Plantains are a nutritious food item with many potential health benefits, such as being a source of vitamins, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
They are a good source of fiber
Fiber is an essential part of the diet and helps regulate a person’s bowel movements.
Fiber also appears to reduce the risk of developing various conditions, including:
- heart disease
- diverticular disease
The recommended DV for fiber is 28 gTrusted Source. Including 1 cup of baked plantain as part of a meal can contribute just over 3 g toward this target.
People can maintain their fiber intake by including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in their daily diet.
They are rich in antioxidants
According to one 2020 studyTrusted Source, plantains naturally contain beneficial plant compounds, including polyphenols and flavonoids.
These compounds act as antioxidants and help fight free radicals. Free radicals cause oxidative stress and damage in the body.
Also, a 2015 studyTrusted Source suggests that replacing 10% of wheat flour with plantain flour increased the antioxidants and fiber in baked cookies.
They help support the immune system
Plantains are a good source of vitamin C, and including them as part of a varied diet can help support the immune system.
However, heat and light can destroy vitamin C. So, when cooking plantains, use as little non-boiling water as possible and only cook them for a short period of time.
Plantains also contain vitamin A. According to one 2018 studyTrusted Source, vitamin A is anti-inflammatory and helps regulate immune function.
They contain potassium, which may lower blood pressure
Potassium is essential for the normal functioning of the heart, nerves, and muscles. It helps metabolize carbs and synthesize protein.
Eating a potassium-rich diet may help regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of stroke.
Getting enough potassium in the diet helps balance sodium, which can increase blood pressure. Some people may experience high blood pressure when following a diet high in sodium.
Plantains are a good source of potassium. Including them in the diet may help regulate the body’s sodium and potassium balance.
Having overweight also increases the risk of high blood pressure, which, along with insulin resistance, forms the condition metabolic syndrome.
A 2020 studyTrusted Source in rats suggests that plantain extracts helped regulate hormones associated with obesity and showed antidiabetic effects. However, further studies are necessary to confirm that these benefits also apply to humans.
They contain vitamin B6, which is good for a healthy heart and mind
Vitamin B6 performs a wide variety of functions in the body. It is essential for the metabolism of macronutrients, healthy red blood cells, and neurotransmitters.
Eating 1 cup of plantain contributes 17% toward a person’s vitamin B6 requirement.
According to the Office of Dietary SupplementsTrusted Source, vitamin B6 may have the following health benefits:
It may reduce cardiovascular risk by lowering homocysteine.
It may support brain health and reduce cognitive decline.
It may reduce the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome.
It may help reduce the symptoms of morning sickness in pregnancy.
A 2019 study Trusted Source suggests that older Puerto Rican adults with suboptimal vitamin B6 levels had more symptoms of depression.