Bamboo shoots are the new growing shoots from the base and are tender in nature and used for food and medicinal purposes in various cultures. Some countries considered eating bamboo shoot like a traditional delicacy and just like any other food item bamboo shoots have a set of health benefits like they contain low fat and cholesterol and high in dietary fiber and carbohydrate.
Bamboo is large woody grass scientifically known as Bambuseae and belongs to the family Poaceae. Wide conditions are suitable for the growth of bamboo plants. The adapting capacity of bamboo is very wide and can survive under a huge range of soil conditions and temperature and water availability. The bamboo plant is also used for a wide range of human activities like these plants can be used for making furniture, for fencing, pulp, paper, flooring, roofing, as a medicinal plant, in some parts of the world young shoots of this plants, are eaten in the form of vegetable and soups.
Today with the change in climate and increase concern regarding healthy food and health care, the bamboo shoots may be considered as one of the new food introduced in a day to day life. Bamboo plants are basically grass family can grow easily and required very little care.
Main components responsible for Bamboo shoots health benefits
Bamboo shoots are high in dietary fiber content around 1.5 g per 100 g of bamboo shoots(1). Again this number may vary depending upon the type of bamboo species. Dietary fiber is very essential for a healthy living. These fibers in the diet help in controlling the blood sugar level thus keep a check on the diabetes level.
2. Plant protein
Tender bamboo shoots contain nearly about 2.1 g of plant protein per 100g of the shoots (1). The protein we all know is the main building block there is very essential for the normal and healthy growth of the body. Plant protein is important for strong bone and is also one of the best alternatives for the vegetarian.
3. Carbohydrate content
Depending upon the species of Bamboo the carbohydrate content varies between 3 to 5 g per 100 grams of the shoots. Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for the body. It helps in protecting against many harmful diseases related to cardiovascular and type 2 diabetes and digestive health.
Bamboo shoots are a very good source of potassium, Vitamin C, Vitamine E, Vitamine B6, Thiamine, riboflavin, and Niacin. Therefore eating bamboo shoots helps in keeping body and mind healthy.
Not only bamboo shoots are rich in vitamins, but also it was found in a study (1) that bamboo shoots are very much fortified with around 10 different types of minerals like Cr, Zn, Mn, Mg, Ni, Co, Cu.
6. Low in fat
Bamboo shoots are low in fat content and have essential fatty acids (2). Therefore consuming bamboo shoots are good for reducing body weight and blood cholesterol. Therefore people with diabetic and cardiothoracic problems (4) can eat bamboo shoots for the betterment of the health.
7. High in iron
Bamboo shoots are high in iron content, therefore, persons with low hemoglobin content, children’s and pregnant women, and women who are going through their menopause (5) stage can take bamboo for maintaining proper Hb level in the body.
8. High selenium
Selenium is known as the miracle life element (5). Bamboo shoots contain selenium which is very helpful for the heart, acts as an antioxidant and other health-related problems.
Health benefits of bamboo shoots
1. Controls blood pressure
Eating bamboo shoots helps in controlling the blood pressure of the body. Bamboo shoots as discussed above contain a high amount of dietary fibers. Dietary fibers help in absorbing unwanted bad cholesterol (LDL and VLDL) from the body.
Again bamboo shoots because of high fiber and low in fat content are very beneficial for diabetic persons. As the dietary fibers help in absorbing insulin from the body thus keeps a check on it.
3. Healthy stomach
Fibers help in keeping the digestive tract healthy. It provides a proper bowel movement thus keeps the body active for the whole day.
4. Reduce obesity
Bamboo shoots due to the presence of high fiber help in reducing obesity as it is low in fat and absorbs unwanted cholesterols from the body. Also, bamboo shoots contain low fat which adds up to further weight loss.
Bamboo shoots are high in cellulose content. The shoots are tender with crisp and crunchy. The sweetness of the tender shoots enhanced the taste, therefore, is considered as an appetizer (5)
Bamboo shoots are rich in flavonoids, tannins, and other minerals like selenium. Therefore eating young shoots helps in checking the free radicals of the body and keeps the body healthy and cancer-proof.
7. Maintain hemoglobin level
Bamboo shoots are rich in iron, therefore, it helps in restoring the blood hemoglobin level and thus is very beneficial for the anemic persons, pregnant women, growing children, and women who are passing from menopause stage (5).
8. Mental health
Bamboo shoots contain selenium (5). Selenium not only helps in maintaining physical health but also helps in maintaining proper mental health and thyroid level of the body. Therefore easing young bamboo shoots are good for the proper functioning of the body and mind.
Precaution to take and side effects of Bamboo Shoots
Young and fresh bamboo shoots when peeled are bitter in taste with a strong smell. This bitter taste is because of a cyanogenic glycoside taxiphyllin compound. Damaged tissue of bamboo secrets taxiphyllin secondary metabolite. This compound is toxic in nature and therefore not all the bamboo species are edible. Therefore proper processing like soaking, boiling, cutting, and canning should be done in order to reduce the cyanide content of the shoots (2).
Around 70% of hydrogen cyanide is removed when the shoots are boiled at a temperature of 98 degrees centigrade for at least 20 mins (3). Only one variety of bamboo is used for this research. Therefore before consuming the bamboo shoot please consider the detoxification process of that variety or species.