Green plantains are used throughout Latin America and can be prepared in a variety of ways. Boiled, baked, or fried, they’re an excellent complement to many dishes.
At a nutritional level, green plantains are an excellent source of fiber, potassium, vitamin C, and beta-carotene, along with other vitamins like B6 and minerals such as iron.
In addition to giving your body a lot of energy, they provide some of the health benefits we’ll talk about below.
1. Green plantains can improve and regulate your heart rateThanks to their high content of potassium, eating green plantains helps regulate your heart rate.
This is because potassium helps regulate your blood pressure to protect your heart from any damage that could cause an irregular heartbeat.
A medium-sized green plantain can contain approximately 400 mg of potassium, a very large daily dose if you consider that the recommended amount for adults is 4700 mg (and for children it ranges from 3800 to 4500 ml).
Do not forget to read: 8 foods to manage blood pressure
2. Fight gastritis and other stomach problemsGreen plantains are very rich in starch. They’re excellent protectors of the gastric mucosa. This is why they are a good food when you’re suffering from any of the following problems:
- Stomach ulcers
In these cases, however, it’s important that you prepare them properly and avoid frying them.
The grease typically involved in frying them will almost certainly cancel out any of the benefits they might have.
Eating them boiled and seasoned with a little salt and olive oil is the most recommended option.
3. They fight intestinal diseases
The starch content in plantains, a type of highly fermentable fiber, is very beneficial for the good bacteria that helps improve the function of your colon, as it produces a regulatory and prebiotic effect.
Eating green plantains will help you regenerate your intestinal flora.
It’s a good idea to include this food in your diet if you’ve just finished a course of antibiotics that may have weakened your intestinal flora.
They are also helpful in the case of intestinal diseases, like Crohn’s or colitis.
4. They boost your defenses
Just like garlic, green plantains are an excellent source of vitamin B6. This is important for the proper function of your immune system, especially in older people.
Many diseases that become more common with age can cause inflammation that degenerates to tryptophan, so your body needs more vitamin B6 to stay healthy.
Because vitamin B6 is water-soluble, it’s a good idea to steam plantains and preserve this nutrient as much as possible.
5. They regulate your blood pressure
Potassium is very important for the health of your body, not just because it benefits your arteries. It also helps with muscle contractions, which is very important when it comes to your heart.
When you suffer from high blood pressure, it’s best to increase your potassium, magnesium, and calcium intake.
Green plantains have large quantities of potassium and magnesium, so consuming them is a great idea.
Pay special attention if you already take medicine for high blood pressure, as they usually increase potassium as well.
6. They reduce cholesterol
A 200 gram green plantain can provide up to 5 grams of protein, making it a great choice for reducing cholesterol levels.
This is important if you want to avoid problems like obesity, diseases associated with type 2 diabetes, and certain types of cancer.
7. They help prevent obesityThe starch contained in green plantains provides prolonged feelings of fullness after you eat them, in addition to being a food that’s naturally low in fat.
If you are trying to lose weight, you can add green plantains to your meals in moderate amounts (remember that they are also rich in carbohydrates).
You can eat them boiled, mashed, or even steamed if you like.
Considerations when eating green plantains
Keep in mind that while eating green plantains can bring many benefits for your health, avoid them if you’re suffering from liver problems or kidney failure.
This is important because if your kidneys are damaged, too much potassium cannot be removed in time.
This causes the levels of this mineral to rise and increases your risk of hyperkalemia, which can lead to:
- A weak pulse
- Severe damage to the heart