Plantain (Musa paradisiaca): A huge benefits to nature – AdexDailyMeals

Plantains (Musa paradisiaca) are a type of banana that are commonly grown in tropical regions around the world. They come in two varieties: ripe and unripe. Each variety has its own unique flavor and nutritional profile. In this article, we will explore the health benefits of both ripe and unripe plantains.

 

Nutritional Benefits Of Ripe Plantains

Ripe plantains are those that have turned yellow or black on the outside. They are softer and sweeter than unripe plantains and are often used in Caribbean and Latin American cuisine. Here are some of the nutritional and health benefits of ripe plantains:

High in fiber: Ripe plantains are a great source of dietary fiber, which can help to regulate digestion and prevent constipation. One medium-sized ripe plantain contains about 3 grams of fiber.

Provides energy: Ripe plantains are a great source of carbohydrates, which the body uses for energy. One medium-sized ripe plantain contains about 30 grams of carbohydrates.

Boosts immune system: Ripe plantains are rich in vitamin C, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps to protect the body against damage from free radicals. Vitamin C also plays a key role in immune function, helping to protect the body against infections and illnesses.

Rich in vitamins and minerals: Ripe plantains are a good source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. Vitamin C helps to boost the immune system, while vitamin A is important for healthy eyesight. Potassium is essential for maintaining proper fluid balance in the body and regulating blood pressure.

Improves skin health: Ripe plantains are a good source of vitamin A, which is essential for healthy skin. Vitamin A helps to promote cell growth and repair, and can improve the appearance of the skin.

 

Nutritional Benefits Of Unripe Plantains

Unripe plantains are those that are green or yellow on the outside and are harder and less sweet than ripe plantains. They are often used in savory dishes and are a staple food in West and Central Africa. The following are some of the nutritional benefits of unripe plantains:

Rich in resistant starch: Unripe plantains contain a type of carbohydrate called resistant starch, which is not digested in the small intestine. Instead, it passes to the large intestine, where it acts as a prebiotic and feeds beneficial gut bacteria. This can improve digestive health and reduce the risk of colon cancer.

Lowers blood sugar: Unripe plantains have a low glycemic index, which means they do not cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels. This makes them a good food choice for people with diabetes or those at risk of developing diabetes.

High in vitamins and minerals: Like ripe plantains, unripe plantains are also a good source of several important vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, vitamin A, and potassium. In addition, they are a good source of vitamin B6, which is important for brain function and the production of red blood cells.

Promotes heart health: Unripe plantains are a good source of potassium, which is essential for heart health. Potassium helps to regulate blood pressure and can reduce the risk of heart disease.

Supports weight loss: Unripe plantains are low in calories and high in fiber, making them a great choice for those who are trying to lose weight. The fiber in plantains helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied, reducing the temptation to overeat.

Supports healthy digestion: Unripe plantains contain a type of fiber called pectin, which can help to regulate digestion and promote healthy bowel movements. This can reduce the risk of constipation and other digestive issues.

 

Healthy Consumption Of Ripe Plantain

Ripe plantains can generally be consumed by most people as they are considered safe and nutritious. Ripe plantains are beneficial to the health of the following people;

Pregnant women: Ripe plantains are a good source of nutrients such as folate, which is important for fetal development. Pregnant women can benefit from incorporating ripe plantains into their diet to help ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Athletes and active individuals: Ripe plantains are a good source of carbohydrates, which can provide energy for physical activity. Athletes and active individuals can benefit from consuming ripe plantains before or after exercise to help replenish glycogen stores and support muscle recovery.

Vegetarians and vegans: Ripe plantains are a good source of potassium and vitamin B6, which can be difficult to obtain from a plant-based diet. Vegetarians and vegans can benefit from incorporating ripe plantains into their diet to help ensure they are getting these important nutrients.

People with anemia: Ripe plantains are a good source of iron, which is essential for the production of red blood cells. People with anemia may benefit from incorporating ripe plantains into their diet to help boost their iron levels.

Older adults: Ripe plantains are a good source of nutrients such as potassium, which can help to support heart health and lower blood pressure. Older adults may benefit from incorporating ripe plantains into their diet to help maintain overall health and wellbeing.

However, there are a few groups of people who may need to exercise caution when consuming ripe plantains and these people are;

People with diabetes: Ripe plantains have a higher glycemic index than unripe plantains, which means they can cause a quicker spike in blood sugar levels. People with diabetes should monitor their blood sugar levels carefully when consuming ripe plantains and adjust their medication or insulin dosage accordingly.

