7 Amazing Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots

Written by Payal Karnik , MSc (Biotechnology), Diploma In Nutrition

Bamboo shoots are a popular ingredient in South Asian cuisines. This is because they are a rich source of various nutrients and have immense health benefits. These edible shoots are loaded with beneficial bioactive compounds, and they have been a part of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). If you are curious about this flavorful ingredient, keep reading to find out how bamboo shoots can benefit your health and how you can include them in your diet.

What Are Bamboo Shoots?

Bamboo is a type of grass belonging to the Poaceae family. The new and tender stems that emerge from the ground are the edible shoots. There are over 1000 different bamboo varieties in the world. However, not all are edible. The tender shoots of bamboos belonging to the species Bambusa bamboos and Phyllostachys edulis are edible.

They typically have an ivory yellow color and are soft and crispy. The white bamboo flesh turns yellowish when cooked (1). Bamboo shoots are rich in nutrients and healthy. The next sections explore their health benefits and nutrient profile. Keep reading.

Are Bamboo Shoots Healthy?

Dr. Anthony Puopolo, MD, says, “Bamboo shoots are similar to foods like celery or seaweed in that their calorie count is extremely low. They can serve as a good snack, especially if you are trying to lose weight.” Bamboo shoots are low in fat and have a rich nutrient profile.

Nutritional Information Of Bamboo Shoots

A hundred grams of raw bamboo shoots contain (2):

 

Calories27 kcal
Proteins2.6 g
Carbohydrates5.2 g

Total lipids (Fat)

0.3 g

Sodium

4 mg

Potassium

533 mg

Calcium

13 mg

Iron

0.5 mg

Magnesium

3 mg

Phosphorus

59 mg

Zinc

1.1 mg

Copper

0.19 mg

Dietary fiber

2.2 g

Vitamin C

4 mg

Dr. Puopolo adds, “One of the biggest health benefits of bamboo shoots is how high in fiber they are. Bamboo shoots, due to this, will contribute to digestion, gut health, and healthy appetite habits. They also contain antioxidants and are high in nutrients.”

Many Southeast Asian and East Asian countries and ethnic communities use fermented and fresh bamboo shoots for medicinal benefits. Let’s understand how bamboo shoots may positively impact your health.

Potential Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots

1. Antibacterial And Antifungal Activity

Bamboo shoots contain a unique protein called dendrocin, which shows antifungal activity against Fusarium, a fungus found in soil, air, and plants that often causes food poisoning. The shoots contain novel peptides (Pp-AMP 1 and Pp-AMP 2) that have antimicrobial activity against pathogenic bacteria and fungi (3),( 4).

2. Rich In Antioxidants

Bamboo shoots contain bioactive polyphenols and are an excellent source of natural antioxidants. They can reduce inflammation in your body and regulate the immune response to prevent many chronic diseases (5).

3. May Lower Cholesterol Levels

The dietary fibers in bamboo shoots may reduce the serum cholesterol levels, especially the bad (LDL) cholesterol. The fibers help maintain a healthy lipid profile and improve bowel functions (6).

4. May Promote Gut Health

The dietary fibers in the bamboo shoots promote the growth of gut-friendly bacteria Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. It provides them with small chain fatty acids, stimulating their growth, maintaining gut health, and improving digestion (7).

5. May Support Weight Loss

Several studies have indicated that higher fiber intake may promote weight loss. Dietary fiber takes time to digest and may keep you full for longer (8). This may help in portion control and have a favorable effect on body weight.

6. May Lower Blood Pressure

A rat study found that bamboo shoots could inhibit angiotensin-converting enzymes, which caused high blood pressure. Moreover, the antioxidants in bamboo shoots also play a crucial role in preventing hypertension by lowering blood pressure levels (9).

7. May Delay Fatigue

Bamboo shoots contain biochemical compounds like triterpenoids and flavonoids. A mice study found that these compounds in bamboo shoots have an anti-fatigue effect and prolong endurance (10).

These are just a few of the many benefits bamboo shoots provide. If you want to give them a try, scroll down to learn how to add bamboo shoots to your diet.

How To Eat Bamboo Shoots

You may eat fresh or canned/fermented bamboo shoots.

