Plantains are best described as green counterparts of rich, ripe yellow bananas and are actually a natural super food that many people are unaware of! Although they look similar to bananas, they are actually quite different. In many tropical regions, they are considered a staple and a reliable source of starch in many households. Plantains have more calories than the fruit bananas, 100g plantain consists of 122 calories, while dessert banana has 89 calories. Indeed, they are very reliable sources of starch and energy ensuring food security for millions of households worldwide. Plantains also provide a wide variety of health and nutritional benefits
Plantains are great sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals including:
- Vitamin A: Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. 100 g fresh ripe plantains contain 1127 IU or 37.5% of daily required levels of this vitamin. 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.
- B6 (Pyridoxine): They are a rich source 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. In addition, they contain moderate levels of folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin.
- Vitamin C: Fresh plantain have more vitamin C than bananas. 100 g provide 18.4 mg or 31% of daily required levels of this vitamin. Consumption of foods rich in vitamin-C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful oxygen-free radicals.
- Fiber: It contains 2.3 g of dietary fiber per 100 g (6% of DRA per 100 g). Adequate amount of Dietary-fiber in the food helps normal bowel movements, thereby reducing constipation problems.
- They 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.
- Fresh plantains have more potassium than bananas. 100 g fruit provides 499 mg of potassium (358 mg per 100 g for bananas). Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, countering negative effects of sodium.