Chances are if you see something in the produce aisle that looks like a banana, but is a little smaller, bright green, and thick-skinned, it is not a banana. It is a plantain. Plantains are popular in Latin, African, and Caribbean cuisine. Even if you are not a fan of those types of cuisines, adding plantains to your diet can put you on the road to being healthier. However, plantains cannot be simply peeled and eaten, like a banana. This is the equivalent to eating an uncooked potato, as it will have a starchy taste. Plantains can be enjoyed sauteed or cooked like a vegetable and added a side to a main course or dessert.
A healthy alternative to potato chips
Admit it. You have noshed on an endless bowl of potato chips while binge-watching your favorite TV show, right? Binge watching your favorite show can become healthier by replacing your potato chips with plantain chips. Simply peel and chop the plantain into bite-sized pieces. You should cut the plantain as thick as a potato chip would normally be. Place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, to taste. Bake until delicious. Imagine all the calories and fat you are saving by switching potato chips for healthy plantain chips.
Excellent source of fiber
People do not get enough fiber in their daily diet. This is a well-known fact. Yes, bananas are an excellent source of fiber, but substituting plantains into your diet can add more fiber than bananas. Men need between 30 and 35 grams of fiber a day, while women need between 21 and 25 grams per day. Bananas are great for a morning pick-me-up, but plantains are a great way to change up the ordinary savory dinner. Substitute plantains for potatoes in any vegetable soup or stew and help reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke. Adding plantains to your diet also increases your chances of preventing constipation and regulating your blood sugar.
Improve your eyesight
As we age, our vision can deteriorate, if we do not have enough Vitamin A in our diet. Everyone knows fresh food is the best source of vitamins and minerals. Pick up plantains from the produce section to add Vitamin A into your daily diet. Plantains provide a powerful antioxidant that helps you maintain healthy eyesight. Your skin’s complexion and your body’s mucous membranes will thank you for adding plantains to your diet. Your immune system also receives a boost from the Vitamin A in plantains. Couples trying to have a baby will want to consume more plantains, rich in Vitamin A, to enhance their reproductive systems.
Encourages healthy pregnancies
Once a woman becomes pregnant, she is encouraged to take prenatal vitamins to ensure she receives the proper amount of vitamins and minerals necessary to maintain a healthy pregnancy. Adding plantains to your daily diet ensures the proper nutrition for a healthy pregnancy.
Folates, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamine are all essential for a healthy pregnancy, and plantains are an excellent source of each. Not every city has an all-night restaurant open with mofongo (fried plantains) on the menu to help expectant mothers find their source of plantains. Simply pick up plantains in the produce section to add to your favorite soups and stews to ensure a happy, healthy baby.
More potassium than bananas
Bananas are a great source of potassium, but plantains have more potassium than bananas. Excite your taste buds by trying new Latin, African, or Caribbean cuisines that include plantains, and help control your heart rate and blood pressure. Potassium works hard to counteract the negative effects of sodium in your diet, which makes plantains heart healthy. Cooking your plantains can break down the starches and make them easier to digest. The high potassium content in plantains will help ensure better digestion health, meaning less indigestion or upset stomachs. However, you should take all precautions needed to avoid the flatulence plantains can sometimes cause.
While most think of calcium as an important component of maintaining healthy and strong bones, potassium can do the same thing.
Many with high blood pressure take medication that contains a diuretic to help regulate the amount of sodium contained in their body. Too much sodium in the body can cause too much pressure on the heart to function correctly. Adding plantains to your diet attacks the sodium in your system and releases excess through urine, making them natural diuretics.
Plantains as a natural diuretic can also help your body fight kidney and bladder problems. Instead of drinking cranberry juice, you can enjoy Latin, African, and Caribbean cuisines with fried or sauteed plantains.
Ease menstrual discomfort
Plantains are a natural diuretic, so adding them to their every day diet can help women fight the bloating that occurs with their menstrual cycle. Since most menstrual medications contain both diuretics and pain relievers, many women turn to them for menstrual relief.
Including plantains in your daily diet can be an excellent alternative to turning to medications for menstrual bloating and cramp relief. Most menstrual relief medications also contain pain medications that are not good for your liver when taken too much. If you are already taking certain pain relief medications for arthritis or other disorders, menstrual relief medications can add medication to your system, possibly endangering your liver.
Excellent source of Vitamin C
Most people double up on oranges, other citrus fruits, and bananas during cold and flu season to build up their body’s immune system. The Vitamin C contained within these fruits helps the body fight off cold and flu germs.
Plantains contain more Vitamin C than bananas and represent an excellent opportunity to provide a nutritional variety to your every day diet. If you enjoy trying different cuisines, plantains are prominent in Latin, African, and Caribbean cuisine. Enjoy dishes you may have never had before while fighting infectious agents and harmful oxygen-free radicals.
Rich in Vitamin B Complex
Vitamin B Complex increases metabolism and energy production. Everyone could use an extra boost of energy or a boost in metabolism to help maintain or lose weight. While there are Vitamin B Complex supplements out there, that can be taken with meals, but plantains represent a nutritional food that is a good source.
Adding fried or sauteed plantains to your every day diet will help your body fight anemia or neuritis with Vitamin B Complex. Neuritis is the inflammation of a nerve or the general inflammation of the peripheral nervous system.
Vitamin B Complex enriched plantains also help the body fight homocysteine, one of the primary factors in causing coronary artery disease or strokes.
High levels of iron, magnesium, and phosphorus
Iron is an important mineral in fighting anemia. Anemia can take a toll both physically and mentally on your health. You can feel tired and irritable very easily when you are iron deficient. Plantains are a great source of iron and can help your body fight anemia. Magnesium and phosphorus are two minerals that are important for building strong muscles and bones. Frequent eaters of Latin, African, or Caribbean cuisines containing plantains are likely receiving adequate levels of magnesium and phosphorous.
Including plantains in your daily diet will also ensure your body collects enough magnesium and phosphorus to strengthen their cardiac health.