Plantains are one of the most important foods in the world. Classified as a carbohydrate, this food is sometimes treated like vegetables in the kitchen.
They are related to banana and can be sometimes mistaken as that from afar. Plantains are recognized as healthy and staple foods that serve large populations of people in continents like Africa and Asia.
Although plantain is sometimes confused or thought to be bananas, there are a few differences between the two. To start with, plantains are bigger than bananas. For its cultivation, plantain also requires a moisture rich farmland in the tropics like banana.
Another thing to be noted in differentiating a plantain from a banana is the processes involved in eating them. While bananas need not be subjected to further processes before eating once they are ripe, plantains have to be boiled, roasted or fried before they become edible.
Like bananas, the more ripened the plantain is, the sweeter the flesh inside. When bananas get more ripened, the starch in them are broken down to simple sugars. This also applies to plantain; the nutritional value changes with the ripeness.
Plantains are mostly available all year round even though the prices are dependent on their abundance. They are usually harvested when they are green or unripe even though they have reached the peak of their maturity.
Plantains get ripened quickly and can be subjected to spoilage once they are harvested. Thus, it is important to always buy the hard ones from the market.
It should be known also that plantains have different uses based on their level of maturity and ripeness. The green and mature ones can be fried to produce plantain chips which is considered to be a snack while the overripe ones can be fried and eaten as 'Dodo'.
Find below some the health benefits of eating plantains:
1. A good source of energy
Plantains contain more calories than bananas. They are a good source of carbohydrates and would supply the body with ample bouts of energy. Millions of people all over the world eat this food.
2. Helps in bowel movement
Plantain contains an appreciable amount of dietary fiber which aids food digestion as well as the bowel movement. Constipation is reduced when plantain is being eaten regularly.
3. Boosts the immune system
Plantain contains an incredible amount of vitamin C which is surprisingly more than the amount found in bananas.
Foods rich in vitamin C help boost the immunity and protect the body from dieases and infections. It should be noted that the vitamin C in plantains get denatured when they are being boiled.
4. Good for vision
The vitamin A content in plantains is good for vision. It is also a powerful antioxidant that helps in the normal functioning of the body system.
The eye membranes are kept healthy when plantain is being eaten. The vitamin A contained in plantain also helps maintain a healthy skin.
5. Prevention of thyroid
The iron contained in unripe plantain makes it very healthy for people to eat. Thyroid is being prevented when we consume food rich in iron.
Minerals like magnesium and phosphorous are also present in plantain. The magnesium contained in the plantain is good for bone health.
6. For the prevention of diseases
The same way bananas contain vitamin B, plantains also contain vitamin B6 which is important for the treatment of anemia and neuritis.
It also helps to reduce homocystine, one of the causes of coronary artery diseases and stroke. In addition to the vitamin B contained in plantain, minerals like folates, thiamin, riboflavin and niacin are also present in it.
7. Promotes healthy heart
The potassium contained in them plantains make them important for the normal functioning of the heart. Potassium helps control blood pressure and heart rate.
Watch the video below to see some of the other health benefits of plantain: