Proven Bamboo Shoots Health Benefits

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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Bamboo shoots, also known as bamboo sprouts, are edible shoots of the bamboo species. They are crisp and similar to asparagus. These shoots are famous as a seasonal delicacy in vast regions of Taiwan, China, and South-East Asian countries.

The health benefits of bamboo shoot anticancer properties, aiding weight loss, balancing cholesterol levels, and boosting the immune system. They also have anti-inflammatory properties.

What are Bamboo Shoots?

Bamboo shoots are the sprouts that spring out beside the bamboo plant. These sprouts (or shoots) are edible and they belong to the Bambusoideae subfamily of grass, according to research from Northern Illinois University. They are accessible in fresh and fermented forms and are highly nutritious.

The bamboo species whose sprouts are harvested include Phyllostachys edulis, winter shoots, ‘hairy’ shoots, Phyllostachys bambusoides, Dendrocalamus lactiferous, Bambusa vulgaris, Bambusa oldhamii, and Bambusa odashimae.

Watch Video: 8 Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots

8 Noteworthy Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots | Organic Facts

One can find evidence in old Chinese literature dating back to the Tang dynasty (618 AD- 907 AD), about the benefits of eating bamboo shoots. This was perhaps the first written record about these shoots in human history. Another important scripture dating back to the Ming dynasty (1368 AD to 1644 AD) also mentioned the medicinal and other benefits of bamboo shoots.

In Japan, they are considered to be the “King of Forest Vegetables”. There are many bamboo species that sprout shoots, but only a handful of them are actually cultivated and consumed.

Fresh bamboo shoots served on a wooden plate on a wooden table

Bamboo shoots contain phytochemicals that have antibacterial and antiviral effects in the body. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Nutrition Facts

Bamboo shoots, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]91
Energy [kcal]27
Energy [kJ]115
Protein [g]2.6
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.3
Ash [g]0.9
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]5.2
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.2
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]3
Calcium, Ca [mg]13
Iron, Fe [mg]0.5
Magnesium, Mg [mg]3
Phosphorus, P [mg]59
Potassium, K [mg]533
Sodium, Na [mg]4
Zinc, Zn [mg]1.1
Copper, Cu [mg]0.19
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.26
Selenium, Se [µg]0.8
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]4
Thiamin [mg]0.15
Riboflavin [mg]0.07
Niacin [mg]0.6
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.16
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.24
Folate, total [µg]7
Folate, food [µg]7
Folate, DFE [µg]7
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Carotene, beta [µg]12
Vitamin A, IU [IU]20
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.07
12:0 [g]0
14:0 [g]0
16:0 [g]0.05
18:0 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
18:1 [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.13
18:2 [g]0.11
18:3 [g]0.02
Phytosterols [mg]19
Tryptophan [g]0.03
Threonine [g]0.09
Isoleucine [g]0.09
Leucine [g]0.14
Lysine [g]0.13
Methionine [g]0.03
Cystine [g]0.02
Phenylalanine [g]0.09
Valine [g]0.11
Arginine [g]0.1
Histidine [g]0.04
Alanine [g]0.12
Aspartic acid [g]0.43
Glutamic acid [g]0.25
Glycine [g]0.09
Proline [g]0.22
Serine [g]0.13
Sources include : USDA

Nutrition Facts

According to a study in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fiber, low in calories, and power-packed with essential nutrients. These nutrients include protein, carbohydrates, amino acids, minerals, fats, sugars, fibers, and inorganic salts.

According to data procured by USDA, A 100 gram serving of raw bamboo shoots contains:

Low-calorie content: 27 calories

Low sugar content: 3 g

A negligible amount of fat: 0.3 g

High in protein: 2.6 g

Vitamins: such as vitamin A, E, B-vitamins, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, and folate

Minerals: such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron

High dietary fiber: 2.2 g

Health Benefits of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots are an exotic food consumed in many Asian countries and are also gaining demand in other countries. They are known for their various health benefits, including those explained in greater detail below.

Anticancer Properties

According to research done by Punjab University, and published by Vivek Sharma and Nirmala Chongtham, the phytosterols found in the plant consist of potent anti-cancerous properties against major cancer types such as lung cancer, stomach cancer, ovary cancer, and estrogen-dependent human breast cancer. Additionally, several epidemiological studies have found a strong correlation between a high fiber diet (which bamboo shoots can be contributory) with the reduced risks of the colon or colorectal cancer.

Weight Loss

The prevalence of obesity and being overweight has substantially risen in the past three decades around the globe. This huge burden of treating obesity with effective methods is the need for the hour and requires multiple clinical trials. According to a study in the Scientific Reports, bamboo shoots are most effective in reducing high-fat diet obesity. Moreover, the study indicates that bamboo shoot fiber has the potential in preventing obesity and metabolic syndrome.

Protection of Heart Health

According to some research, phytosterols and phytonutrients found in bamboo shoots are ideal for dissolving harmful LDL cholesterol in the body. This eases cholesterol out of the arteries for a smooth supply and movement of blood throughout the body.

Strengthens Immune System

The vitamins and minerals in bamboo shoots are ideal for improving the body’s immune system. Also, the antioxidants present in them are essential for strengthening the body from the inside-out, even when it comes to potentially delaying the neurodegenerative disease.

Other Benefits

  • Healthy bowel movements: Including bamboo shoots in your meals is a decent idea for relieving constipation.
  • Anti-inflammatory properties: According to research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology, bamboo shoots possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties.
  • Respiratory disorders: Bamboo shoots have been known to be effective against some respiratory disorders. A decoction can be taken along with honey for the best results.
  • Uterotonic properties: Traditional Chinese medicine believes that bamboo shoots can cause uterine contractions. They are used as a medicinal supplement during the last month of pregnancy.
  • Stomach disorder: They are useful in relieving stomach disorders.
  • Wound cleaning: The shoots are used for cleaning wounds and sores.
  • Lowers blood pressure: Bamboo shoots contain a high amount of potassium that is beneficial for lowering and maintaining blood pressure.

How to Cook & Store Bamboo Shoots?

  • Bamboo shoots can be boiled and then used for making various dishes. Boiled shoots can be served with butter and soya sauce as a vegetable accompaniment.
  • The shoots can be added to soups, stews, salads, and gravies.
  • Pickles made from bamboo shoots are available and can be consumed as a delicious snack.
  • Fresh shoots can last up to two weeks when they are properly refrigerated and kept away from sunlight; if exposed to sunlight, shoots will develop a bitter taste.
  • Before cooking fresh shoots, it is highly recommended to boil them partially or soak them in water overnight, as some species may contain cyanide, which can be eliminated by either of these processes. However, the study focused on rodents, so more scientific research focusing on a human population is required to further these claims.

Word of caution: Bamboo shoots can be harmful to your body if eaten raw as it produces cyanide in the gut. It is best advised to consult your doctor before including them in your diet.

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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