Bamboo shoots hold ‘great promise’ as health food and economic driver: Indian study

Bamboo shoots have great potential as a versatile health food, especially in North East India. ©iStock

Bamboo shoots hold great nutritive and economic potential for Northeast India, according to an article by Bodoland University and the Maharani Lakshmi Ammanni College for Women.

Researchers noted that despite bamboo’s health benefits and India being among “the richest countries in bamboo resources”, its actual potential has never been properly assessed.

The article stated that bamboo shoots are high in minerals and nutrient components such as carbohydrates, fibre and proteins, and low in fat and sugar, which could help to alleviate problem of malnutrition in India.

Additionally, there have been studies that demonstrated the health benefits of bamboo shoots in treating cancer and cardiovascular diseases, helping with weight loss, and improving digestion.

Bamboo shoots have long been used for a wide range of culinary and medicinal purposes in China, India and parts of South East Asia. However, there is a lack of awareness regarding their medicinal properties and nutrient components and as such, “the prospects of its utilisation as a dietary supplement”.

Blood pressure benefit

Bamboo shoots are rich in dietary fibres like cellulose, lignin, hemicelluloses and pectin, and have been found to be a “good source of vitamin E, vitamin C, B6, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin, along with vitamin A, vitamin B1, and vitamin B3”. They also contain much more free amino acid, protein and dietary fibre than other types of vegetables.

Furthermore, certain bamboo species contain more selenium, which aids fertility and natural growth. It has also been used in parts of Southeast Asia to treat paralysis and relieve hypertension, and its high potassium content helps to maintain normal blood pressure.

The article pegged bamboo shoots as a rich source of antioxidant compounds that holds great promise as a health food, but its potential in India is limited by the production of edible bamboo species being confined only to certain pockets of the country.

In this regard, India falls behind several other Asian countries, such as China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, where the bamboo shoot-based industry is well established, expanding quickly and generating high profits.

The article concluded that with “no disturbance to biodiversity, if bamboo (shoots) are popularised as food and commercial production is taken up on a large scale, it will contribute enormously to rural economies” and boost export wages.

 

Source: 3 Biotech

https://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s13205-017-0796-4

“Bamboo shoots as a nutritive boon for Northeast India: an overview”

Authors: Anusriti Basumatary, et al.

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