Is it healthy to eat raw plantain?

Eating raw plantains is generally considered safe and healthy in moderation. Plantains are a starchy fruit that are closely related to bananas. When raw, they have a neutral flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.

Is it safe to eat raw plantains?

Yes, raw plantains are safe to eat for most people. Plantains contain carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They do not contain any toxic compounds or antinutrients that need to be deactivated by cooking. People with digestive sensitivities may want to introduce raw plantains slowly.

Are there any health benefits to eating raw plantains?

Raw plantains provide several nutrients and potential health benefits. A 1 cup serving of raw plantain contains:

  • Fiber: 3.8 grams
  • Potassium: 595 mg
  • Vitamin C: 17% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin B6: 15% of the DV
  • Magnesium: 15% of the DV

The fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in raw plantains may help promote digestive health, heart health, immune function, and weight management.

What are the best ways to eat raw plantains?

Here are some delicious ways to enjoy raw plantains:

In salads

Thinly slice raw plantains and add them to green, grain, pasta, or fruit salads for a crunchy texture.

In smoothies

Add chunks of raw plantain to smoothies to thicken them and provide fiber.

As chips

Slice raw plantains very thinly, coat with oil, and bake or dehydrate into healthy plantain chips.

In salsas

Dice raw plantains and mix into fresh salsas and relishes for a touch of natural sweetness.

With dips

Serve slices or sticks of raw plantain with guacamole, nut butters, or other dips as an appetizer.

In chutneys

Combine diced raw plantain with spices, herbs, onions, etc to make chutney.

In desserts

Blend raw plantains into sweet smoothie bowls, ice creams, or fruit salads balanced with other fruits.

Are there any downsides to eating raw plantains?

There are a few potential downsides to consider:

  • Digestive issues in sensitive individuals due to high fiber and starch content
  • Raw plantains may be more difficult to digest than cooked
  • Lower nutrient bioavailability than cooked plantains
  • Higher glycemic index than green unripe plantains

Overall, raw plantains are safe and provide nutrition for most healthy people. Those with digestive sensitivities may want to start with small amounts.

How do raw and cooked plantains compare nutritionally?

Cooking plantains alters their nutritional profile. Here is a comparison of raw and cooked plantains:

Nutrient Raw Cooked
Calories 122 per cup 180 per cup
Carbs 31 grams per cup 46 grams per cup
Fiber 3.8 grams per cup 3.5 grams per cup
Potassium 595 mg per cup 499 mg per cup
Vitamin C 17% DV per cup 4% DV per cup

As shown, raw plantains are lower in calories and higher in vitamin C retention. Cooking increases the carbohydrates and calories as starch gelatinizes. The glycemic index is also lower in raw plantains compared to cooked.

Should you peel plantains before eating raw?

It’s recommended to peel off the thick skin before eating raw plantains. The skins can be tough to chew and slightly bitter. Peeling allows you to access the sweet, starchy flesh inside.

However, if blending raw plantains or cooking them immediately, you can leave the skins on for added fiber and nutrients. Just wash the skins thoroughly first.

Are there any health risks with eating raw plantains?

There are minimal health risks associated with eating raw plantains. Potential concerns may include:

  • Foodborne illness if preparation is unhygienic
  • Choking hazard from inadequate chewing of slices
  • Allergic reaction in those allergic to latex (cross-reactive proteins)
  • Gas and bloating from high fiber content

Practicing food safety, properly chewing slices, and monitoring individual tolerance can help minimize risks when eating raw plantains.

Who should avoid or limit raw plantain consumption?

These individuals should exercise caution with raw plantains:

  • People with latex allergies – plantains share similar proteins
  • Those with digestive disorders like IBS or diverticulitis
  • People with potassium restrictions or on blood thinners
  • Anyone with an allergy or sensitivity to plantains

It’s also wise to introduce raw plantains slowly to assess individual tolerance, especially for those new to high fiber foods.

What is the best way to store raw plantains?

To extend shelf life, store raw plantains in these optimal conditions:

  • Room temperature – keeps for up to 1 week
  • In a paper bag – prevents excess moisture
  • Away from direct sunlight – prevents overripening
  • Whole and unpeeled – prevents oxidation and drying

Once peeled or sliced, raw plantains should be eaten immediately or stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days maximum.

How can you tell if raw plantains have gone bad?

Signs that raw plantains have spoiled include:

  • Very dark, blackened peels
  • Wrinkled, mushy consistency
  • Fermented, sour odor
  • Liquid oozing from inside
  • Mold growth

Discard any raw plantains showing these signs of spoilage. Only consume raw plantains that look fresh.

Should raw plantains be rinsed before eating?

Yes, it’s important to rinse raw plantains under cool running water before preparing and eating. This removes any dirt or debris that may be present on the outer peel.

Gently scrub with a vegetable brush or your hands to ensure the creases and folds are cleaned. Pat dry with paper towels before slicing or chopping.

Can you eat very green, unripe plantains raw?

No, very green, unripe plantains are not suitable for eating raw. At this stage they are hard, starchy, and bland or bitter tasting. Unripe plantains have a higher resistant starch content that may cause digestive upset if consumed raw.

Allow green plantains to ripen to a yellow color with black spots before eating raw. The starches convert to sugars as they ripen, creating a sweeter flavor and softer texture when raw.

What is the best plantain variety for eating raw?

The French plantain and Horn plantain are two excellent varieties to use for raw plantain dishes and smoothies. These varieties become very soft and sweet when ripe.

Other great raw plantain varieties include:

  • Bluggoe
  • Dwarf Apple
  • FHIA-21
  • FHIA-17

Choose ripe plantains with mostly yellow or black peels for the best raw flavor and texture.

Can you substitute raw plantain for raw bananas?

Raw plantains make a suitable substitution for raw bananas in many recipes. Both have a firm, starchy texture when ripe. Keep a few differences in mind:

  • Plantains are lower in sugar than bananas
  • Plantains have a more neutral, less sweet flavor
  • Plantains hold their shape better when cooked
  • Adjust sugar and spices to account for plantains’ more savory flavor

Overall, raw plantains can be swapped for raw bananas at a 1:1 ratio in smoothies, desserts, and other dishes.

What are the most common raw plantain recipe ideas?

Some delicious recipe ideas that feature raw plantains include:

  • Plantain guacamole – dice and stir into guacamole for texture
  • Raw plantain salad – combine sliced raw plantain with mixed greens, vegetables, nuts, and citrus dressing
  • Plantain carrot cake smoothie – blend plantains, carrots, almond butter, cinnamon, almond milk, etc.
  • Raw plantain larb – thinly slice plantains and mix with herbs, spices, lime juice, and veggies for a take on the Thai dish
  • Plantain chips – thinly slice and dehydrate or bake raw plantain slices into healthy plantain chips

Raw plantains pair well with spices like cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg in sweet dishes. For savory recipes, complement them with garlic, onions, chiles, citrus, and fresh herbs.


Raw plantains can be a nutritious addition to a healthy diet for most people when consumed in moderation. Their mild flavor allows them to be adaptable in both sweet and savory recipes. Raw plantains provide fiber, minerals, and antioxidants. However, they may need to be introduced slowly to those sensitive to high fiber foods. Overall, incorporating raw plantains into a balanced diet can provide a range of health benefits.

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