Plantains

April 2, 2013
webmaster

Plantain is the common name for herbaceous plants of the genus Musa. It is a close relative of banana, looks like banana, and often needs to be cooked before eaten. It is eaten all over Africa and Southern and Central America. Plantain can be eaten boiled, roasted, grilled, or fried. Unlike its banana cousin, plantain has more dietary fibers, less water and less sugar. It is rich in complex starch when unripe. When not yet ripe, it is hard, and contains loads of starch. Its skin remains green, and has a neutral taste. When mature, if kept at room temperature for about a week, it gradually goes through different phase of ripeness. When the skin is light yellow, it is half ripe, and assumes a sweet taste if eaten at this stage. If left for a couple more days, it would become very ripe, with the skin becoming black, and the fruit soft. The starch here would have changed into sucrose.

USES

It can used for ornamental purposes, as food and as drink.
As food, this nutritious fruit can be
eaten boiled whether green, yellow or black.
It can be fried. When still green and fried, it is called plantain chips. If yellow or black and gets fried, it is referred to as plantain chips or Dodo.
It can be mashed and eaten like mash potatoes.
When allowed to ferment, it is a source of alcoholic drink.

NUTRITIONAL VALUE

The fruit is extremely low in fat, high in dietary fiber and starch. It is very low in cholesterol and salt too.
It is a good source of vitamins A, B6, and C which helps maintain vision, good skin, and build immunity against diseases. It is also rich in potassium, magnesium and phosphate. Plantains are low in sodium.
When cooked green, is very good for diabetics, as it contains complex carbohydrate that is very slowly released.

HEALTH BENEFITS

A diet rich in potassium (from food) is associated with a lower risk of stroke.
Plantains are excellent at promoting digestion.
Plantains will help your body retain more calcium, phosphorous and nitrogen which will help rejuvenate your healthy tissues.
The sugar in plantains can easily be metabolized and digested by your body.
Plantains will do wonders at keeping you regular and will relieve you from constipation.
Plantains don’t contain ANY cholesterol.
A well-acclaimed diuretic, plantain is found to be extremely effective against kidney and bladder problems. Plantain tea is known to soothe the bladder and is usually recommended against bed-wetting, dropsy and water retention.
Plantain is touted as a wonderful blood cleanser. It is also an effective cure against venomous snake bites and scorpion stings. Plantain is also an excellent cure for treating bug bites, eczema and other skin irritations. It also helps to reduce the pain of poison ivy.
A diet of green plantain is filling, and can be a good inclusion in a weight loss diet plan.