Bamboo shoots are the tender, edible first growth of bamboo plants, and they’re often eaten in East Asian cuisine as an addition to soups and stir-fries. Read on to learn more about the 10 unexpected health benefits of bamboo shoots!

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Beyond their culinary appeal, though, bamboo shoots also have numerous health benefits, ranging from fighting off cancer to improving your body’s ability to absorb calcium. 

Bamboo shoots are an exotic food in many Asian countries as they are commonly used in their various dishes, including broths. They are readily available in grocery stores in various forms, including fresh, dried, and canned.

If you wonder what they taste like, bamboo shoots have a delicate sweet flavor with a crunchy taste.

Traditionally, bamboo shoots have been used in Chinese medicine as a uterotonic compound to help induce uterine contractions during the last month of pregnancy, especially when one is past the delivery date.

Also check out Dragon Fruit, Durian Fruit, and Goji Berries.

They have also been used as an antivenom to counteract the poisonous effects of snake and scorpion venom. Today, there’s a wide range of research confirming that, indeed, bamboo shoots can offer more health benefits than you think.

steamed bamboo shoots in white dish

What are Bamboo Shoots?

Bamboo shoots are simply bamboo sprouts that spring out beside a bamboo plant. There are different types of bamboo, but the common ones used in cooking include Bambusa vulgaris and Phyllostachys edulis.

They are a common ingredient in most Asian cuisine. The shoots are peeled to remove the exterior thick and woody layer that’s difficult to chew.

The shoots are often soaked, cooked, pickled, or boiled before being added to various dishes, including soups, stir-fries, salads, and curries.

Bamboo shoots are low in sugar and calorie content, high in protein and fiber, packed with minerals and vitamins, and offer an appetizing effect.

They are also delicious and nutritious, with numerous health benefits.

Bamboo Shoots Nutrition

A cup of cooked bamboo shoots offers:

  • Calories: 64
  • Fiber: 2 grams
  • Protein:5 grams
  • Fat:5 grams
  • Carbs: 5 grams
  • Potassium:533 milligrams, or 15 percent of the daily requirements
  • Copper: 1 milligram, or 4 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin B6:14 milligrams, or 14 percent of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin E: 91 milligrams, or 9 percent of the daily requirement of the daily requirement
  • Vitamin K:2,4 micrograms, or 3percent of the daily requirement
  • Riboflavin:026 milligram, or 3 percent of the daily requirement
  • Thiamine:024 milligram, or 3 percent  of the daily requirement
  • Phosphorus:25 milligrams or 3 percent of the daily requirement
  • Iron:31 milligrams, or 3 percent of the daily  requirements

Bamboo shoots also contain chlorophyll, bioactive compounds, and antioxidants such as flavonoids and phenols, which help fight free radicles and protect against disease

Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots

1. Promoting weight loss

Bamboo shoots are an excellent food for those wanting to lose weight as they are very low in calories but high in fiber, which keeps you feeling full longer.

One review found that high consumption of dietary fiber-enhanced weight loss and reduced belly fat without any further lifestyle modifications.

In one lab study, bamboo shoots were shown to promote gut health, which offered protection against weight gain.

This shows that the shoots not only aid weight loss, but when consumed regularly, they may help you keep off the weight.

2. They may promote heart health

Bamboo shoots are rich in phytosterols, ideal for lowering the harmful LDL or bad cholesterol. This improves blood circulation and promotes overall cardiovascular health.

Phytosterols are plant sterols or naturally occurring compounds that possess cholesterol-like effects. When consumed, these compounds compete with body cholesterol for absorption in the digestive tract. This may help lower cholesterol levels by limiting its absorption, causing a drop in your cholesterol levels.

In one study, consuming 12.7 ounces of bamboo shoots was found to lower both total and LDL cholesterol compared to a control group.

In addition, bamboo shoots are high in potassium, an essential nutrient for lowering and maintaining blood pressure.

3. Aids healthy bowel movements and relieves constipation

Due to the high levels of dietary fiber, consuming bamboo shoots may promote healthy digestion and easy bowel movements.

High fiber consumption may also promote other aspects of digestive health, including protecting against diverticulitis, hemorrhoids, and colorectal cancer.

Additionally, the fiber in mambo shoots can help feed you good gut bacteria, which helps increase their population and diversity.

Research shows that maintaining a healthy gut is essential for preventing metabolic conditions, including heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

4. Immune booster

The immune system is our body’s natural defense against infection. It’s made up of cells that work together to identify and destroy anything that could harm us, including bacteria, viruses and other organisms.
Bamboo has been shown to boost the immune system in a variety of ways. Studies have found that bamboo can help fight off allergies, asthma and other respiratory issues, as well as boost the immune system in general. For the respiratory system, a decoction of bamboo shoots is often made by boiling the shoots and adding some honey to the liquid may help alleviate respiratory issues.

One of the most impressive ways bamboo can help the immune system is by boosting the production of white blood cells. These cells are responsible for defending the body against infection, and studies have found that bamboo can help increase their production by up to 50 percent.

So if you’re looking for an all-natural way to boost your immune system, be sure to include bamboo shoots into your diet!

5. Regulates blood sugar levels

Bamboo shoots are not just good for food. They can also help regulate your blood sugar levels and help prevent diabetes.

They have a low glycemic index and provide a slow release of sugar into the bloodstream. This is because they are high in fiber and low in sugar, making them an excellent option for people looking to keep their blood sugar under control.

