A native to China and a member of the grass family, bamboo shoot has been long used in Chinese cooking. Nowadays you can find them as a popular item in many cuisines of the world. Bamboo shoots are the young and tender shoots of edible bamboo plant that are harvested as soon as they emerge from the ground or as they grow to two weeks old. Delicious and crunchy with a mild taste and aroma, bamboo shoot is rich in nutrients and is considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world. Bamboo shoot has been reviewed as the new health food owing to its health benefits, including anti-cancer and antioxidant effects.
Bamboo shoots nutrition facts
Bamboo shoot is low in calories, sugar and fat, thus being an excellent addition to a weight loss diet. It is a good source of proteins, carbohydrates and also contains many of the essential amino acids. Bamboo shoot is rich in dietary fiber and is also a storehouse of important minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, copper, chromium, zinc, iron, phosphorus and selenium. In addition to these minerals, bamboo shoot also provides you with several vitamins like vitamin C, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. However, what makes bamboo shoot exceptionally health beneficial is the presence of phenolic acids and phytochemicals that provide antioxidant effects.
Bamboo shoots health benefits
Research indicates that, in addition to being highly nutritious, bamboo shoot has several medicinal properties too, which makes it an effective remedy for treating and preventing many health conditions. Lets understand what are the health benefits of bamboo shoots:
Bamboo shoots and weight loss
Bamboo shoot is a low calorie food, which is ideal for people who are concerned about their calorie intake. Moreover, the high fiber content in bamboo makes it a perfect weight loss food. The high amount of fiber will fill you up and keep you satiated for long periods of time. When your hunger is controlled, you refrain from overeating and also snacking frequently on high calorie foods.
Bamboo shoot benefits for skin and hair
Silica is an important compound that plays a vital role in maintaining your skin and hair healthy. Bamboo extract is a rich source of silica and hence its daily use is helpful in improving the condition of your skin and hair. Silica improves skin health by promoting better absorption of minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium by your body. It has antioxidant properties that help in reducing wrinkles, fine lines and other signs of aging. Bamboo extract when applied over itchy and irritated skin helps in relieving the condition.
Bamboo extract also provides excellent benefits to your hair. Washing your hair with this extract will help in removing dirt and dead skin cells, giving your hair a natural luster and shine. Bamboo extract can be found in shampoos, hair conditioners, body lotions, creams, body washes and hair colors. Although it is available in the form of pills and capsules, the best way to reap the benefits of this extract is by eating bamboo shoots.
Bamboo shoot improves heart health
High cholesterol and blood pressure are two factors that increase your risks of heart diseases. According to research, the phytonutrients and other antioxidants in bamboo shoot have the power to reduce the bad cholesterol (LDL) levels in your body. This prevents the accumulation of cholesterol or plaque in your arteries. Another benefit of bamboo shoot is that the high amounts of potassium in it help in lowering high blood pressure or hypertension. So by incorporating bamboo shoot in your daily diet, you can protect your heart and keep it functioning at its best.
Bamboo shoot has anti-cancer properties
The high fiber content in bamboo shoot not only helps in weight loss, but is also very helpful in lowering your risks of colon cancer. In terms of nutrients and antioxidants like phytochemicals, bamboo shoot is exceptionally rich. It contains phenolic acid and lignans that have anti oxidant properties. Antioxidants have the potential to prevent cancer by eliminating the oxidation stress on cells caused by free radicals.
Bamboo shoot promotes digestion
The fiber in bamboo shoot helps in improving your digestive health by aiding digestion and by making your bowel movements regular. Proper and regular bowel movements ensure that you don’t suffer from problems like constipation.
Bamboo shoot strengthens your immune system
A strong and well functioning immune system is essential for you to stay healthy. The food that we eat plays a key role in improving your immunity. Bamboo shoot is a storehouse of various remarkable vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that contribute to making your immune system strong and in fighting off disease causing germs and microbes.