Fresh shoots are covered in sheaths. Peel the sheath to reveal yellowish-white edible flesh. You can boil and sauté the tender shoots. Canned bamboo shoots are precooked and stored in either water or brine. Rinse them before consuming.

Bamboo shoots are crisp and crunchy, and their sweet and earthy taste imparts a distinct flavor to the dish. They make wonderful additions to soups and dumplings and can be used as a spicy pickled side dish. Here are a few recipes to help you get started.

Popular Bamboo Shoots Recipes

1. Bamboo Shoot Wontons

What You Need

  •  250 g ground pork
  •  ¼ cup of bamboo shoots, finely chopped
  •  ½ can of water chestnuts, drained and finely chopped
  •  ¼ cup of green onions, finely chopped
  •  ½ cup of bean sprouts, finely chopped
  •  1 egg, beaten
  •  1 tablespoon of cooking sherry
  •  1 tablespoon of soy sauce
  •  ½ teaspoon of salt
  •  1 pack of square wonton wrappers
  •  2 cups of oil

How To Prepare

  1.  Mix all the ingredients in a bowl.
  2.  Place a spoonful of this mixture on a wonton wrapper.
  3.  Fold the wrapper and secure the edges with water.
  4.  Ensure there are no air bubbles inside the dumplings.
  5.  Heat oil in a heavy skillet and fry the wontons for 2 minutes.
  6.  Drain excess oil on paper towels.

2. Chicken Soup

What You Need

  •  3 cups of chicken broth
  •  500 g chicken breast halves, cut into thin strips
  •  ½ cup of bamboo shoots, sliced
  •  2 cups of mushrooms, sliced
  •  3 slices of ginger root
  •  2 garlic cloves, crushed
  •  2 scallions, chopped
  •  2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  •  ¼ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  •  1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  •  2 tablespoons of cornstarch
  •  3 tablespoons of vinegar
  •  ½ cup of water
  •  1 egg, beaten

How To Prepare

  1.  Boil chicken broth, water, mushrooms, bamboo shoots, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, and hot pepper flakes in a saucepan for a few minutes.
  2.  Lower the heat, cover, and simmer.
  3.  Coat the chicken slices with sesame oil.
  4.  Mix the cornstarch and vinegar separately and set aside.
  5.  Add the chicken slices to the broth. Turn up the flame and boil for a while.
  6.  Pour the egg into the broth while stirring it slowly.
  7.  Add the vinegar and cornstarch mixture.
  8.  Simmer on medium heat for three minutes. Stir until the soup thickens a bit and the chicken is tender.
  9.  Garnish with scallions before serving.

3. Spiced Bamboo Shoots With Pork

What You Need

  •  1 can of bamboo shoots, thinly sliced
  •  100 g ground pork
  •  2 garlic cloves, minced
  •  3 scallions, thinly sliced
  •  1 red chili pepper, minced
  •  ½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  •  1 teaspoon of dry sherry
  •  2 teaspoons of vinegar
  •  2 teaspoons of soy sauce
  •  3 tablespoons of chicken broth
  •  3 tablespoons of peanut oil
  •  Salt, as needed

How To Prepare

  1.  Stir-fry bamboo shoots over medium heat for three minutes until fragrant and dry. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2.  Fry garlic, red chilies, and red pepper flakes on high heat until fragrant.
  3.  Add the pork and stir until it is cooked. Add the dry sherry and salt.
  4.  Add the bamboo shoots and cook until they sizzle. Add the vinegar, soy sauce, chicken broth, and salt to taste.
  5.  Let the bamboo shoots sit for 1-2 minutes, so the flavor can penetrate.
  6.  Garnish with scallions, turn off the heat, and serve.

Bamboo shoots are also safe for your pets, especially dogs. They love gnawing on the tender bamboo stalks. Experts suggest that bamboo shoots can benefit your pet doggo in many ways.

Are Bamboo Shoots Safe For Pets?

Dr. Sara Ochoa, DVM, affirms, “Yes, these are a good treat to give to dogs. They are especially good for dogs who suffer from diabetes or have to have a low-fat diet.”

She adds, “They contain high levels of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. These can help strengthen cardiovascular health as well as support a healthy immune system.”

