The plantain is a variety of banana popular in Latin American cuisine. Plantains are much larger than regular bananas and have firm, mild-flavored flesh. Plantains are often prepared like potatoes, however the most popular way to enjoy plantains is fried. A serving of fried plantains is 1 cup, which has 365 calories. Plantains are available year-round at most supermarkets or health food stores.
Carbohydrates: Plantains are a good source of carbohydrates, the main source of energy for your body. A 1 cup serving of fried plantains has 58 grams of total carbohydrates, 48 grams of starch, 4.3 grams of sugars and 4.1 grams of fiber. Adults should consume between 40 to 60 percent of their daily calories from carbohydrates and get 25 grams to 38 grams of fiber daily.
Fats: Fried plantains are very high in fat. A 1 cup serving of fried plantains provides 14 grams of total fats, 4.4 grams of saturated fats, 5.1 grams of monounsaturated fats and 3.2 grams of polyunsaturated fats. Mono and polyunsaturated fats are “good” fats and may reduce the risk of heart disease. Saturated fats should be limited in the diet because they increase the risk of heart disease. Adults should consume between 20 and 35 percent of their daily calories from fats.
Vitamin A: Fried plantains are an excellent source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin necessary for proper vision, immune system function, red blood cell production and regulation of gene expression. A 1-cup serving of fried plantains has 1,407 International units of vitamin A. Men need 3,000 International units of vitamin A daily and women need 2,333 International units, as recommended by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine.
Potassium: Fried plantains are a good source of potassium. Potassium is a mineral essential for fluid balance and heart function. A 1 cup serving of fried plantains provides 569 milligrams of potassium. Adults need 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily, as recommended by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine. Potassium is also necessary for skeletal and smooth muscle contraction.
Magnesium: Fried plantains are a very good source of magnesium. Your body needs magnesium for the function of enzymes involved in energy metabolism, as well as for cell membrane and chromosome structure. A 1-cup serving of fried plantains provides 68 milligrams of magnesium. Women need 320 milligrams of magnesium daily and men need 420 milligrams, as recommended by the National Academies’ Institute of Medicine.
Vitamin B-6: Another vitamin found in fried plantains is vitamin B-6. Vitamin B-6 is important for nervous system function, red blood cell synthesis, hormone function and nucleic acid synthesis. A 1 cup serving of fried plantains provides 0.312 milligrams of vitamin B-6. The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine recommends adults consume 1.3 milligrams of vitamin B-6 daily.
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