Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
Super Food of the Week: Health Benefits of Plantains
Plantains are best described as green counterparts of rich, 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 my super food of the week!
Plantains are great sources of a variety of vitamins and minerals including:
- Fiber: Helps to keep bowel movements regular and reduce constipation
- Vitamin C This antioxidant helps build up your immune system and scavenge free radicals
- Vitamin A: Plays a role in vision and enhancing skin complexion
- B6 (Pyridoxine): Beneficial in treating neuritis, anemia, and decreasing homocystein levels which are often associated with coronary artery disease and stroke episodes.
- Potassium: Important components of cell and body fluids that help control heart rate and blood pressure.
Plantains of all kinds are available in your local super markets year round so you may have seen them and not even realized it. When selecting a plantain to take home and cook, look for firm, deep green plantains that feel heavy in your hand. Do not buy overripe or damaged fruits, as they won’t turn out as well.
Speaking of cooking . . .how do you prepare a plantain? Plantains are inedible raw and should be eaten only after cooked. The easiest way to prepare them is as follows:
- Wash your raw plantain and then using a paring knife, trim both ends.
- Next, cut the fruit into short lengths. Slit the skin superficially along the ridge and then peel the skin gently away from the flesh to extract the pulp.
- Then you decide how you want to prepare it. You can either cook it whole as part of a roast, you can cut it into thin slices and bake as you would French fries, or you can mash them into a mashed potato texture.
Other ways to eat plantains? Although the above mentioned are traditional ways plantains are prepared, there is another way you can get plantains without having to prepare them yourself. If you are searching for a snack with a little more kick than your average chip or pretzel, check out Turbana Plantain Chips. These crunchy plantain chips are natural with no cholesterol and no trans fat, plus they come in 6 different flavors! They are “Simply Plantanicious!”