Bamboo shoot is anti-inflammatory
Bamboo shoots have anti-inflammatory properties that make it useful in healing ulcers and other inflammatory diseases. The juice obtained from bamboo shoots has been found to be effective in treating wounds, injuries and ulcers.
Bamboo shoot for diabetics
Bamboo shoots, in addition to being highly nutritious are low in calories, sugar and fat. Hence it is an excellent food choice for people suffering from diabetes. They are also a rich source of dietary fiber that plays an important role in controlling blood sugar levels. Bamboo shoot also contains high levels of magnesium, a mineral that is associated with lowering your risks of developing diabetes.
[Read more about natural foods for diabetes]
Bamboo shoot for bone health
Bamboo shoot contains minerals like calcium, potassium and magnesium that are associated with the growth and development of healthy bones. The silica in bamboo is helpful in increasing bone mass and preventing conditions like osteoporosis.
Bamboo shoot has uterotonic properties
As per the traditional Chinese medicine, bamboo shoot is uterotonic, which means that it can induce uterine contractions. The consumption of bamboo shoot when the due date is near can help in inducing labor.
Bamboo shoot for curing internal poisoning
Bamboo shoots are considered to be an effective remedy for internal poisoning or toxemia.
Bamboo shoot for removing intestinal worms
Drinking the juice of bamboo shoot can help in killing and eliminating intestinal worms.
How to store bamboo shoot
Bamboo shoots can be obtained in either the fresh or canned form. Factors such as humidity, temperature and other environments agents affect the shelf life of a bamboo shoot. Fresh shoots that are stored in the refrigerator will keep up to two weeks. After 2 weeks they will start developing a bitter taste. The bitterness also develops if the bamboo shoots is exposed to sunlight and so make sure to keep them in a cool, dark place. The canned bamboo shoots are easier to get when compared to the fresh forms. After opening the can, rinse the shoots in hot water before using them. Unused bamboo shoots can be kept in an air tight container filled with water and stored in the refrigerator. Make sure to change the water daily. Where to buy bamboo shoots? Look out for asian stores in your neighbourhood.
Did you know? Bamboo shoots are also called Kanile (western India), Labong (Phillipines)
How to use bamboo shoot?
Raw bamboo shoots are bitter in taste and can be difficult to digest. So before eating, it is important to clean and cook the bamboo shoots to remove the bitter taste. Trim off the roots and remove any leaves or hard flesh of the shoots before you cook them. Cook the shoots in boiling water for about 20 to 25 minutes. Leave the pan uncovered so that the substances that gives bitterness to the shoots escapes into the air. If the bitterness still exists, cook the shoots for some more time. The bamboo shoot can then be sliced according to your choice and used in cooking. Dried bamboo shoots can also be used in cooking.
Eating raw bamboo shoot can be dangerous as it contains a cyanogenic glycoside known as taxiphyllin, which produces cyanide inside the stomach. However, cooking bamboo shoots properly (some people suggest boiling for an hour) will help in getting rid of the toxicity. Another way to make them edible is to soak the shoots in water for about three days. Keep changing the water every day.
Bamboo shoots recipe
Bamboo shoot is a popular ingredient in Chinese, Thai, Indonesian and Vietnamese cooking. One way to enjoy bamboo shoot is to cut it into thin slices and cook it along with spices, vegetables and coconut milk. You can cut them julienne style (thin strips) and add them to stir fries, soups, salads, noodles and other dishes. Pickling the bamboo shoots in vinegar, salt and sugar is another way to enjoy its delicious taste. Add a little bit of butter, salt or soy sauce and pepper to bamboo shoots and serve them as a tasty side dish. Try out this bamboo shoot recipe by Christina – Fish curry with bamboo shoots in traditional tribal way from Nagaland in North eastern India
So if you wish to add some variety to your daily diet, why not try a new and creative recipe with bamboo shoot? Not only eating bamboo shoots is a low calorie and healthy option, it is easily available and extremely effortless to prepare.Image Credits: Dakine coffee bean