Still on dieting, we shall be looking at a Nigerian cuisine, the popular fried plantain and beans porridge. Many people in this part of the world love to include this food in their diet, most especially because of its savour and how it always make them to feel full. Another factor that encourages this great Nigerian cuisine is because of the availability of plantain in almost all season of the year. This cuisine is also practiced by most African country, especially the western part of the continent.
In this page, we are going to be highlighting some nutritional benefits we can derive when we include this foods in our diet. Apart from the beans and plantain itself being the major component of the cuisine, there are also other ingredients that are been included, which each of them have their various nutritional and health benefits they give to us. Such ingredients include salt, pepper, groundnut oil, red palm oil etc.
Though all these other ingredients are included, we shall only be highlighting the benefits of plantain and beans alone. I know many will be glad if they can have the recipe to prepare this meal. The sad note is that this is not a food blog, so i will encourage as many that have an interest in this Nigerian cuisine to search on the web for a Nigerian food blog for a full recipe and guide on how to prepare it.
We all know how important it is for us to checkmate the kind of foods we include in our diet, to remove the unhealthy ones and always consume the healthy ones. Based on their nutritional facts, let us see how plantain and beans adds value, or benefits our health.
Plantain's nutritional facts
Plantains are closely related to another super food "banana", they are one staple sources of carbohydrates in larger populations of the world today. Just like bananas, plantain too belong to the family, Musaceae, and their botanical name is Musa spp.
Some people like eating the plantain when it is unripe, however, ripening enhances its flavour and sweetness since much of its starch have been converted to sugars. Plantain have coarser external features with prominent edges and flat surfaces. The flesh inside the plantain is highly rich in starch. In Summary, plantain is one major source of carbohydrate.
Health benefits of plantain
1. Since it contains much calories and starch, plantain serves as a very reliable source of energy and starch, ensuring food security for millions of populations in the world.
2. It contains about 2.3g of dietary fibre per 100g. Adequate amount of fibre in our diet supports normal bowel movements, thereby eradicating the problems of constipation.
3. Fresh plantains contain a high amount of vitamin C compared to bananas. Consuming foods rich that are rich in vitamin C helps the body system to develop resistance against infectious pathogens and also fights against harmful oxygen-free radicals. However, it is unfortunate to know that much of the vitamins in plantain are destroyed during the process of boiling and cooking.
4. Plantain also contain high level of vitamin A compared to banana. Apart from being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin A plays a major role in the visual cycle, enhances our skin complexion and also maintains healthy mucus membranes.
5. Just like bananas, plantain is also a rich source of vitamin B-complex, particularly, vitamin B-6 (pyroxidne). Pyroxidine is an important vitamin B-complex that is beneficial in the treatment of anaemia, neuritis, and to decrease homocystine (which is one of the causative agent of coronary heart disease and stroke episodes) levels in the body. Plantain additionally contains moderate levels of niacin, folates, thiamin and riboflavin.
6. Plantain also provide adequate levels of important minerals such as magnesium, iron, and phosphorus. Magnesium is essential for the bone's strength and it also have a cardiac protective role as well.
7. Fresh plantain is highly rich in potassium. 100g of this fruit provides 499mg of potassium. Potassium is an important component of the cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure, fighting against the negative effect of sodium in the body system.
Nutritional facts about beans
Beans is one super healthy, versatile and affordable food. They are rich in antioxidants, protein, fibre, iron, vitamin B-complex, magnesium, copper, potassium and zinc. Regular consumption of beans may decrease the risk of acquiring diabetes, colorectal cancer, heart disease, and it can also assist in weight management. Beans always makes us feel full, thereby increasing the tendency of eating less.
As we age, we need fewer calories in our system and beans is great meal to boost the nutrition power of your meal without boosting the calories. Half cup of beans has only about 100 calories.
Health benefits of beans
Beans offer a whole lot of health benefits, let us look at some of them.
1. They are heart healthy
Beans contain a lot of soluble fibres which are capable of lowering cholesterol and triglyceride levels. This attributes makes them to be "heart healthy".
Read also: Ways of taking proper care of the heart
2. They are low in fat
Most beans contain about 2 to 3% fat, with no amount of cholesterol, unless they are prepared with other ingredients that contains high amount of fat and cholesterol. Less quantity of fat is also healthy for the body.
3. They are rich in protein
Beans have a low glycemic index, and it contains a nice blend of complex carbohydrate and protein. Because of this blend, beans are been digested slowly when consumed, which helps in maintaining the stability of the blood glucose.
4. They decrease the risk of cancer
Researchers recommends that adults include 3 cups of beans in their diet every week, this is to promote and reduce the risk of chronic diseases, just like cancers. This reduction of cancer risk is due to the abundance of fibre and antioxidants found in beans.
5. Beans keeps you satisfied
Because of the slow metabolic process that beans passes through, they can aid in weight reduction by keeping us feeling full without having an excess of calories.
6. They prevent constipation
Because of their high quantity of dietary fibres, beans can promote regularity by preventing constipation.
7. They balance blood sugar
Having a low glycemic index, beans contain a beautiful blend of complex carbohydrates and proteins. As a result of this, they are been digested slowly, which helps in keeping the blood sugar level stable.
In summary, fried plantain and beans porridge is not just a wonder meal that should be included in our regular diet, they contributes a lot to our health also. I will encourage as many, to be part of the savoury experience of this wonderful Nigerian cuisine.