Plantains, also known as plátanos, are closely related cultivars of fruit or dessert banana. Generally, they are regarded as vegetables in the kitchen much like fellow tropical produces such as potatoes, taro, breadfruit, sweet potatoes, etc. Indeed, plátanos are one of the staple sources of carbohydrates for larger populations in Asia, Oceania, Africa, and Central Americas for centuries, served in main courses.
Plantains belong to the same family as bananas but they have to be cooked to be eaten. Plantains are delicious and can be found in many places in the world. Here are a few health benefits of plantains:
- Plantains are very reliable sources of starch and energy.
- Plantains contain a high amount of dietary fibre which helps ensure healthy bowels and reduces constipation.
- Plantains have more vitamin C than bananas. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a vital role in the visual cycle, maintaining healthy mucus membranes, and enhancing skin complexion.
- As in bananas, they too are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, particularly high in vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxine is an important B-complex vitamin that has a beneficial role in the treatment of neuritis, anemia, and to decrease homocystine (one of the causative factors for coronary artery disease (CHD) and stroke episodes) levels in the body.
- Plantains also contain folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. Folates (folic acid) are essential for healthy pregnancy.
- Plantains also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Magnesium is essential for bone strengthening and has a cardiac-protective role as well.
- Plantains have more potassium than bananas. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering negative effects of sodium.
- Plantains are famed to be diuretic and can help prevent kidney and bladder problems.
- Plantains ease the discomfort associated with the menstrual period.