7 Health Benefits of Green Plantains
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.
On a nutritional level, green plantains are a great source of fiber and nutrients. Thus, you should include them as part of a varied diet.
In fact, experts from the Spanish Nutrition Foundation (FEN) indicate that plantains contain fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, and inulin.
On the other hand, we should note that, as they’re rich in carbohydrates, they can provide a lot of energy to the body. They also contain other nutrients that can provide other health benefits. Discover them below.
1. They contribute to cardiovascular health
Within a balanced diet, consuming green plantains is beneficial for health. Not only because it’s a food of plant origin, a source of carbohydrates and various nutrients, but, above all, due to its potassium content.
Potassium is a mineral that helps maintain heart health, as well as the health of the entire cardiovascular system. In addition, it helps regulate blood pressure and, thus, maintain a normal heart rate.
2. It supports the health of the muscular system
Just as potassium is a very important substance for the health of the cardiovascular system, it’s also important for the muscular system, since it participates in various chemical reactions, such as:
- Muscle contraction.
- Muscle synthesis.
- Membrane permeability.
When your body doesn’t have enough potassium, you can experience muscle weakness, neuromuscular disorders, hypotension, rapid heartbeat, and other health problems.
Therefore, a good way to get a dose of potassium in your diet is to eat green plantains. You can enjoy them Colombian style, with a touch of salt. They’re delicious!
3. They provide vitamin B6
Green plantains contain vitamin B6, which helps maintain normal neurological function, keep blood sugar at normal levels, produce hemoglobin, break down proteins, and produce antibodies. These processes are essential for optimal health.
Since vitamin B6 is water soluble, it’s said that it’s a good idea to steam green plantains so that they retain as much of this nutrient as possible. You can combine them with a touch of salty cheese.
4. They help maintain intestinal transit
Although green plantains are more difficult to digest than ripe ones, consuming them as part of a healthy diet can help maintain a good intestinal transit.
According to popular wisdom, in many Spanish-speaking countries, consuming meals with green plantains is usually recommended to people who are recovering from diarrhea or dehydration.
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5. Green plantains prolong the feeling of satiety
As you may have guessed, green plantains help prolong the feeling of satiety. This is due to their dietary fiber and starch content.
If you’re looking to lose weight in a healthy way, you can include green plantains in your diet in moderate amounts (since although they don’t have fat, they’re rich in carbohydrates).
You can eat them boiled, pureed, and even steamed if you prefer. They make a good garnish in all these ways.
6. They provide inulin
According to FEN experts, green plantains contain inulin and other fructooligosaccharides that are indigestible by intestinal enzymes, which reach the final tract of the intestine and have beneficial effects on intestinal transit.
According to the experts of the Spanish Association for Food Safety and Nutrition “inulin is also a type of soluble dietary fiber composed of fructose units that’s extracted from chicory root. Among the foods richest in inulin, we can mention asparagus, garlic, and onion, among others”.
According to the authors of a 2007 study, “inulin offers health benefits and is used in the formulation of functional foods with properties that are widely exploited commercially”.
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7. They provide energy
Continuing with the previous point, plantains (green and ripe) help to obtain an extra energy to wake up and start doing everything you need. For this reason, experts usually recommended consuming it before moderate intensity exercise.
Therefore, if you want to get extra energy before or after your training session in the gym, don’t hesitate to take advantage of a serving of green plantains. You can combine them with some white cheese or a delicious guacamole.
Considerations on consuming green plantains
The Spanish Nutrition Foundation experts comment that “the starch green plantains contain make them difficult to digest. Thus, it may result in indigestion and can cause flatulence and dyspepsia”. Therefore, its consumption isn’t recommended in certain cases.
Keep in mind that, although eating green plantains can have many health benefits, you should avoid them when you suffer from liver or kidney failure problems.
This is particularly because, when your kidneys are damaged, excess potassium can’t be removed correctly in time.
This causes the levels of this mineral to rise and increases the risk of hyperkalemia, which can lead to various health problems.
Finally, keep in mind that it’s important for you to prepare them in different ways and avoid always eating them fried. Fat can negate all the positive effects it can bring.
Eating them boiled and seasoned with just a pinch of salt is the most recommended option. However, you can find another way to consume them.