Health benefits of bamboo shoots include healthy weight loss, control of bad cholesterol, strengthening of immune system, possible cancer fighting properties and anti-inflammatory properties. It is heart friendly, contains protein, sufficient vitamins and minerals supply and negligible amount of fat. It also contains dietary fiber.
What are Bamboo Shoots?
Bamboo shoots are the sprouts which sprung out beside the bamboo plant. These sprouts or shoots are edible. They belong to the Bambusoideae subfamily of grass. They are the largest and tallest in the grass family. Bamboo is also known to be one of the fastest growing plants. The fastest growing species of bamboo is Chinese Moso. It reportedly grows up to 100 cm per day.
Some of the bamboo species whose sprouts are harvested include phyllostachys edulis, winter shoots, ‘hairy’ shoots, phyllostachys bambusoides, dendrocalamus latiflorus, bambusa vulgaris, bambusa oldhamii, and bambusa odashimae.
Every part of the bamboo plant is put to use by Asians and by ethnic groups. Bamboo is used for various other purposes ranging from construction, support for buildings, simple housing, bamboo furniture, musical instruments such as flute, dizi, xiao, shakuhachi, and in paper production. Thus, bamboo is one of the highest utilized plants.
Apart from these many uses, bamboos are also consumed in many Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal and India. One can find evidence in old Chinese literature dating back to Tang dynasty (618 AD- 907 AD), about the benefits of eating bamboo shoots. This was perhaps the first written record about bamboo shoots in human history. Another important scripture dating back to Ming dynasty (1368 AD to 1644 AD) also mentioned about medicinal and other benefits of bamboo shoots. In Japan, bamboos are considered as the “King of forest vegetable”. There are many number of bamboo species which sprout shoots, but only a handful of them are actually cultivated and consumed.
Bamboo shoots are available in fresh or canned versions. Fresh bamboo shoots can last for up to two week when they are properly refrigerated and away from sunlight or else, the shoots will develop bitter taste. On the other hand, even canned versions can be stored for some time. It is recommended to cook them as quickly as possible. But, before cooking fresh bamboo shoots, it is highly recommended to boil them partially or soak them in water overnight, as some species may contain cyanide.
Nutrition Facts about Bamboo Shoots
Low calories content: A 100 g serving of bamboo shoots contains only 20 calories. Also the carbohydrates found in bamboo shoots are not more than 3 g to 4 g per 100 g serving.
Low sugar content: The amount of sugar found in bamboo shoots is about 2.5 g per 100 g of serving. This is less than the amount of sugar found in many fruits and vegetables
Negligible amount of fat: A serving of 100 g of bamboo shoots contains not more than 0.49 g of fat. This fat contains both saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are needed by the body and they can control the spread of bad LDL cholesterol in the body.
Source of protein: A 100 g serving of bamboo shoots would have about 2 to 2.5 g of protein. The protein found in bamboo contains seventeen amino acids essential amino acids and two semi essential amino acids.
Vitamins and minerals in bamboo shoots: Bamboo shoots contain vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin B6, Vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. Minerals found in bamboo shoots include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and iron.
High in dietary fiber: Bamboo shoots are high in dietary fiber. The amount of dietary fiber contained in bamboo shoots make up to 6 g to 8 g out of a serving of about 100 g of serving.
Appetizing effects: Bamboo shoots contain high cellulosic material which stimulates appetite. The taste and texture of the bamboo shoots also makes them a good appetizer.
Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots are an exotic food that is consumed in many countries in Asia and now it is slowly picking up demand in the western countries. Bamboo shoots are known for their various health benefits, some of which include:
Helps in losing weight: Bamboo shoots are weight loss friendly. When we look at the amount of calories, carbohydrates and sugars contained in bamboo shoots, we would be amazed that their presence is almost negligible. This makes it an ideal food for those people who want to lose weight, but also who want their stomachs to be full.
Heart friendly: According to research phytosterols and phytonutrients found in bamboo shoots are ideal for dissolving harmful LDL cholesterol in the body. Thus easing out arteries for smooth supply of blood throughout the body.
Fights cancer: Research studies conducted on bamboos have indicated that leaves of bamboos consist of Phytosterols such as flavone, amylase and chlorophyll. Out of these, chlorophyll showed properties of controlling mutations and cancer.
Strengthening immune system: The vitamins and minerals in bamboo shoots are ideal for improving immune system. The vitamins minerals and antioxidants present in bamboo shoots are essential in strengthening the body from the inside.
High supply of dietary fiber: The amount of dietary fiber in bamboo shoots is high. Consuming sufficient dietary fiber is essential for easy digestion and free bowel movement. Including bamboo shoots in dinner can be a very good idea to lose weight. With lack of any physical activity during night time, taking food with less calories and high fibre helps lose weight easily.
Anti-inflammatory properties: According to research conducted by Muniappan and Sundararaj, bamboo shoots possess anti-inflammatory, and analgesic or pain-killing properties. It helps in healing of ulcers as well. Juice of bamboo shoots can also be used as a medicine for external wounds and ulcers.
Respiratory disorders: Bamboo shoots have been known to be effective against respiratory disorders. A decoction of the shoots can be prepared by boiling the shoots twice. The first boil for 5 minutes followed by second boil for about 10 minutes. The decoction can be taken along with honey.
Possible cure for poisoning: In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian science of medicine and life style, it is believed thatbamboo extracts contain anti-venomous properties. They are useful in cases of both snake and scorpion bites.
Uterotonic properties: Traditional Chinese medicine believes that bamboo shoots can cause uterine contractions. It is used as a medicine during the last month of pregnancy when the delivery date is still pending. According to research paper submitted by Gruber and O’Brien at the University of Vienna, bamboo is one of the many plants which have been listed among uterotonic plants.
Stomach disorders: Bamboo shoots are useful in treating stomach disorders Apart from bamboo shoots, bamboo leaves are also suggested as a remedy for intestinal worms and stomach disorders as well.
Wound cleaning: Bamboo shoots are also used for cleaning wounds and sores.
Lower blood pressure: Bamboo shoots contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium is highly beneficial as an electrolyte and it is also very good for lowering and maintaining blood pressure.
With these benefits from bamboo shoots, it is highly recommended for a healthy lifestyle.
Few serving ideas- Bamboo Shoots
Bamboo shoots can be boiled and then used for making various dishes. Boiled shoots can be served with butter and soya sauce as a vegetable accompaniment.
Bamboo shoots can be added to soups, stews, salads and gravies.
Pickles made from bamboo shoots are available and can be consumed.
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