USES AND ITS HEALTH BENEFITS
Plantain is a member of the banana family Musaceae, but they are much larger than their cousins. They are also firmer and less sweet than bananas. You can eat plantains raw or cooked, and you can even use plantain instead of potatoes in some recipes because they have a similar taste and texture.
We can eat plantain in many different ways. This article will cover the health benefits of plantain, how to cook it, and what you can do with the plantain peel.
Plantains are rich in:
- Antioxidants – these compounds help scavenge free radicals from our body cells and prevent or reduce the damage caused by oxidation. Oxidation causes cell tissue breakdown and DNA damage, leading to diseases such as cancers, diabetes, etc.
- Plantain is rich in mucilage – we can find mucilage in almost all plants. However, they all have in common a beneficial effect on burns, wounds, ulcers, external and internal inflammations and irritations, diarrhea, and dysentery.
- Iridoid glycoside – these compounds have good health benefits including but not limited to anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, cardioprotective, choleretic, hepatoprotective, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, neuroprotective, and purgative activities
- Tannins – these are a broad class of compounds that is present in most plants. Their properties are well remarkable, but not completely understood. Most of the tannins fight cavities, and diarrhea, and some even protect against heart diseases and cancer.
- Vitamins – they have a high content of vitamins A, C, and B6
- Minerals – they have a high content of potassium and magnesium
- Carbohydrate – the main source of energy for the human body
- Dietary fibers – this help normalize bowel movement which improves our stool formation by making the stool soft and of good sizes for easy excretion.
All these compounds found in plantain give it a mild anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antihemorrhagic, and expectorant action.
Using plantain in meals can :
- Improve digestion
- Enhance wound healing
- Lower inflammation
- we can use the powder of the peel in skin products e.g. removing stretch marks
- Rich source of carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and numerous beneficial compounds as described above
- Vitamin B6 and potassium content may help reduce cardiovascular disease. Potassium-rich foods help the body process out sodium and make our blood vessels relax
- Can improve your mood
- May help prevent colon cancer and constipation
- Can help lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.
- Due to the high content of vitamin C you can boost your immune system by eating plantain
- You can eat boiled or fried plantain with soups or stews
- As a side dish
- you can fry both the ripe and unripe as a chip snack
- You can make your gluten-free flour with plantain ; ideal for gluten intolerant people
- You can use the peels can beautification and medicinal products
How to make Gluten free flour from green plantain
- Major Tools Required: Food dehydrator and a spice grinder/blender. Sun, oven, or microwave drying are other methods you can use.
- Plantain – Ensure you thoroughly wash your plantain before using them( 70-75% moisture loss).
- Peel and slice – cut the ends off each plantain first and foremost. Make a thin lengthwise cut along the ridge of the plantain and yank off the skin with a knife or both thumbs. Now you can start slicing or shredding plantains in such a way as to increase the surface area for drying.
- The dehydrator – place the plantain pieces evenly on the dehydrator trays and spread them out. The dehydrator’s setpoint may vary and come with experience; we recommend 75°C-80°C for 12 hours. The product must be bone dry after this process.
- Grounding the plantain into flour – Ground the pieces using a spice grinder/blender. Pour the resulting flour into a good receptacle and store it.
Some uses of Plantain flour
· Gather peels of unripe plantain
· Cut it into pieces and dry with any of the drying methods given above
· Grind to powder and store in appropriate
You can mix this powder with Shea butter for treatment of various skin conditions such as stretch marks, acne, etc.