Is It Safe To Eat Plantain During Pregnancy?

✔ Research-backed

Plantains, the raw green bananas, are cooked and consumed as a staple food in many parts of the world. However, many women might be unsure of the safety of plantain during pregnancy.

Plantains are nutrient-dense foods containing good amounts of starch, fiber, minerals, and other nutrients. Eating them during pregnancy does not harm you or your baby. You will receive the essential nutrients necessary for a healthy pregnancy. However, you should avoid consuming excess plantain. Moreover, you should be cautious of the varieties of plantains as some may be neurotoxiciA property of a substance that is capable of harming the brain or the nervous system .

Read the post to know how safe it is to eat plantains in pregnancy, which varieties you should avoid, and the health benefits of this vegetable.

In This Article

What Is Plantain?

Plantains belong to the family of bananas

Image: Shutterstock

Plantains, also popular as vegetable banana, are green counterparts of nutritious ripe yellow bananas. Even though plantains belong to the family of bananas, they differ from bananas, and you need to cook them before eating. In several tropical regions including the Caribbean, you will find that people consider plantains as a staple food and rich source of starch. The delicious vegetable banana is rich in many nutrients, so it offers you many health benefits while you are expecting (1).

Is It Safe To Eat Plantain During Pregnancy?

Yes, you can enjoy eating plantains while you are expecting. In fact, several pregnant women eat plantain as a staple during pregnancy. Plantain is a great source of dietary fiber, which is highly beneficial to prevent digestion and constipation problems during this delicate phase. Also, it offers you good amounts of vital prenatal vitamins, energy, proteins, folic acid, minerals, tissue-building elements, and minerals that help you enjoy a healthy pregnancy. Make sure you do not eat an excess of plantain while you are expecting. Also, avoid certain forms of plantains which are nightshades, as they contain a neurotoxin that can affect your pregnancy or maternal health adversely.

Mya Bellinger, a qualified Medical practitioner, specializing in internal medicine, immunologyiA branch of science that focuses on studying various aspects of the immune system , and gynecology, states, “Overeating plantain might not be good as it may cause low blood pressure and diarrhea.”

“Unripe plantains are also not good for pregnancy because they contain latex that may cause uterine contractions, leading to a miscarriageiAn unexpected loss of a woman’s pregnancy before 20 weeks of gestation ,” warns Dr. Bellinger.

protip_icon Trivia
Ripe plantain is a forbidden food during pregnancy in some cultures, as it is believed to result in soft, lethargic babies, causing prolonged labor (2).

Health Benefits Of Eating Plantain During Pregnancy

High nutritional content in plantains provides you lots of health benefits while expecting. Health benefits include:

1. A Rich Source Of Starch:

Plantains help pregnant women feel energetic

Image: Shutterstock

Plantains are an extremely reliable source of starch that provides your sufficient energy that you need during pregnancy.

2. Treats Constipation Problems:

Plantains contain high amounts of dietary fiber which promotes smooth bowel movements and reduces the risk of constipation troubles substantially while you are expecting. Adding fiber-rich foods like plantains to your diet during pregnancy provides you a great relief from digestive and constipation problems.

3. Immunity Booster:

High vitamin C content and vitamin A content help enhance your immunity against several harmful infections and free radical activity during pregnancy. Vitamin A acts as a strong antioxidantiNatural or synthetic substances that help protect cells from oxidative stress or damage , neutralizes free radicals, and prevents healthy cell damage while you are expecting.

4. Promotes Eye And Skin Health:

High ‘vitamin A’ content in plantains is highly beneficial for your eye health and vision during pregnancy. Also, vitamin A aids in improving your skin complexion while you are expecting.

5. Acts As Diuretic:

Plantain acts as a diuretic, so it helps promote smooth urinary functions. Also, the vegetable banana prevents the risk of kidney and bladder problems during pregnancy.

6. A Rich Of B-Complex Vitamins:

Plantain is an excellent source of B-complex vitamins, especially vitamin B6 or pyridoxine. So, adequate consumption of plantain helps you treat anemiaiA medical condition characterized by low levels of red blood cells or hemoglobin in one’s body , neuritis, and homocysteineiA naturally present amino acid that, when consumed in excess, may increase one’s risk of developing heart problems effectively during pregnancy.

protip_icon Nutrition fact
100g of baked plantain contains 45µg of vitamin A and 16.4mg of vitamin C, which can contribute to your increased nutritional needs (3).

7. Ensures Healthy Pregnancy:

Plantains help one maintain a healthy pregnancy

Image: Shutterstock

Plantains also contain micronutrients such as folate, thiamin, niacin, and riboflavin. Ample quantities of folate in your body ensures a healthy pregnancy and reduces the risks of preterm birth.

8. Strengthens Bones:

Plantains contain good amounts of minerals, such as magnesium, phosphorus, iron, and calcium. So, consumption of the unripe plantain in pregnancy helps you have strong bones and ensures good growth and development of your fetus. It also helps prevent anemia by facilitating ample iron intake while pregnant.

