13 Interesting Bamboo Shoots Benefits

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

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The health benefits of bamboo shoots include healthy weight loss, balanced cholesterol levels, and a boosted immune system. They may also have cancer-fighting and anti-inflammatory properties. They are cardiac-friendly and contain protein, vitamins and minerals, and a negligible amount of fat. Bamboo shoots also contain a significant amount of dietary fiber.

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 the largest and tallest in the grass family. Bamboo is also known to be one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. The fastest-growing species of bamboo is Chinese Moso. It reportedly grows up to 100 cm per day.

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

Watch Video: 8 Health Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots


Uses

Every part of the bamboo plant is put to use by Asian cultures and various ethnic groups. Bamboo is used for several purposes ranging from construction, (support for buildings and simple housing) bamboo furniture, musical instruments (such as flutes, dizi, xiao, shakuhachi) and paper production. Thus, bamboo is one of the most utilized and versatile plants on this planet.

Research published in the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi reports that bamboo shoots are also consumed in many Asian countries such as China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, Philippines, Indonesia, Nepal, and India.

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

Bamboo shoots are available in either fresh or canned variety. Fresh shoots can last for 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 bamboo 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.

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

Nutrition Facts

Bamboo shoots, raw
Serving Size :
NutrientValue
Water [g]91
Energy [kcal]27
Protein [g]2.6
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.3
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]5.2
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.2
Sugars, total [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
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]4
Thiamin [mg]0.15
Riboflavin [mg]0.07
Niacin [mg]0.6
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.24
Folate, DFE [µg]7
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]1
Vitamin A, IU [IU]20
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]1
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.07
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.13
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Nutrition Facts of Bamboo Shoots

According to a study in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, bamboo shoots are rich in various components such as proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and fiber, and are low in fat and sugars.

Low-Calorie Content

A 100 gram serving of bamboo shoots contains only 20 calories. The carbohydrates found in them are very low and do not amount to more than 3-4 grams per 100-gram serving.

Low Sugar Content

The amount of sugar found in bamboo shoots is about 2.5 grams per 100-gram serving. This is less than the amount of sugar found in many fruits and vegetables.

Negligible Amount of Fat

A serving of 100 grams of bamboo shoots contains less than one gram (0.49 grams) of fat. This fat consists of both saturated and unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are needed by the body as they control the spread of (bad) LDL cholesterol throughout the body.

High in Protein

A 100 gram serving of bamboo shoots would have about 2 to 2.5 grams of protein. The proteins found in bamboo consists of seventeen essential amino acids and two semi-essential amino acids.

Vitamins & Minerals

Bamboo shoots contain vitamins such as vitamin A, vitamin E, B-vitamins including vitamin B-6, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, and pantothenic acid. Minerals found in them include calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and iron.

High Dietary Fiber

Bamboo shoots are high in dietary fiber, making up 6-8 grams out of a 100-gram serving.

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.

Weight Loss

Bamboo shoots are weight loss-friendly. When we look at the number of calories, carbohydrates, and sugars contained in them, it is surprising to find that they are almost negligible. This makes them an ideal food for people who want to lose weight, but also want their stomachs to be full.

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.

Balanced Cholesterol Levels

As mentioned above, research conducted by Park and Jhon at Washington State University showed that the consumption of bamboo shoots had favorable effects on LDL (bad) cholesterol, lipids, and bowel function.

Anti-cancer Properties

A research paper 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.

Strengthened Immune System

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

Healthy Bowel Movements

The amount of dietary fiber in bamboo shoots is high. Consuming sufficient amounts of dietary fiber is essential for easy digestion and healthy bowel movements. Including bamboo shoots in your meals can be a very good idea for relieving constipation as well.

Anti-inflammatory Properties

According to research, bamboo shoots possess anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) properties. They help in the healing of ulcers as well. Juice from bamboo shoots can also be used as a medicine for external wounds and ulcers.

Respiratory Disorders

Bamboo shoots have been known to be effective against some respiratory disorders. A decoction of the shoots can be prepared by boiling them twice. The first boil should be for 5 minutes followed by a second boil for about 10 minutes. The decoction can be taken along with honey for the best results.

Anti-venomous Properties

In Ayurvedic medicine, the ancient Indian science of medicine and lifestyle, it is believed that bamboo extracts contain anti-venomous properties. They are useful in cases of both snake and scorpion bites. However, it is suggested that you consult a medical professional for any serious poisonous bite.

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 when the delivery date is still pending. According to the research paper published in Planta Medica, bamboo is one of the many plants listed among uterotonic plants.

Stomach Disorder Treatment

Bamboo shoots are useful in treating stomach disorders. Bamboo leaves are also suggested as a remedy for intestinal worms and stomach disorders as well.

Wound Cleaning

Bamboo shoots are also used for cleaning wounds and sores.

Lower Blood Pressure

Bamboo shoots contain a high amount of potassium. Potassium is highly beneficial as an electrolyte and is also very good for lowering and maintaining blood pressure.

With all of these benefits from bamboo shoots, they are highly recommended for a healthy lifestyle.

A Few Serving Ideas for 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.
  • Bamboo 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.

Side Effects of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots can be harmful to your body if you eat them raw as they tend to produce cyanide in the gut. Only some animal species–such as panda bears and lemurs–have evolved ways to process the cyanide. One study conducted in 2011 has also reported that bamboo shoots, when pickled, can cause cyanide poisoning.

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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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