People with digestive issues: Ripe plantains are high in fiber, which can be beneficial for most people. However, people with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may find that ripe plantains exacerbate their symptoms.

Infants and young children: Ripe plantains are generally safe for infants and young children to consume, but they should be introduced slowly and in small quantities to avoid digestive issues. It is also important to ensure that the plantains are cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of choking.

Overall, ripe plantains are a nutritious and versatile food that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people. Whether you are pregnant, an athlete, a vegetarian, or simply looking to improve your overall health, ripe plantains can be a great addition to your diet.

 

Healthy Consumption Of Unripe Plantain

Unripe plantains can generally be consumed by almoost everyone as  they are considered safe and beneficial to our health. The following are some beneficial factors of ripe plantains;

People with diabetes: Unripe plantains are a good source of resistant starch, which can help to regulate blood sugar levels. People with diabetes can benefit from incorporating unripe plantains into their diet to help improve glycemic control.

People with hypertension: Unripe plantains are a good source of potassium, which can help to lower blood pressure. People with hypertension may benefit from incorporating unripe plantains into their diet to help support heart health.

People with anemia: Unripe plantains are a good source of iron, which is essential for the production of red blood cells. People with anemia may benefit from incorporating unripe plantains into their diet to help boost their iron levels.

Athletes and active individuals: Unripe plantains are a good source of carbohydrates, which can provide energy for physical activity. Athletes and active individuals can benefit from consuming unripe plantains before or after exercise to help replenish glycogen stores and support muscle recovery.

Older adults: Unripe plantains are a good source of nutrients such as potassium and fiber, which can help to support heart health, lower blood pressure, and promote regularity. Older adults may benefit from incorporating unripe plantains into their diet to help maintain overall health and wellbeing.

However, there are a few groups of people who may need to exercise caution when consuming unripe plantains due to their health status or condition as it may trigger or worsen the condition. These people include;

People with digestive issues: Unripe plantains are high in resistant starch, which can be difficult to digest for some people. People with digestive issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) may find that unripe plantains exacerbate their symptoms. If you have digestive issues, it is best to consult with a healthcare provider before consuming unripe plantains.

People with hypothyroidism: Unripe plantains contain goitrogens, which are compounds that can interfere with thyroid function. People with hypothyroidism may need to limit their intake of unripe plantains or avoid them altogether.

Infants and young children: Unripe plantains are generally safe for infants and young children to consume, but they should be introduced slowly and in small quantities to avoid digestive issues. It is also important to ensure that the plantains are cooked thoroughly to reduce the risk of choking.

People with allergies: Being a  member of the banana family, some people may be allergic to plantain. Symptoms of a plantain allergy can include itching, swelling, and difficulty breathing.

Overall, unripe plantains are a nutritious and versatile food that can be enjoyed by a wide range of people. Whether you are managing a chronic condition or simply looking to improve your overall health, unripe plantains can be a great addition to your diet.

 

Conclusion

In conclusion, both ripe and unripe plantains have numerous health benefits and can be consumed by a wide range of people. Ripe plantains are a good source of nutrients such as potassium, fiber, and vitamins B6 and C, while unripe plantains are a good source of resistant starch, iron, and potassium. Both types of plantains can help to regulate blood sugar levels, support heart health, and improve digestion. However, it is important to note that people with certain health conditions or allergies may need to exercise caution when consuming plantains, and it is always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider before making any significant changes to your diet. Overall, incorporating ripe and/or unripe plantains into your diet can be a tasty and nutritious way to support your overall health and wellbeing.

 

References

Muhammad, I., Waseem, A., Iqbal, M. A., & Maqbool, F. (2017). A review on nutritional and medicinal aspects of plantain (Musa paradisiaca Linn.). Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, 6(6), 1743-1749.

Okon, U. A., & Ita, O. I. (2014). The role of plantain (Musa paradisiaca) in health promotion: A review. African Journal of Food Science, 8(5), 237-246.

Rodríguez-Ramiro, I., Dainty, J. R., & Teucher, B. (2010). Mineral bioavailability in the human gut: interactions between calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, selenium, zinc and phosphate. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 90(15), 2665-2671.

Sanches-Silva, A., Costa, D., Albuquerque, T. G., & Ramos, F. (2014). Nutritional and health benefits of plantains (Musa paradisiaca). Food and Nutrition Sciences, 5(19), 1957-1966.

Tizazu, S., Urga, K., & Godebo, T. R. (2018). Nutritional and health benefits of ripe and unripe plantain fruits (Musa paradisiaca). Journal of Food and Nutrition Sciences, 6(4), 125-129.

 

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