Not to be mistaken for “dessert bananas” plantains come from the same family as bananas. They are grown around the world from Central and South America to the Caribbean, Africa and Southeast Asia. The nutrition of this vegetable is similar to that of a banana but the benefits of plantains go beyond boosting the immune system and regulating digestion. Read on below for our Top 5 Health Benefits of Plantains!
Plantains have more potassium than bananas. Potassium is essential for maintaining body fluids that control your heart rate and blood pressure. Potassium combats the negative effects of sodium and it enables your muscles to function normally. The mineral is important for your digestive health and helps to support a strong skeleton.
2. Vitamin B6
Plantains are an excellent source of vitamin B6. This nutrient helps bring oxygen to the tissues via the red blood cells and helps regulate hormone levels. Vitamin B6 is beneficial in the treatment of neuritis (nerve inflammation), anaemia (iron deficiency) and decreases homocysteine levels which are associated with coronary artery disease and stroke.
Magnesium deficiency has become a very common problem thanks to Western diets and depleted soil due to over farming. The good news is that plantains give you approximately 16% of your RDA. Magnesium is extremely important for your body in assimilating calcium (essential for bone strengthening) and lowering the risk of diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels. Studies have shown magnesium to be effective in those suffering from depression, migraines and sleep deprivation (insomnia) as well.
Plantains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index of 38. This means that eating appropriately cooked plantains won’t result in a rapid increase of blood glucose which often happens when eating processed carbohydrates like bread, crackers or cereals.
Plantains are rich in calcium. Your bones, teeth, nails and muscles rely on an adequate intake of calcium to maintain their health and strength. Adding plantain to your diet will help prevent diseases such as osteoporosis which is the weakening of bones and causes of fractures.
Additionally, the plantain is a good source of Vitamin A. A diet lacking in this vitamin can lead to dry eyes, eye infections, difficulty seeing in the dark and unhealthy skin. As a starchy vegetable it’s a great substitute for potatoes. Their texture and mild flavour is heightened when baked or grilled and they are an excellent option for gluten-free or paleo recipes. Plantains can easily be found in supermarkets and grocery stores and a super cool thing is that despite their manifold benefits, they are super cheap; ideal for savvy uni students, those who like to live healthily, frugally and of course, everyone else! How do you eat plantains, got a recipe? Tell us below or @KeepfitKingdom !