Originating in tropical climates, bamboo shoots are a hearty source of plant-based nutrition. In this article we’ll be going over some of the benefits of bamboo shoots you’ll enjoy when including them in your diet.
In short, the main benefits of bamboo shoots is that they’re very low in calories. They also contain lots of protein, fiber, and very few net carbohydrates. Additionally, they’re loaded with potassium, packing 768 mg per shoot (or 144 g).
Let’s examine these details a little more closely.
What Are Bamboo Shoots?
Bamboo shoots are the edible young shoots of various species of bamboo. They’ve been consumed in Asian countries for centuries and are now gaining popularity around the world as a healthy, flavorful addition to many dishes.
They’re prepared by peeling the outer casing to reach the edible inner core and then cooking it– usually in boiling water.
Bamboo shoots must be cooked before eating. When eaten raw, certain species can contain a toxin known as cyanogenic glycoside, which can have adverse effects when consumed.
When thoroughly cooked, bamboo shoots have a slightly sweet taste and crunchy texture. They are often used as an ingredient in soups, stir-fries, and curries.
As tasty and versatile as they are, the greatest benefits of bamboo shoots are found in their nutritional contents.
Bamboo shoots are comparative to hearts of palm, nutritionally-speaking. The table below depicts the nutrition facts for a 144-gram serving of bamboo shoots that have been cooked, boiled and drained:
|Serving Size||1 Shoot (144g)|
|Total Carbohydrates||2.2 g|
|Total Fat||0.3 g|
|Saturated Fat||0.1 g|
|Vitamin B6||7% DV|
Benefits Of Bamboo Shoots
Let’s have a look at some of these nutritional benefits in greater detail.
1. They’re Low In Calories
One of the greatest benefits of bamboo shoots is how low they are in calories. A single shoot, or 144 grams, contains only 15.8 calories. This means that you could eat over 1,000 grams of food and it would only be roughly 150 calories!
Calories are important because they’re the unit of measurement used to gauge energy consumption.
Consuming more calories than your body uses in a day is associated with weight gain, whereas consuming less is associated to weight loss. In fact, according to Harvard School of Public Health, diets that reduce caloric intake lead to weight loss regardless of whether those calories are made up of carbs, proteins or fats.
Bamboo shoots can be advantageous because they allow you to consume a larger volume of food for less calories.
2. Packed With Potassium
Possibly the greatest benefit bamboo shoots have to offer is their potassium content.
Potassium is an essential electrolyte and mineral that serves various purposes in the body. It helps manage fluid balance, electrical pulses, and more.
Additionally, potassium intake is associated with lower blood pressure, according to the Harvard Health Publishing website.
Just a single bamboo shoot packs 768 mg of potassium— or 22% of the Daily Value!
3. Low In Carbohydrates
Another benefit you’ll enjoy when including bamboo shoots in your diet is that they’re low in carbohydrates. Furthermore, they also contain no sugar.
This is advantageous for those following a ketogenic (or “keto”) diet where carb calories are displaced by fat and protein calories.
Bamboo shoots only contain 2.2 grams of carbohydrates per serving, which becomes even less once you subtract the fiber calories to get the net carb count.
4. Contains Fiber
Fiber is an indigestible carbohydrate that is responsible for removing waste from the body and has numerous health benefits. According to Mayo Clinic, fiber can help:
- Normalize bowel movements
- Lower cholesterol
- Control blood sugar levels
- And more
Just a single 144-gram serving of bamboo shoots contains 1.4 grams of fiber. This may not seem like a lot, but it is in comparison to just how few calories (15.8) it really is.
When scaled up to a 150-calorie serving size, bamboo shoots would have roughly 14 grams!
5. Plant-Based Protein
Protein is made up of amino acids and is required by the body to build and repair tissue, and bamboo shoots are also an excellent source of it.
A single serving of bamboo shoots contains 2.2 grams of protein, which may not seem like a lot, but certainly is a significant amount on a per-calorie basis.
In fact, bamboo shoots get more calories from protein than they do from any other macronutrient.
6. Vitamins & Minerals
Finally, bamboo shoots contain various vitamins and minerals, such as:
- Calcium, a mineral that plays a role in bone health.
- Zinc, a trace mineral that plays a role in DNA creation and immune health.
- Iron, which helps transport oxygen throughout the body.
- Copper, a mineral used to create blood vessels and connective tissue.
- Selenium, a mineral and antioxidant found in soil that helps protect cells from free radical damage.
- Vitamin B6, which is important for brain development and nervous system health.
The amounts found in bamboo shoots vary by nutrient and serving size. Be sure to check the nutrition data to know for sure how much you’re getting.
The Bottom Line
In conclusion, the benefits of bamboo shoots are plentiful. From being low in calories and carbs, to being high in fiber and packed with essential vitamins and minerals– bamboo shoots can be a fantastic addition to a diet.