in weight loss. It takes a long time to digest high fiber food which means it keeps you full for a longer period and restrains you from grabbing another meal.
- It is also known for regulating cholesterol and stabilizing glucose levels which prevent us from deadly diseases.
2. Antioxidants in plantain protect against cancer
A high concentration of antioxidants is important for our body for fighting against harmful cells. Vitamin C in plantain works as an antioxidant. It reduces the development of oxidative stresses that are bad for our bodies.
Many studies have associated the origination of various types of cancer due to lack of Vitamin C. Antioxidants or Vitamin C functions restrict the formation of any dangerous cells that could lead to such deadly diseases.
3. Plantain boosts our Immune system
Boosting our immunity is the need of the hour. Plantain has the capacity to strengthen our body defense system which protects us from viruses and bacteria. It is all possible with the presence of various vitamins in the plantain. The anti-inflammatory ability of vitamin A ameliorate immune responses while vitamin C supports the overall immunity function.
4. Potassium helps in lowering blood pressure
Given that 100 grams of plantain contain 499 mg of potassium, it is sure to help a lot in lowering Blood Pressure.
Potassium lowers the effects of sodium and helps to flow it out of the body through urine. Sodium is related to high blood pressure and hypertension in the human body. Potassium also performs to relaxes blood vessels to maintain low blood pressure.
5. Plantain keeps the heart-healthy
100 grams of plantain serves 15 percent of Vitamin B-6 which is essential for many functions in our body. Vitamin B-6 operates to break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates. It is responsible for maintaining levels of homocysteine, regulating blood flow, enhancing cognitive functions, formation of red blood cells, and neurotransmitters. High homocysteine leads to various heart diseases. Plantain also has the ability to regulate cholesterol levels and blood pressure which prevents various heart diseases.
6. Controls Diabetes
Plantain is suggested to diabetic patients because the fair percentage of magnesium in this fruit aids to lower blood sugar spikes. Moreover, the glycemic index of plantain falls in the range of 40s which is comparatively lower than the high glycemic foods and can be consumed by diabetic patients.
7. Aids in the Pregnancy period
Pregnant women are often advised to take plantain as they provide many health advantages to combat pregnancy complications. Vitamin B-6 in plantain prevents nausea and vomiting during pregnancy.
Deficiency in vitamin A also causes issues during delivery, plantain contains a fair amount of vitamin A to aid delivery of the child.
Moreover, the presence of folates, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine ensures a healthy pregnancy. It also contributes to the growth and development of the baby.
8. Treats Anaemia
Iron in plantain is a good option to treat Iron deficiency anemia. Iron is responsible for the production of blood and carrying oxygen to every part of the body. Other than iron, various vitamins also help to cure anemia. Vitamin A and vitamin B enhance the supply of iron and prevent the body from further damages.
9. Plantain for Brain and mood
A high level of homocysteine is linked with Alzheimer's, dementia, and lower cognition. Vitamin B-6 is efficient in lowering this protein. It is also effective to deal with depression. Plantain assists in the assists of various brain chemicals that determine our mood.
That’s not the end of it. Magnesium in plantain helps in strengthening muscles and bones. It is said to be a diuretic that prevents problems in the kidney and bladder.
Plantain is profitable to regulate menstrual cycles. It is also good for skin and hair. Plantain is richly blessed with minerals and vitamins that are appropriate for the efficient functioning of our bodies.
Plantains are mainly boiled or fried for consumption purposes. Salted plantain chips might be delightful snacks but can eliminate some of the health benefits. Even ripen plantains are converted into sugar for preparing various types of desserts that again can increase your calories. So if you really want to avail all the health benefits of plantain, make sure you consume it in better ways that favor your good health.