For Unripe Plantain, its botanical name is Musa paradaisica. It is a popular food in Nigeria and can be prepared like that or turned into flour. Unripe plantains are part of the staple diet in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Unripe Plantain: Nutrition, Health Benefits, Recipes, and Side effects
The unripe plantain is loaded with various body benefitting nutrients which include fibre, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, folate, vitamin A, iron, and vitamin B complex. It is also rich in alkaloids and inulin.
Plantains provide a huge amount of carbohydrates. A cup of boiled unripe plantain has 40gm of carbohydrates, with almost 4gm of fibre and 3gm of sugar. Plantains are high in resistant starch, which gives them a low glycemic index. Plantains are naturally low in fat but easily absorb the fat they are cooked in.
They are also low in protein and a medium-sized plantain only contains less than 2gm of protein.
One cup of boiled green plantains contains 166 calories, 96% of which come from carbs, 3% come from protein, and 1% come from fat.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), 1 large raw, green plantain (267 grams) will give you:
Energy: 406 Kcal
Water: 163 grams
Fats: 0.2 g
Protein: 3 g
Carbohydrates: 98 g
Dietary fibre: 6 g
Sugars: 6 g
Potassium: 1150 mg
Magnesium: 109 mg
Phosphorus: 82 mg
Iron: 2 mg
Sodium: 5 mg
Vitamin C: 54 mg
Folate: 74 micrograms
Unripe plantain’s fibre content reduces as it ripens while the sugar content increases.
Unripe Plantain Flour
Unripe plantain flour is a product of dry crushed slices. Plantain flour is lower in calories than regular all-purpose flour. Plantain flour is also low in fat which makes it ideal for people with cholesterol-related diseases like obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
The health benefits of unripe plantain are many. They go as follows:
Unripe plantain is rich in antioxidants, such as flavonoids and polyphenols. These antioxidants destroy free and harmful radicals in the body. In this way, they prevent diseases like cancer, arthritis, hypertension and diabetes.
Unripe plantain is rich in resistant starch which has a low glycemic index of 45. This resistant starch does not get digested and do not get turned into sugar as they pass through the intestines. Rather, they proceed to the large intestine where they undergo fermentation. Check out other foods that lower blood sugar levels.
They are not turning into sugar helps keep the sugar level of diabetics down. This makes it a perfect food for diabetics. Moreover, fermentation in the large intestine helps maintain glycemic control by producing good gut bacteria.
3. Blood Pressure
Plantain is rich in potassium, an important nutrient that helps control the Blood pressure. A large-sized plantain will give you about 44% of the daily requirement of potassium. Also, unripe plantain being a low sodium food makes it support a hypertension diet.
4. Pregnancy nutrition
Unripe plantain is a good source of carotenoids that converts to vitamin A. Unripe plantain is a critical source of carotenoids for people living in developing countries, particularly in Sub Saharan Africa. For pregnant women, unripe plantain increases their levels of vitamin A which is good to prevent preterm labour.
Plantain also contains iron and folate. Iron prevents anaemia, makes extra haemoglobin for mother and baby, and helps move oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body for both mother and child. Folate helps prevent birth defects of the baby’s brain and spine.
5. Prevents constipation
Another health benefit of unripe plantain is that it reduces and prevents constipation. it has both soluble and insoluble fibre that helps move food gradually through the gastrointestinal tract. This helps to ease bowel movement and digestion. Ensure you drink lots of water when you consume unripe plantain.
6. Weight loss
As unripe plantain contains a lot of fibre, it makes an individual full quickly while eating, which helps reduce the consumption of calories. So when you are trying to lose weight, eat lots of unripe plantains.
7. Prevents anaemia
Plantain is rich in iron, which helps with the production of haemoglobin, and helps transport oxygen throughout the body. Iron helps with many other physiological processes in the body and helps prevent iron deficiency anaemia.
8. Prevents and cures ulcers
An ulcer is a wound or sore on the wall of the stomach or intestine. It may be caused by excessive gastric acid corroding the wall of the stomach or intestine. Plantain is a perfect remedy for ulcer disease. It also prevents ulcers from happening to those who eat unripe plantain regularly.
9. Enhance sexual performance
Another benefit of unripe plantain is that it enhances sexual performance in men. It prevents erectile dysfunction, reduces sexual weakness and cures impotence. It also increases drive, increases sperm volume and thickens seminal fluid.
10. Herbal medicine
Unripe plantain is used as herbal medicine to promote healthy skin, treat kidney issues, treat urinary tract infections, heal wounds, reduce phlegm, treat sluggish bowels and treat dry coughs.
Unripe plantain is very multifaceted and can be used to prepare different foods. Here are some of the ways to prepare unripe plantain:
To boil, cut into chunks, add to boiling water, and boil till soft. Then remove the peel and add to stew, soup or as a side dish.
Roasted plantain is known as ‘booli’ in the Yoruba language. Peel and roast the plantain in an oven or over charcoal until slightly brown. Then, eat with palm oil, stew, soups, or beans.
Baked: Plantain can also be baked. You can eat it that way or mash and add to your pancake and other baked foods. They are gluten-free and great substitutes for other baking products.
Fried: To fry, peel their skins, cut into small slices, and deep-fry in oil. You can enjoy them as a snack or side dish. For a healthier substitute, you can cook sliced plantains in an air fryer.
Finely ground: Plantain can be grounded and used to make swallow foods. It can also be added to baked products.
As plantain is high in fibre and resistant to starch, it may be difficult for some people to digest. This may lead to gas, bloating and constipation.
Unripe plantain is a healthy food that is multifaceted in preparation. It provides several nutrients to the body and is also good for those that desire to lose weight.
Do not eat unripe plantain excessively and make sure you drink lots of water alongside it.