In addition, bamboo shoots are a good source of antioxidants, which can help fight against free radicals and help boost the immune system. All these properties work to keep glucose levels low and reduce the risk of developing diabetes.

The glucose tolerance properties of the bamboo shoot also allow them to help your body maintain its insulin sensitivity. This means that your body can use insulin more effectively to control blood sugar levels.

But to regulate blood sugar levels, bamboo shoots must be consumed regularly. To use bamboo shoots for diabetes management, cook them until they are soft and then puree them in a food processor or blender. Add this mixture to your favorite foods or drink and enjoy.

6. Fights inflammation

Inflammation is a process that your body goes through when it is under physical stress. It keeps the immune system running smoothly and helps you heal faster from injuries. However, inflammation is something that you want to get rid of as soon as possible because it can cause significant health problems if left unchecked.

Bamboo shoots are a great source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, manganese, and magnesium. They can help boost your immune system and reduce inflammation in the body. Try adding them to your breakfast smoothie or lunchtime salad for extra flavor and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Also, applying bamboo topically can help fight inflammation by reducing swelling and pain caused by various injuries or conditions.

7. Promotes stronger bones

Bamboo shoots are a great way to promote healthy bones. They are high in vitamin C, which helps increase the absorption of other important nutrients for bone health. Additionally, bamboo shoots have minerals such as calcium, manganese, and magnesium, which promote bone density and strength. In the long run, this can help prevent bone conditions like osteoporosis.

Also, bamboo shoots can help improve joint function. High levels of antioxidants in bamboo shoots improve joint function by fighting off free radicals that can damage your joints over time.

8. Prevents cancer

Bamboo shoots have been shown to be effective in preventing cancer, thanks to the presence of compounds called isoflavones. These compounds are known to bind and neutralize carcinogens. They are also high in quercetin, a powerful antioxidant that fights cancer cells by inhibiting their proliferation in various cancers, including prostate, cervical, and lung cancer.

9. Regulates cholesterol levels

Bamboo shoots may be a natural cholesterol regulator. Researchers from the University of Texas Health Science analyzed the effects of bamboo shoot extracts on human cholesterol levels. The study found that the extracts decreased LDL (bad) cholesterol and increased HDL (good) cholesterol without any significant changes in triglycerides or VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein).

This research offers some potential explanations for why bamboo shoots may have beneficial effects on cholesterol levels. For example, the extract could decrease LDL levels by blocking the absorption of bad cholesterol from the gut or by increasing good cholesterol production. Alternatively, elevated HDL levels can protect against heart disease by scavenging harmful LDL particles from circulation.

While further studies are needed to confirm these findings, this research provides new insights into how bamboo shoots might act as a natural cholesterol regulator.

10. Treats stomach disorders

Bamboo shoots are a popular vegetable in China, Japan, and other East Asian countries. These shoots have a long history of use as a dietary supplement for gastrointestinal issues. Bamboo shoots have been shown to improve the symptoms of diarrhea, constipation, and gas. In addition, bamboo shoots have been proven to be an effective treatment for stomach ulcers.

Bamboo shoots are high in dietary fiber and contain a number of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B6 and E. These nutrients may work together to help reduce gastrointestinal issues. Additionally, the soluble fiber in bamboo shoots may help to regulate bowel movements.

If you are looking for a natural way to treat stomach ulcers, reduce gas and bloating or improve your overall digestive health, you may want to try eating bamboo shoots.

How to Prepare Bamboo Shoots

One of the most interesting and versatile kitchen ingredients is bamboo shoots. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, and they have a unique flavor that is different from other vegetables.

To cook bamboo shoots, rinse them well and cut them into pieces that are about 2 inches long. In a pot or wok, heat up some oil or butter over medium heat. Add the bamboo shoots and cook until they are slightly browned on the outside.

Another way to cook bamboo shoots is in a stir-fry dish. Simply toss them with some seasonings and cooking oil, then stir everything together until the bamboo shoots are coated. Once they are cooked, add your favorite type of protein and serve.

You can also skewer them as an appetizer and serve them with your favorite dipping sauce. They are also great as part of a salad or as part of the main dish.

Risks and Side Effects

You should be aware that raw bamboo shoots contain cyanide taxiphyllin, which is toxic if consumed.

That’s why bamboo shoots should be soaked, boiled, or dried before consumption or before including them in other recipes. All these methods have been shown to render bamboo shoots safe to consume.

Bamboo shoots are often referred to as goitrogenic, meaning they can disrupt the production of thyroid hormones. However, getting sufficient amounts of selenium and iodine into the diet may help maintain thyroid function. Cooking bamboo shoots also deactivates some of the goitrogens; thus, you can enjoy well-cooked bamboo shoots in moderation and have your thyroid functioning well.

Final Thoughts

Bamboo shoots are a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine.

Although not commonly consumed in other parts of the world, bamboo shoots are rich in nutrients. They can offer various benefits, including promoting cardiovascular health, aiding weight loss, improving digestive health, fighting inflammation, treating respiratory conditions, and boosting the immune system.

Bamboo shoots should be prepared well, including soaking, drying, and cooking before consumption to deactivate the toxic and anti-nutrient compounds naturally present in fresh shoots.

In addition to that, ensure you are getting enough thyroid-supporting nutrients to help maintain thyroid function.

Bamboo shoots are versatile as they can easily be included in soups, salads, curries, and many more.

Other Asian Ingredients

  1.  Chestnuts
  2. Exotic Asian Fruits To Try
  3. Kumquat
  4. Loquat

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