The first thing that people typically think about when it comes to bamboo as a food is that it isn’t for humans. Instead, we commonly associate panda bears with being the ones that eat bamboo. Because of that, most people don’t even know that bamboo shoots are not only edible, but they’re also quite good for you. You should avoid raw bamboo shoots as they contain certain toxins, but are great for humans once they’re cooked.
Bamboo shoots are also available in canned form to make it more convenient, in case you don’t want to wait two hours for boiling. There are different types of bamboo shoots in the culinary world, and most produce the same nutrition, though some taste better than others. The favorite one among most people is the bambusa oldhamii, which has a sweet taste similar to a pear. No matter which type you’re eating, bamboo shoots produce fantastic health benefits. Let’s take a closer look at the nutritional value and what some of those health benefits are.
Nutrition of Bamboo Shoots
With a one cup serving of bamboo shoots, you can get a very wide range of nutrition for a low amount of calories at just around 40. That one serving gets you nearly 10 percent of your daily recommendation for protein, as well as more than 10 percent of your recommended dietary fiber. In terms of vitamins, bamboo shoots contain nearly 20 percent of both thiamin and vitamin B6, with 10 percent of your daily vitamin C.
Though other vitamins don’t quite reach the 10 percent mark, they come close with vitamin E, riboflavin and niacin with smaller amounts of folate thrown in. As for the minerals, there’s about a quarter of your day’s worth in both potassium and manganese. Phosphorus, zinc and copper all are around 10 percent daily value with smaller amounts of iron, calcium and selenium. Finally, there’s only a half gram of fat in bamboo shoots and no cholesterol, but adding about 30 mg or phytosterols.
Good For the Heart
We pointed out earlier that bamboo shoots are quite high in potassium, which can be hard to find in foods outside of the everyday banana. Potassium helps the blood vessels in your heart work more efficiently, and are much less likely to be inflamed, helping you to prevent heart disease. Not only that, but bamboo shoots are very high in phytosterols while carrying no cholesterol, an added benefit for your heart.
Overall, bamboo shoots have been shown to help people lower the LDL (bad) cholesterol levels in their bodies. You’ll also be able to better manage your lipid levels and even control your blood pressure. Thiamin provides yet another bonus, as people who get more thiamin (or vitamin B1) in their diets are much less likely to suffer from congestive heart failure.
You’ve probably heard from both people inside and outside of the health professional community that controlling your weight is perhaps the best thing that you can do for your heart. In addition to the heart friendly benefits you get from eating bamboo shoots, you can lower your overall body weight by substituting bamboo shoots into your diet. At only 40 calories per serving, bamboo shoots make for a great swap compared to certain junk foods that could easily add up over 200 calories.
Saving yourself just 100 calories per day can add up to more than 10 pounds of fat lost in a single year, and that’s just a small change. Being low in sugars and carbohydrates while being higher in protein and fiber makes bamboo a filling food that can also provide you with an energy boost to get into the gym and burn even more calories. Also keep in mind that fiber helps to boost your metabolism for an extra kick.
Avoiding the Doctor
Bamboo shoots can help you to avoid heart-disease and other obesity-related illnesses while also giving your immune system a boost to prevent other illnesses. Vitamins found in bamboo shoots such as vitamin C play a big role in your immune system, allowing your body to produce more white blood cells that fight off viruses and bacteria that can ravage your body.
At the same time, these antioxidants also fight off free radicals that have been shown to damage the DNA in your cells, causing chronic illnesses such as cancer. Bamboo shoots have certain antioxidants that are considered to be more rare, including chlorophyll and amylase. Studies have found that these antioxidants are effective in reducing chances of certain forms of cancer and can even stunt tumor growth. Even something simple as cleaning a wound to prevent infections is what bamboo shoots can do, as using the juice inside has been a home remedy for ages.
We mentioned how the fiber found within bamboo shoots can help increase your metabolism, and part of the reason is because of an improved digestive system. When your digestive system is more efficient, you’re able to avoid a lot of problems such as constipation, diarrhea or just general discomfort. Research shows that people with higher-fiber diets are able to burn more calories, even while at rest.
This also goes back to preventing certain forms of cancer, as fiber has been linked to a large reduction in colorectal cancers. If you have a stomach infection or suffer from ulcers, bamboo shoots can even help in that department thanks to antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It takes a few days to get used to a high fiber diet, but it’s certainly worth making the change.
Free radicals that attack the cells in your body can even attack your skin, making you look much older with wrinkles and a dull complexion. Getting more antioxidant-rich vitamins from bamboo shoots will allow you to look younger and more vibrant. Vitamin C also provides your body with a natural boost to collagen, giving your skin more elasticity. Since it can be used for wounds, as well, the juice from bamboo shoots is often used in beauty products to treat the skin and scalp, a practice that has become more common in recent years.
Summing it Up
One of the disadvantages that certain people face when it comes to eating bamboo shoots is how to acquire them, as they can be relatively difficult to find and rather expensive. As bamboo trees themselves have grown in demand without a high supply, this has driven up the price. Many people have also shied away from eating bamboo shoots because of a preconceived notion that it’s actually toxic for humans to eat.
The reason for that thought process is because many thought that bamboo shoots contained cyanide, but it’s actually taxiphyllin that won’t develop into cyanide when eaten. Growing bamboo without insect repellent practically eliminates this concern. To further make sure that you’re getting the healthiest form of bamboo shoots, make sure to boil them for up to two hours. You’ll end up being pleasantly surprised by the taste, as well as the fantastic health benefits that you get from eating bamboo, just like a panda would!