First thing’s first, have you ever heard of a plantain? If you’re like us, you probably heard of it on a cooking show, only to have the host whip out a banana that wasn’t quite a banana. Enter, the plantain. In this article, we’ll show you what the nutritional benefits of these are.
Bananas as we know them are often referred to as sweet or dessert bananas, while the plantain is a starchy, not-so-sweet banana that needs to be cooked otherwise you’re in for a horrible surprise. Even though they’re a staple for many tropical regions and have a calorie count and nutritional benefits similar to that of a potato, they taste pretty disgusting when eaten raw. They are also a great source of vitamin A, B6, C, fibre, potassium and magnesium.
Nutritional Benefits Of Plantains
Plantains are easily digestible and have been a staple food for many countries. They are also packed with complex carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins. They’re also rich in fibre, promote healthy digestion and avoid constipation. Fibre also assists with keeping you feeling fuller for longer and has been found to lower levels of cholesterol.
While carbohydrates are thought to be unhealthy, the complex carbohydrates in plantains are slowly digestible, keeping you fuller for longer, which indicates that you will be less inclined to snack on unhealthy foods. They’re also far less processed, which is also a good thing.
They don’t, however, contain fats or protein and so need to be properly supplemented if you are looking to make it part of your diet. It’s always important to make sure that you consume a balanced diet in order to live a healthy lifestyle.
Rich In Antioxidants
A single cup of plantain contains all the nutritional benefits you need for your recommended daily dosage of vitamin C, which is an immune-boosting antioxidant. Antioxidants can also protect your body from free radicals that cause ageing, some forms of cancer and heart disease.
The potassium in plantains can regulate your heart rate and blood pressure by maintaining bodily fluids and cells.
Plantains are like a potato in the sense that they are prepared in a similar fashion and are incredibly versatile. Most restaurants deep fry them and top it with sour cream, while others baked them to cook a healthier version. Plantains also go well in stews.
As part of the gluten-free movement, and to create dishes that are suitable for gluten-intolerant people, plantains can be used to make pancakes or even arepas. If you’re feeling adventurous, the sky is the limit.
They’re usually found in tropical climates in South and Central America and even in Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and Africa. They’re non-seasonal and can be planted all year round, which is why it has become a staple for many.
Not many grocers stock plantains as of yet, but you can try more specialised markets or Asian stores. Online ad forums are also a great way to find this elusive plant. However, if you’re lucky enough to find them, they’re inexpensive and come in banana-like bunches, giving you more bang for your buck.
There are so many out-of-the-way fruits and vegetables that have incredible nutritional benefits like plantains. If you would like to discover more about these, then you should do our Specialised Nutrition Course. For more information, please follow this link.