Bamboo shoots are considered as one of the useful health food because of their rich contents of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fibres, and minerals and very low fat. Though bamboo shoots provides lots of health benefits, their consumption is confined mostly to Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. The acceptability of bamboo shoots as popular vegetable crop is very less due to their high pungent smell and bitter acidic taste.
The use of bamboo as food in India is mainly restricted to Northeastern part of the country where they form an indispensable part of several traditional speciality dishes. The different ethnic communities take fresh or fermented bamboo shoots as one of most preferred traditional food items.
Bamboo shoots have high content of toxic cyanogenic glycosides which may pose serious health problems. The prospect of bamboo shoot industry in Northeast India is bright due to its rich genetic resources of bamboos.
However, habitat destruction and extensive use of bamboos for food, handicraft, and construction purposes have resulted in severe depletion of natural bamboo resources.
This review stresses upon the high nutritive values and health benefits of bamboo shoots and their usage as important traditional foods in Northeast India.
Raw bamboo shoots are loaded with a type of natural toxin called cyanogenic glycosides. These toxin get destroyed during the cooking process, usually by boiling sliced bamboo shoots in large amounts of water for several times.
Bamboo shoots that grows Japan, China, Taiwan are harvested during summer. In our country, these delicious shoots are staple of shorts in states like Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Jharkhand, Odisha and Karnataka.
Bamboo shoots are a powerhouse of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and minerals. These shoots are very low on fat and sugar making it an ideal snack for the diabetic. The presence of fiber in large quantities known as nutraceuticals helps in dealing with gut issues.
Several studies in recent times revealed that ample amounts of antioxidants, with phenolic compounds in these shoots, help in fighting free radicals and exhibit anti-cancerous, antibiotic and anti-viral properties.
Include these shoots in daily diet to reap the benefits of vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, zinc, manganese and other vital minerals.
One can consume bamboo shoots guilt-free as the calorie count does not exceed 20 calories for every 100 grams. The carbohydrate count is negligible too, as it amounts to 3 to 4 grams per 100-gram serving. These shoots are cardiac patient-friendly, as they contain unsaturated fats that help in fighting against bad cholesterol.
Cardiologists recommend eating bamboo shoots daily as it shields the heart from various cardiac ailments.
Loaded with phytosterol and phytonutrients, these shoots consumed boiled, fermented help in clearing clogged arteries and dissolve bad or LDL cholesterol.
Being a storehouse of vitamins and minerals, these shoots help boosting the immunity. Eat these during the onset of monsoon and winter to stay away from viral and bacterial infections.
These healthy components also aid in the sharp functioning of the brain and prevent the risk of neurodegenative diseases.
In India, the juice extracted from these shoots works against poisoning especially inmcase of snake, scorpion and bites from other venomous creatures. Ayurveda suggests drinking the juice and applying it topically for flushing out the poison.
INDUCES UTERINE CONTRACTION
Bamboo shoots can stimulate uterine contraction thus aiding in normal delivery.
Traditional Chinese Medicine recommends pregnant women in the stage of pregnancy to include bamboo dishes in small amounts to facilitate a normal delivery.
WORKS AS EXPECTORANT
The wide range of vitamins and other compounds present in the shoots strengthen the lungs and improve its functioning. To flush out phlegm from the lungs, boil washed bamboo shoots in hot water for minutes. Cool it down and mix it with honey. Drink it twice as it serves as a natural expectorant. This decoction also helps in easing breathing problems and other respiratory conditions.