Bamboo shoots should be stored properly to keep them fresh for a long time and prevent any taste changes. Here are a few tips.

How To Store Bamboo Shoots

Tender bamboo shoots have a shelf life of two weeks if stored and refrigerated in sealed plastic bags. Fermented bamboo shoots may last longer. Store them away from sunlight as sun exposure may make them bitter. Discard the shoots if they develop an unpleasant odor, taste, appearance, or mold.

Canned bamboo shoots may last until the expiration date. However, it is better to consume them within a few days of opening the can. Also, make sure to consume them in moderation, as though they may have numerous health benefits, they also come with associated health risks.

Possible Side Effects Of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots contain certain anti-nutrients (cyanogens) like hydrogen cyanide and may cause cyanide poisoning. They also contain toxins like tannins, oxalate, and heavy metals, which may damage the pancreas, central nervous system, and thyroid gland (11).

Therefore, it is crucial to remove the toxins from fresh bamboo shoots before consuming them. The best way is to boil the shoots in water or ferment them in brine. Washing the fresh bamboo shoots may also reduce the cyanogen content. However, it is best to avoid consuming raw and unprocessed bamboo shoots.

The Final Word

Bamboo shoots are a good source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and other micronutrients. They also contain a wide variety of bioactive compounds, have numerous health benefits, and protect against many chronic diseases. You may follow the recipes discussed in the article to include them in your diet. However, be careful when consuming them, as unprocessed shoots may cause cyanide poisoning.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

Are bamboo shoots good for people with diabetes?

Yes. The bamboo extract has antidiabetic effects and may help control blood glucose levels (12).

Are canned bamboo shoots healthy?

Yes. Canned bamboo shoots have a rich nutrient profile and are healthy (13).

Is bamboo good for hair growth?

Yes. Bamboo contains a high amount of silica and may promote hair growth (14).

Are bamboo shoots good for the kidneys?

If you have kidney disease, limit your intake of bamboo shoots as they are high in potassium.

Are bamboo shoots high in uric acid?

Boiled bamboo shoots do contain uric acid as the boiling process degrades most of it (15).

References:

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  1. Value addition to bamboo shoots: a review
    https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s13197-011-0379-z
  2. FoodData Central
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169210/nutrients
  3. Dendrocin a distinctive antifungal protein from bamboo shoots
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006291X03012294
  4. Amino Acid Sequence and Antimicrobial Activity of Chitin-Binding Peptides Pp-AMP 1 and Pp-AMP 2 from Japanese Bamboo Shoots (Phyllostachys pubescens)
    https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1271/bbb.69.642
  5. Optimization of Microwave-Assisted Extraction of Antioxidants from Bamboo Shoots of Phyllostachys pubescens
    https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/25/1/215/htm
  6. Effects of bamboo shoot consumption on lipid profiles and bowel function in healthy young women
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0899900709000410
  7. The potential cholesterol-lowering and prebiotic effects of bamboo shoot dietary fibers and their structural characteristics
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814620312346
  8. Health benefits of dietary fiber
    https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article/67/4/188/1901012?login=true
  9. Evaluation of Bamboo Shoot Peptide Preparation with Angiotensin Converting Enzyme Inhibitory and Antioxidant Abilities from Byproducts of Canned Bamboo Shoots
    https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf305064h
  10. ANTI-FATIGUE EFFECT OF KAWAYANG TINIK (BAMBUSA BLUMEANA) SHOOT EXTRACTS IN MICE
    https://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/5/Suppl_1/bmjopen-2015-forum2015abstracts.4.short
  11. A systematic review on the composition storage processing of bamboo shoots: Focusing the nutritional and functional benefits
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1756464620302395
  12. Bamboo Extract in the Prevention of Diabetes and Breast Cancer
    https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/B9780123742285000093
  13. FoodData Central
    https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/169212/nutrients
  14. Bamboo’s Extract for Rejuvenating Skin
    https://www.ijsdr.org/papers/IJSDR1907024.pdf
  15. Degradation Kinetics of Cyanide and Uric acid in Bamboo Shoot during Boiling Process
    https://dl.acm.org/doi/abs/10.1145/3180382.3180396

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