Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are a type of vegetable that form part of Asian food dishes and broth. They are gut friendly, packed with nutrients and have a lot of health benefits.

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Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots or bamboo sprouts are the edible shoots of the bamboo plant. They come in several shapes and are available in fresh form, dried form as well as preserved in cans.

These shoots are nutritious and delicious. But they should not be consumed raw. The reason is that raw shoots contain natural cyanogenic glycosides that are poisonous. Cooking and boiling kills this substance and canning them also destroys the toxin.

They are part of Japanese, Chinese and Taiwanese cuisines. The tender ones are in demand due to their crisp texture and sweet taste. Older shoots have an acrid taste. Boiling thin slices of these older shoots in large volume of water removes the unpleasant taste. In Far East, the pith of young shoots is pickled and used as a condiment.

Bamboo shoots
Bamboo shoots (Source: Health line)

These shoots are also popular in Nepalese cuisine. Their favorite dish is tama that contains fermented shoots of bamboo with potatoes and beans. These shoots are also consumed in Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma and Indonesia.

Nutrition value

These shoots contain 27 calories per 100 gram. Thus, it is a low calories food item. The carbs content is 5.2 g with sugar of 3 g and dietary fiber of 2.2 g. It has very low fat content of around 0.3 g per 100 g. Protein is 2.6 g.

Moreover, the shoots contain thiamine, niacin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin C and vitamin E. Additionally, they have iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc.

Bamboo shoots
Shoots of bamboo (Source: DAAMMEE)

Thus, shoots of the bamboo plant are rich in micronutrients and antioxidants. They possess anti-inflammatory properties and are good for digestion and gut health.

Health benefits and uses

The nutritionist Mary Sabat shares some of the health benefits that the shoots confer on the human body. They are tasty as well. According to Mary:

Eating bamboo shoots can help promote a healthier gut in a few different ways,”

They have high levels of insoluble fiber that keep the bowel movement intact and prevent constipation. Moreover, the shoots contain prebiotic fiber. The good bacteria in the gut feed on it and proliferate to give a better balance of the gut microbial environment. This reduces body inflammation and keep chronic diseases at bay.

Bamboo shoots
Curry prepared from shoots of the bamboo plant (Source: Cookpad)

Additionally, the shoots have high content of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds. Mary elaborates:

“This can help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.”

Once inflammation in the body is under control, your energy level automatically rises and this also improves your immune function. Being a low calories food item, adding the shoots to your diet can also help in weight management. It is an important slimming food. 

Also, read Japchae: the nutritious Korean food with health benefits!

One can add them to salads, soups, stir-fries, smoothies and curries. Mary adds:

Bamboo shoots can also be pickled and enjoyed as a side dish or snack,”