Plantains, particularly the unripe ones, are one of many fruits that are incredibly nutritious to the human body and help to supply a continuous and appropriate flow of balanced meals to the body system.
Plantains are the starchier, less sweet cousin of the banana, and unlike bananas, they are virtually always prepared before consumption.
Unripe plantain, a member of the banana family, is a fantastic superfood. In Africa, Asia, and Latin America, they are a staple food. Plantains are cultivated mostly in Uganda, Nigeria, Ghana, and Rwanda.
Musa paradisical, sometimes known as plantain, is a common houseplant. People are aware of it. People are acquainted with the Plantain plant and appreciate its fruit, flour, and chips, but they are unaware of its additional use.
Fibre, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, and vitamin B complex, among other essential minerals and vitamins, are abundant in this unripe plantain. Inulin, alkaloids, and nor-adrenaline are also abundant.
The leaves remain green throughout the year. The plantain is still solid and green when pressed, suggesting that it is unripe.
Plantains are a tropical staple meal that is high in iron, ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), carotene, and other vitamins.
Plantain flour has fewer calories than all-purpose flour… This adaptable crop has a low-fat content.
Because of its low-fat content, it is ideal for persons who suffer from cholesterol-related diseases such as diabetes and obesity.
Recommended for you: Scientific Benefits and Nutritional Info of Fura Da Nono | African Milk
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF UNRIPE PLANTAIN FOR YOUR HEALTH?
Because of its low sugar level but high resistant starch content, the unripe or green plantain is very beneficial to diabetics.
Unripe plantains, unlike bananas, must be cooked before consumption. They offer several health advantages and may be prepared in several ways.
Plantains, whether unripe or green, are high in dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
Although they have a higher carbohydrate content than bananas, resistant starch — a form of dietary fibre – makes up the majority of their carbohydrate composition.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 big raw, green, unripe plantain (267 grams) will provide you with the following:
- 406 kcal of energy
- 163 grams of water (g)
- 0.2 g of fat
- 3 g of protein
- Carbohydrates (g): 98
- 6 g dietary fibre
- 6 g of sugar
- Potassium (mg): 1150mg (milligram)
- Magnesium: 109 milligrams
- 82 mg phosphorus
- 2 milligrams of iron
- 5 milligrams sodium
- 54mg vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- 74 micrograms of folate
Related: 27 Vegetables in Nigeria, Types, Recipes and More. Go Green!
HEALTH BENEFITS OF UNRIPE PLANTAIN
Unripe plantain’s nutritional value distinguishes it as a valuable addition to a healthy diet. It has long been accepted by alternative medicine practitioners for the treatment of a variety of ailments. a list of the various advantages of unripe plantain;
Plantains are high in complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, and they’re also very easy to digest. Plantains have been a staple food for millions of people around the world for centuries.
HEALTH OF THE DIGESTIVE SYSTEM
Fibre is important because it promotes bowel regularity. Fibre softens your stool and makes it bigger and heavier. Constipation is prevented by bulky stools, which are considerably easier to pass.
A high-fibre diet may also lower your risk of haemorrhoids and diverticular disease, which are tiny pouches in the large intestine. Fibre also promotes satiety, slows digestion, and may aid with cholesterol management.
MANAGEMENT OF WEIGHT
Carbohydrates aren’t generally detrimental for weight loss, contrary to popular belief. Plantains are high in fibre and starch, which are both complex carbohydrates.
Complex carbohydrates and fibre are less processed and absorbed more slowly than simple carbs found in processed meals. They make you feel fuller and more content for longer after a meal, which means you’ll eat fewer bad snacks.
HIGH IN ANTIOXIDANTS
Plantains contain a good amount of vitamin C in a single cup. This vitamin is an antioxidant that can help your immune system function better.
It may protect your body from free radical damage linked to ageing, heart disease, and even certain forms of cancer as an antioxidant.
Studies Vitamin C intake has been linked to a lower risk of lung, breast, colon, stomach, oesophagal, and other cancers, according to Trusted Source. Vitamin C concentrations in the blood plasma were also found to be lower in cancer patients.
GOOD FOR YOUR HEART
Plantains are abundant in potassium, which is necessary for sustaining the cell and body fluids that regulate your heart rate and blood pressure. Plantains’ fibre helps decrease cholesterol, which maintains your heart in good working order.
VERSATILE (LIKE A POTATO)
You might commonly come across plantains fried and soaked in grease as a side dish in a restaurant, maybe even topped with sour cream. While they taste amazing, fried plantains aren’t exactly a healthy choice if fried in unhealthy oil.
Plantains are better thought of as a starchy vegetable or a potato alternative. When baked or grilled, their texture and mild taste truly show. You can incorporate plantains as part of the meat- or vegetarian-friendly stew (like this!) or grill them alongside fish.
