Learn the myriad of benefits of ripe plantain for babies and why you must include the cookable fruit in your baby’s diet! Keep reading to learn more.
Plantain is a tropical fruit that is a staple food crop in Central and West Africa. They are popular in Asian, Spanish, Caribbean, and African cuisines. It is green when unripe and then turns dark brown or black as it ripens. Plantains and bananas belong to the same family of plants, but they have distinctive tastes and are prepared and consumed differently. Plantains are bigger than bananas and have thicker skin. They cannot be eaten raw as they are neither sweet nor soft.
The fruit is subjected to different ways of cooking depending on its stage of ripeness. The green plantains are used as vegetables in savory dishes. When plantains ripen, they become black and turn softer and sweeter as their starch turns into sugars. They are relatively inexpensive and available around the year. They make an excellent first solid food for your baby when s/he is around 6-8 months old.
The nutritional profile of ripe plantain:
Ripe plantain is well known and widely accepted for its various nutritional benefits. These nutritional properties make it a good addition to a baby’s diet. One medium-sized ripe plantain yields
- 218 calories,
- 0.66g of fat.
- 7 mg of sodium
- 57.08 g Carbohydrates
- 4.1 g Dietary fiber
- 26.85 g Sugars
- 2.33 g protein
- Vitamins A, B6, and C
- Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium.
Benefits of Ripe Plantain for Babies
Plantain is not only good for digestion and bowel health but also has a variety of other advantages pertaining to different organs and systems of the body. The variety of health benefits are:
It is easily digestible and tastes good on their own as they are sweeter when you cook it. The high fiber content in plantains regularizes bowel movements and prevents constipation.
2. Immunity Booster
The vitamins present in plantains help in boosting the immunity, aids healthy vision, and maintains the proper functioning of the brain. It also lowers the cholesterol level and the iron content helps in preventing anemia.
3. Body Functioning
Potassium in plantains protects the heart, nerves, and muscles. It helps regulate blood pressure. It provides the required amount of protein needed for your baby’s healthy growth and development.
4. Prevention Qualities
Plantains have both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and protect your little one from diseases. It even helps in preventing peptic ulcers.
5. Other Benefits
The fiber and complex carbohydrate content gives a feeling of satiety and also keeps your baby feeling full longer. It helps your baby gain weight. Additionally, magnesium and vitamin B6 content supports brain health and uplifts mood.
Babies require specialized recipes to help them consume various foods. Likewise, for plantain, the correct recipes for your babies are elaborated below:
- Cut ripe plantain into thick slices and steam them for a few minutes. Once they become tender, cool and peel them, remove the core with the seeds and then puree till smooth with some milk. Feed this to your baby without adding any extra sugar.
- For toddlers, cut into roundels and bake with a little seasoning, and serve as finger food.
- Chop half a plantain into pieces and boil them in water in a saucepan. Add one chopped carrot once the plantain is done and boil for one minute more. Cool a bit and puree in a blender by adding a little of the boiled water. Add a few teaspoons of milk and feed it to your baby.
- You can cut off the ends of ripe plantain, cut it into two, and microwave it for a few minutes until the pulp gets cooked. Then, peel and remove the central part containing the black seeds, and mash it to feed your baby.
- Take one tablespoon of boiled rice and 1/2 a cup of steamed ripe plantain. Purée them together till smooth.
Side effects and precautions:
Similar to any food, one must follow some precautions because of some possible side effects that may result due to consumption.
- Consult your doctor before you introduce plantains into your baby’s diet.
- It may cause allergic reactions in some babies. Symptoms include hives, swelling, itching in the mouth and throat, and also wheezing.
- As they are high in carbohydrates. Therefore, excess consumption will lead to increased blood sugar levels.
- They may cause gas and bloating if consumed in excess.
- They cause weight gain.
- Frying ripe plantains make them fat-rich and unhealthy.