Plantains often get confused with bananas. They have a similar look and even boast a similar nutritional profile, but they differ in taste and use. Plantains are usually cooked before eating. They have a starchier taste and contain less sugar than bananas. They also grow year-round in tropical climates making them a reliable food source for many developing countries. Plantains aren’t very popular in the United States, but you can probably find them in a large grocery store near you. Thanks to the vitamins and minerals they contain, plantain health benefits include providing the body with potassium and regulating the digestive system.
Plantain Health Benefits
1. Provide the Body with Potassium
Plantain health benefits include a natural boost of potassium. One cup of cooked, mashed plantains contains a whopping 913 milligrams of potassium, making them one of the most potassium-rich foods across the globe. The body uses potassium to regulate the amount of sodium in the body and naturally combat high blood pressure. (1)
2. Help Regulate the Digestive System
Plantain health benefits include the ability to help regulate the digestive system. There are roughly 25-30 grams of fiber in one cup of plantains. As a high-fiber food, plantain health benefits include the ability to relieve digestive issues, including constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis. (2)
3. Reduce Free Radicals in the Body
Thanks to the Vitamin C they contain, plantain health benefits include the ability to fight free radicals in the body that cause damage. Vitamin C works to boost the immune system, protect the skin from damage, reduce premature aging and help repair damaged tissues. (3)
4. Boost the Immune System
Plantain health benefits include the ability to give the immune system a natural boost. They contain Vitamin C and Vitamin A, both of which work as powerful antioxidants in the body. They help control immune response, improve skin health, boost eye health and prevent inflammation that can lead to health problems.
5. Promote Healthy Brain Function
Plantains contain a healthy dose of Vitamin B6, which the body uses to maintain healthy brain function. Plantain health benefits include the ability to stabilize mood by balancing hormone levels. Vitamin B6 works alongside Vitamin B12 to help slow the onset of eye disease, including macular degeneration. (4)
6. Provide the Body with Magnesium
Plantain health benefits include the ability to provide the body with a healthy dose of magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is linked to many health problems, including muscle cramps, fatigue, high blood pressure and irregular heartbeat. The body uses magnesium for over 300 biochemical reactions. It helps regulate blood pressure, increase calcium absorption and lower the risk of type 2 diabetes by controlling blood glucose levels.
7. Prevent Aspirin-Induced Ulcers
Studies have shown that plantain health benefits include the ability to prevent ulcers cause by aspirin intake. Researchers found that dried plantain powder showed an ulcer-healing effect on an aspirin-induced gastric ulcer. It works by stimulating the growth of the inner lining of the stomach.