Plantains look similar to bananas, but they are vegetables instead of fruits and should be cooked to eat them. Manny Alvarez says in his book, “The Hot Latin Diet: The Fast-Track to a Bombshell Body,” that plantains are nutritious and offer several health benefits in addition to their delicious flavor. Add plantains to stews or soups in place of potatoes to get the advantages they offer.
One plantain supplies several grams of fiber to your diet, Victor Preedy, Ronald Watson and Vinood Patel say in their book, “Flour and Breads and Their Fortification in Health and Disease Prevention.” Fiber is an important nutrient because it helps decrease your chances of suffering from heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers, such as colon cancer. Fiber also helps prevent constipation by keeping your intestinal tract working the way it should.
Plantains are also a source of beta-carotene, which the Mayo Clinic says you need to produce sufficient amounts of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for eye health as well as normal growth. A diet lacking in vitamin A can result in difficulty seeing in the dark, dry eyes, eye infection and unhealthy skin. Adding cooked plantains to your diet is one way to increase your intake of this important vitamin.