9. Promotes Heart Health:

High potassium content in plantains helps promote heart health and ensures you have healthy cells during pregnancy. Potassium regulates your blood pressure levels and heart rate and combat negative sodium effects significantly.

Healthy Plantain Recipes For Pregnant Women

Here are some nutritious plantain recipes you may try. These recipes are easy to prepare and contain several healthy ingredients that can contribute to your nutritional needs.

1. Baked plantain chips

Baked plantain chips

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 2 plantains (peeled and thinly sliced)
  • 1tbsp oil
  • Light cheddar or mozzarella cheese (optional)

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F (120°C).
  2. Lightly brush a large baking sheet with oil.
  3. Place plantain slices on the baking sheet and bake for five minutes. Once done, flip and bake for another five minutes until golden brown.
  4. Transfer the chips to a plate and sprinkle over some cheese.
  5. Serve warm with fresh homemade guacamole and lemonade or smoothie to make the meal healthier and tastier.

2. Plantain pancake 

Plantain pancake 

Image: Shutterstock

You Will Need:

  • 3 whole eggs
  • Half of a plantain (100g after being peeled)
  • 1tbsp honey
  • 1tbsp dried fruits (finely chopped)
  • 1tbsp nuts (finely chopped)

How to make:

  1. Heat the skillet over medium heat.
  2. Blend the plantain into a smooth, lump-free paste.
  3. Add eggs to the plantain paste and blend until smooth.
  4. Spoon the batter into a small circle on a nonstick pan.
  5. Cook until slightly golden-brown, then flip. Continue until all the pancake batter is cooked.
  6. Serve warm with a cup of hot milk or smoothie to enjoy a heartful, nutritious meal.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Can I eat fried plantain during pregnancy?

Currently, no research says a pregnant woman cannot consume fry plantains. These offer a lot of energy as they contain folates, riboflavin, niacin, and thiamin. Folates or folic acid are vital for a healthy pregnancy. So, eating plantains as fried, mashed, or boiled is safe.

2. Can I consume black plantains during pregnancy?

When plantains become ripe, they turn black. They are soft and sweet. So, pregnant women can have black plantains.

3. Can eating plantains during pregnancy lead to weight gain?

Plantains’ fiber content can create a feeling of fullness and result in consuming fewer calories, potentially helping to reduce weight gain. Thus, plantain diets may play a role in controlling excess weight gain during pregnancy (4).

Eating vegetable bananas, also known as plantain, during pregnancy is considered completely safe. Because of its nutrient-dense features that support a healthy pregnancy and richness in dietary fibers that are particularly advantageous to preventing digestion and constipation, several pregnant women take plantain as a staple during pregnancy. It also acts as a diuretic, boosts immunity, treats anemia, neuritis, and homocysteine, and helps maintain heart health, among other things. However, consume plantains in moderation and be aware of the different types, as some may be neurotoxic.

Infographic: Advantages Of Eating Plantain During Pregnancy

Plantains are a starchy fruit closely related to bananas and are a staple food in many cultures worldwide. Eating it is healthy during pregnancy because of its high nutrient content, but it should be taken in moderation. Check out the infographic below to discover the health benefits of eating plantains during pregnancy.

benefits of plantain for pregnant women (infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team

Key Pointers

  • Plantains are raw green bananas commonly eaten worldwide.
  • They are healthy during pregnancy and contain essential nutrients like energy, fiber, protein, folic acid, minerals, vitamins, and tissue-building elements.
  • Plantains are rich in thiamin, folates, niacin, and riboflavin, ensuring a healthy pregnancy.
  • Plantains are high in starch and provide energy during pregnancy.
  • They should be consumed in moderation, and different types should be identified as some may be neurotoxic.
Plantain During Pregnancy_illustration

Image: Stable Diffusion/MomJunction Design Team

References

MomJunction's articles are written after analyzing the research works of expert authors and institutions. Our references consist of resources established by authorities in their respective fields. You can learn more about the authenticity of the information we present in our editorial policy.
  1. Plantains.
    https://www.maine.gov/dacf/php/gotpests/weeds/factsheets/plantain-cal.pdf
  2. Patience Otoo et al.; (2015); Food Prohibitions and Other Traditional Practices in Pregnancy: A Qualitative Study in Western Region of Ghana.
    https://www.scirp.org/html/1-1280037_58437.htm
  3. Plantains, yellow, baked.
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169131/nutrients
  4. Doglikuu, Be-Ikuu Dominic et al.; (2021); The potential role of plantains, moringa, plantain-moringa combined diets, and other plant-based dietary patterns in controlling glycaemia among T2DM persons, a hospital based cross sectional survey in Ghana.
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8630314/
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Dr. Richa Hatila is a practicing gynecologist in Varanasi, with 14 years of experience. She did her MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, DNB, and a Fellowship in Laparoscopic surgeries (FMAS). She is currently associated with Shubham Hospital and Sah Speciality Clinic in Varanasi.

Read full bio of Dr. Richa Hatila Singh