About Plantains - Nutrition Facts, Nutritional, Health Benefits And Some Plantains Recipes
Plantains also known as platanos are tropical plants, botanically known as Musa paradisiaca and belonging to the banana family. Plantains thus resemble the banana. They are called cooking bananas as they are cooked prior to consumption thus differentiating them from the other bananas, the common dessert bananas, which are eaten uncooked.
Plantains are considerably larger and angular than bananas and are not eaten raw as they lack the sweetness and velvety texture of bananas. Plantains may have green skin like the unripe banana but may have yellow or even black skins as they ripen. Also they tend to be longer and have thicker skins than bananas. They need to be cooked or otherwise processed before consumption and are thus considered a vegetable.
Plantain PlantClick thumbnail to view full-size
More About Plantains
Plantains contain considerably more starch, less sugar and lower moisture content than bananas and can be boiled, fried or baked when they are green and unripe.
Like the potato in Europe and the U.S, plantain is the staple food in Africa, Latin America and Asia. That said, it must be understood that there is no clear distinction botanically between plantains and bananas.
In some countries the distinction between the plantains and bananas are clear while in other countries the difference is not clear cut.
Most plantains will turn sweet like a desert banana if allowed to ripen long enough but they retain their shape when cooked, even when ripe ,though bananas turn mushy when ripe. There is a special cultivar of plantains that is distinguished as true plantains especially in countries where there are a number of cultivars.
Plantains grow in warm tropical climates around the world.
The plantain grows to about 10-30 feet tall and has a conical trunk formed by the leaf sheaths of the spirally arranged leaves. Leaves are about 5-10 feet long and about a foot and half wide. Plantain is believed to be native to Southeast Asia.
In South India, plantain leaves are used as plates to serve traditional dishes. In Peru, plantain leaves are cut and used in place of corn stalks for wrapping tamale, the traditional Mesoamerican dish. In Africa, the soft central core of the stalk and young shoots are cooked and consumed.
Nutrients In Plantains
100 grams of plantains provide :
- About 122 calories.
- About 6% of the daily requirement of fiber.
- More Vitamin C than bananas; about 31% of the daily vitamin C need.
- About 37% of the daily vitamin A value.
- About 23% of pyridoxine, the B complex vitamin.
- They have more potassium than bananas and supply about 10% of this electrolyte.
- Good levels of the minerals magnesium, iron and phosphorus.
- Low sodium content.
Nutrients Levels In Plantains
Plantains (Musa species),
Nutritive Value per 100 g
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Plantains
Some of the health benefits of plantains are :
- The dietary fiber in plantains aids in normalizing bowel movements and reduces constipation.
- Its vitamin C levels aid in developing resistance to infectious agents, boost immunity levels and scavenge free radicals.
- Iron prevents anemia while the magnesium and phosphorus strengthen the bones; the magnesium also protecting the heart as well.
- The potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and heart rate.
- Pyridoxine helps to treat neuritis, anemia and reduces homocysteine levels. High homocysteine levels are associated with increased risk of stroke and coronary artery disease.
- Provides energy and tissue building elements including protein.
- Plantain has a diuretic action thus reducing bladder and kidney problems. Plantain tea soothes the bladder and is used to treat bed wetting, water retention and dropsy issues.
- The fruit heals cuts and wounds when it is crushed and applied. It also heals and treats damaged tissues, bruises and bones.
- In natural cure therapy plantain is used to treat venomous snake bites and scorpion stings. Since it cleanses the blood it is used to treat ringworm, eczema and other skin irritations.
- Plantain has been used to treat TB, syphilis, liver sluggishness and inflammation of the digestive tract.
- It also treats respiratory infections like asthma, hay fever, lung infections etc.
- Plantain is as effective as aloe vera juice and is used to treat sunburn, burns, scalds and ulcers.
- A paste of ground plantain can be used to stop bleeding.
- Plantain tea soothes the mucus membrane, relieves gastritis, diarrhea, dysentery and other intestinal problem.
- Plantain tea also eases menstrual discomfort and heavy bleeding.
- Plantains enhance the mood as they contain tryptophan.
The information in this hub is not a substitute for professional health advice. Please consult your medical doctor or healthcare provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
Some Excellent Plantain Recipes
- Fried Ripe Plantains Recipe - How to Fry Ripe Plantains and Recipe
Make Fried Ripe Plantains like they do in the Caribbean. This is an easy and quick recipe for sweet Fried Ripe Plantains.
- South-Indian Plantain Stir-Fry and a Shameless Request for Votes | onesmallpot
food and other morsels... (by Deepa)
- Mangu recipe (Mashed plantains) – Dominican Breakfast
Mangu (mashed plantains) is one of the best known dishes of the Dominican breakfast. Here’s how to make it with this simple step by step recipe.
- Oven Baked Sweet Plantains Recipe - Food.com - 80130
MMMM! I love plantains, especially sweet ones. This is a lower fat method of making maduros without the use of oil and frying in a pan.
- Fried Plantains Recipe - Allrecipes.com
Fried plantains are a traditional treat in many parts of the world. Try them once and you'll be hooked. Overly ripe plantains work best for this recipe.
- Recipes With Plantains
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© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly
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