Plantains are a great gluten-free or paleo-friendly ingredient for dishes like paleo pancakes. If you’re feeling more adventurous, try ripe plantain arepas or boronía (mashed plantain and eggplant) (mashed plantain and eggplant).
GREAT FOOD FOR DIABETES
When cooked, unripe plantains have a low glycemic index (GI) of 45 due to their high resistant starch content. Resistant starch is a form of carbohydrate that does not break down into sugar in the small intestine and instead goes into the large intestine to be fermented.
Resistant starch does not elevate blood glucose levels since it is not digested in the small intestine, making it a suitable diet for diabetics. Fermentation in the large intestine also helps to control blood sugar levels by encouraging the growth of “good” gut bacteria.
BLOOD PRESSURE CONTROL
Plantains are high in potassium, a mineral that aids in the management of hypertension. A large green plantain will provide you with about 44 per cent of your daily potassium requirement.
Plantains are also beneficial to a hypertension diet because they are low in sodium.
EXTREMELY EFFECTIVE IN PREVENTING ANEMIA
Plantains are high in iron, a mineral required for haemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen throughout the body. Iron aids in the prevention of iron deficiency anaemia by playing a role in a variety of physiological processes in the body.
HEALTHY DURING PREGNANCY
Plantains have a lot of folate (folic acid) and iron in them. During pregnancy, folic acid is required to prevent fetal abnormalities such as Spina bifida, while iron helps to prevent anaemia.
Plantains are also high in vitamin C, vitamin B-6, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium, all of which help the baby’s growth and development.
AN EXCELLENT WASHING FOOD FOR BABIES
Plantains are also an excellent weaning food for newborns. They’re easy on the stomach and go well with grains like millet, sorghum, and soybeans. This combination delivers all of the important nutrients for a baby’s development and growth.
TREATS ULCER PAIN
Unripe plantain is rich in fibre and has been used to prevent or alleviate ulcer discomfort in traditional medicine. It’s thought to have an antacid-like effect on patients with stomach ulcers, reducing discomfort and preventing additional damage.
BOOSTS SEXUAL HEALTH
Plantains contain vitamins and nutrients that may help to improve sexual performance and libido. Africans believe that eating unripe plantains daily energizes males and increases fertility.
Ways for having your plantain as a meal
Plantains are a versatile food that may be used in place of potatoes. They may be cooked in a variety of ways, including boiling, roasting, frying, and baking. Here are some easy ways to enjoy plantains:
Boiled: Remove the skin, chop the potatoes into pieces, and cook as directed on the package. Add them to stews, curries, soups, chilli, or eat them as a side dish after they’re done.
Roasted: Peel and cook unripe plantains in the oven or over charcoal until they are slightly brown. When done, eat with beans chilli, roasted fish, stew, or soups.
Fried: To fry, peel their skins, cut into small slices, and deep-fry in healthy oil. They’re great as a snack or a side dish. For a healthier alternative, you can cook sliced plantains in an air fryer.
Baked: You can mash baked plantains and add them to your pancakes or baked goods. They are a great gluten-free alternative.
Finely grounded: Green plantains may be dried and made into flour, which is finely ground. It may be added to baked items or used to prepare swallow (African meal).
Possible side effects
Unripe plantain has little or no disadvantages or side effects. It is all beneficial from the root to the leaf, but foods high in fibre and resistant starch may be difficult for some people to digest. They may cause bloating, gas, or constipation. So gradually increase your consumption of unripe plantains while drinking plenty of water.
When and where to look for unripe plantains
From Central and South America to the Caribbean, Africa, and Southeast Asia, plantains are grown in tropical areas all over the world.
Plantains are accessible all year since they are a non-seasonal crop. In many areas, they’re regarded as daily staple meals daily, providing a considerable supply of calories for individuals living in the tropics.
Fortunately, plantains can also be found easily in markets and grocery stores.
Plantains are more than likely to be found in your local grocery shop, but if you can’t find them there, try a village grocery store.
Moreover, plantains are cheap! Plantains are similar to bananas in that you can generally obtain a few for less than you expect.
So instead of spending more on fatty foods every time, you can regularly help your body system by spending on unripe plantains and for less and this helps to keep the body system functioning at optimal capacity.
Unripe plantains are incredibly healthy and versatile and adding them to your diet could help lower cholesterol, prevent anaemia, and help treat stomach ulcers.
We should also keep in mind that plantains are also great in pregnancy, diabetes, and as weaning food for babies. Always remember to prepare using healthy ingredients, since frying in harmful oils may raise poor cholesterol levels.
Cooked plantains are nutritionally equivalent to potatoes in terms of calories, but they include more vitamins and minerals.
They’re high in fibre, vitamins A, C, and B-6, as well as the minerals magnesium and potassium. This underappreciated superfood is worth a trip to the supermarket.