Plantain is known popularly by both the young and old and can be served either boiled, roasted or fried. Unripe plantain tastes really bad when eaten raw so don’t be deceived by the banana-like resemblance. Plantain generally are less sweeter and starchier replacement for bananas. Many people prefer eating unripe plantain over ripe plantain. This article discusses the health benefits of unripe plantain.
Unripe plantains are green in colour and stronger than ripe plantains. In Nigeria, plantain can also be grinded to small bits and be eaten as swallow (plantain Fufu) Locally, it is given different names by the different tribes in Nigeria. For example, the Yorubas refer to fried plantain as Dodo, in Igbo as Ojoko.
Nutritional Content of Unripe Plantain
Unripe plantains are an excellent source of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, and various minerals. They are easily digestible as they contain fiber. Unripe plantains also contain a lot of potassium, as well as vitamin C, magnesium, iron, and vitamin B-6. The calories in unripe plantain is 116cal of 100g.
Are they any differences in the nutritional composition of unripe and ripe plantains?
Since we are focusing on the health benefits of Unripe plantains in this article, it is important to consider if there are any differences between unripe and ripe plantains.
One study found out that unripe plantains had less sugar content compared to ripe ones. They also have a lower glycemic load compared to ripe plantains. However, ripe plantains are easier to digest. Thus, if someone has digestive issues, they should eat ripe plantain.
Health Benefits of Unripe Plantains
The following are some of the important heath benefits of unripe plantains, based on it’s nutritional content and medical studies.
1. Aids in digestion
Unripe plantains are a great source of fiber which enhances the bowel movement. It helps to soften the stool for easy movement, thereby avoiding constipation. They also help you avoid digestive health problems. Although ripe plantains is easier to digest compared to unripe plantains.
2. Helps in weight loss
Unripe plantains have high carbohydrate content, and this might make many people assume that the high intake of carbohydrate will lead to weight gain
However, that may not be the case with plantains as they contain complex carbs and fibers which are easy to digest and keeps you full for a long time. Unripe plantains can serve as an effective healthy snack for weight loss.
3. Good source of vitamins
The nutrients present in unripe plantain such as vitamin A, B6, and C helps improves our vision, skin quality and helps fight against diseases.
4. Good source of essential minerals
Unripe plantains are very high in potassium, which is one of the essential minerals the body needs. The amount of potassium found in unripe plantains is vital for regulating the cell and body fluids that control your heart rate and blood pressure.
Plantain also contains essential minerals like iron and magnesium, which helps build strong bones, muscles and teeth. Unripe plantains are also rich in antioxidants.
5. Contains low sugar
Unlike ripe plantain, unripe plantain contains less sugar which can serve as a good meal for diabetic patients, especially when eaten with protein-rich foods like green vegetables. A study also boost claimed that unripe plantains has a very low glycemic index.
6. Improves heart function
The nutrients found in unripe plantain mostly potassium improves blood flow, thereby reducing the risk of heart diseases like hypertension and heart attack. They help keep the blood pressure level as a good rate. The fiber content also reduces cholesterol levels.
7. May prevent or heal ulcer.
Another potential health benefit of unripe plantains is that it may be used to prevent or even treat ulcer. One medical study on the anti-ulcerogenic activity of the unripe plantain found out that dried unripe plantain treated aspirin-induced ulceration in the rat. This could mean that unripe plantains are effective both as a prophylactic treatment and in healing ulcers. Ripe plantains did not treat the ulcer. The study further stated the reason might be because of their ability to stimulate the growth of gastric mucosa in the stomach.
Unripe plantain has a lot of benefits to the body. The health benefits of Unripe plantains include it’s ability to improve heart function, aid in weight management and possibly treat ulcer. You can add them to our meals or eaten as a snack. The good news is that it’s cheap and can be found in local markets, malls or anywhere near you.