Plantains are best described as green counterparts to, 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 also provide a wide variety of health and nutritional benefits which make them our super food of the week!
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 year-round. This makes them a very valuable, reliable food source for developing countries.
Only 15 percent 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.
Despite their popularity in other countries, plantains are not as common in the U.S., but they are available in most large grocery stores, Hispanic and Asian markets. The plantain is nutrient-filled fruit that provides many vitamins and minerals, and it can be a great substitute for rice or potatoes.
Although, we are all about eating local and seasonal lets just face it, some things are just too good not to have in our lives!
Unlike a banana, plantains have to be cooked before eating. They are such a delicious addition to so many dishes. My favorite is to slice and fry in coconut oil, add a pastured egg, greens and a bit of sausage for an easy satisifying breakfast
Here are a few more health benefits of plantains:
1. Plantains are very reliable sources of starch and energy.
2. Plantains contain a high amount of dietary fiber which helps ensure healthy bowel function and reduces constipation.
3. 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 free radicals.
4. Plantains have more vitamin A than bananas. In addition to being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a vital role in eye health, maintaining healthy mucus membranes, and enhancing skin complexion.
5. Like bananas, they too are rich sources of B-complex vitamins, particularly high in vitamin-B6 (pyridoxine). Pyridoxine is an important B-complex it protects the immune system, has a positive effects on metabolism, premenstrual syndrome, hormone control, emotional disorders, skin conditions, cardiac diseases, kidney disorders, and carpal tunnel syndrome.
6. Plantains also contain folates, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. Folates (folic acid) are essential for healthy pregnancy. Food sources of these nutrients are recognized by the body and absorbed more efficiently.
7. Plantains also provide adequate levels of minerals such as iron, magnesium, and phosphorous. Magnesium is one of the six essential macro-minerals that comprise 99% of the body's mineral content. Magnesium helps build bones, enables nerves to function, and is essential to the production of energy from food.
8. 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 too much sodium.
9, Plantains are famed for being diuretic and can help prevent kidney and bladder problems.
10, Plantains ease the discomfort associated with the menstrual period.
11. Plantains are the bomb!! Get some this week! Puerto Rican lasagna uses plantain in place of noodle and is an all time favorite in my house!