Plantain are close relative of the banana and tend to be mistaken for them. But in one the 120 countries that grow much of the worlds supply of plantains like Uganda, Colombia and Cameroon – people know the distinction between the two. That is because plantains are starchier, contain less sugar than bananas and are much more versatile as a cooking ingredient. Unlike bananas, plantains are typically cooked before eating.
Plantain trees grow best in moisture rich tropical climates. The tree flowers develop into a bunch, which holds about five to 10 fruits. Plantains don’t have a growing season and are therefore, available all year round, this makes them a very valuable and reliable food source for developing countries. Only 15% of global production is used in trade; the rest is consumed domestically in the countries where they’re grown and they’re grown all over the world; in fact plantains are the 10th most important staple food feeding the world today.
NUTRITIONAL FACTS ABOUT PLANTAINS
One cup of raw plantain has roughly (in recommended daily values)
- 181 calories
- 47 grams carbohydrates
- 1.9 grams protein
- 0.5 grams fat
- 3.4 grams fiber
- 27.2 milligrams vitamin C (45 percent)
- 1,668 lU vitamin A (33 percent)
- 0.4 milligram vitamin B (22 percent)
- 739 milligram potassium (21 percent)
- 0.9 milligram iron ( 5 percent )
HEALTH BENEFITS OF PLANTAINS
Plantains are a solid source of carbohydrates with low fat content, but they also provide a number of other health benefits as well plus they don’t contain any significant levels as toxin.
- Great Source of Potassium: There are 913 milligrams of potassium in one cup of cooked mashed plantains. That accounts for about 20 % of your recommended daily amount of potassium. Potassium can affect the function of a number organs and processes. Potassium levels also affect skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, which allows for regulate heart rhythm, and studies shows that people who consume diets with high potassium levels tend to be at lower risk of stroke, osteoporosis and renal disease.
- Help Regulate the Digestive System: fiber has a profound effect on the digestive system and plays a significant role in keeping it regular. One cup of plantains provides almost a fifth of the fiber recommended daily which is roughly 25-30 grams. As a high- fiber food, plantains add bulk to food intake which aid digestion. Fiber also make you feel full, which can help with weight loss, thus, increasing intake of dietary fiber can also help enhance weight loss in obese individuals. Soluble fiber is also known to help lower cholesterol and blood pressure, which prevents heart disease. Fiber can also help stabilize blood sugar.
- Reduce the Number of Harmful Free Radicals: free radicals, which are made when the body breaks down food or when you are exposed to other harmful element like tobacco smoke or radiation, play a part in aging diseases and cancer. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that fights free radical damage. A serving of plantains can provide over 35 percent of the vitamin C needed per day, making it one of the best vitamin C foods around. The body cant store vitamin C (excess is released in urine) or produce it independently, so getting the daily recommended amount is very important.
- Boost the Immune System: looking to boost your immune system, then plantains are the perfect snack. They pack 36 percent of your daily recommended amount of vitamin A which provides a number of benefits to the body. Along with vitamin C, it helps control your immune response, which keeps illness at bay and a number of important immune system responses rely on vitamin A to perform correctly. Vitamin A antioxidant properties can neutralize free radicals and help prevents inflammation caused by overreacting cells. It also helps with eye health and vision especially in low light.
Concerns about Consuming Plantains
some people have plantain allergies. The allergic reaction usually surface immediately or up to one hour after consumption. The symptoms are the same as others food allergies and include things like itching and swelling of the lips, tongue and throat; hive; and trouble breathing, among others.
Because plantains have a high carbohydrate content and glycemic load they can raise blood sugar. Those with diabetes should be aware of pairing plantains with other foods that can raise blood sugar levels.
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Categories: Nutrition & Diet