The bamboo plant is a member of the grass family. Bamboo that has been growing for three to four years develop new shoots from underneath its intricate root system. These newly-formed shoots are then gathered as they are considered edible veggies that can be included in many health recipes. Bamboo varieties that are categorized as edibles belong to Bambusa bambos, Bambusa tulda, B. polymorpha, B balcooa, Dendrocalamus hemiltonii, D gigentius, and Melocanna baccifera to name a few.
Depending on the species, edible bamboo shoots start to grow above the surface in different seasons of the year. The young, cone-shaped shoots are then severed directly from their roots using a spade and are then washed before preparation.
A bamboo shoot’s exterior features several layers of touch leaves. Once these layers are peeled off, the shoot will then showcase its central white heart or its creamy meat portion. The valuable meat is the edible portion of the bamboo shoot. The heart boasts a crunchy texture coupled with its uniquely mild flavor. Once cooked, bamboo shots develop a rather neutral taste.
Health benefits of bamboo shoots
- One small, 100 gram serving of bamboo shoots yields 27 calories only. This is excellent for those trying to lose some weight.
- Bamboo shoots are high in fiber. A 100 gram serving bamboo shoots delivers 2.2 grams of roughage. Dietary fibers help in the management of digestive issues such as constipation. It also decreases bad cholesterol levels as the fibers harbor unsaturated fat in the intestinal canal. High-fiber food items such as bamboo shoots help in reducing risk of developing colorectal cancer as they efficiently protect the intestines from toxic chemicals found in processed foods.
- The bamboo shoots meat or the heart is rich in B-complex vitamins such as Vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, and niacin. B vitamins are crucial for optimum cellular enzymatic activity and metabolic functions.
- Bamboos shoots are rich in minerals such as copper and magnesium. They also contain small amounts of beneficial mineral such as phosphorus, calcium, and iron. The mineral, manganese functions as a co-factor of the antioxidant enzyme called superoxide dismutase. On the other hand, copper is crucial in the production of red blood cells. Lastly, iron facilitates red blood cell formation and cellular respiration.
- Bamboo shots high levels of potassium. A 100-gram serving of fresh bamboo shoots contains up to 533 mg of potassium; that’s as much as 11% of the daily recommended potassium intake. This mineral is an important component of cell as well as bodily fluids as it assists in controlling heart rate. In addition, it counteracts the effects of sodium during blood pressure regulation.
Safety profile of bamboo shoots
It is quite rare for people to develop allergic reactions during bamboo shoots consumption. It is a well tolerated vegetable and can be cooked in various ways. Bamboo shoots feature taxyphyllin- a type of cyanogenic glycoside that is crucial in cellular respiration. Matured bamboo shoots contain more glycosides than fresh ones. Treat young shoots in boiling water, as the process destroys the toxic compounds that may be found in bamboo shoots.