Anyone who has been to Asia or has seen any kind of Asian film might already know that bamboo can be used as a lightweight building material for furniture, blinds, fencing, simple houses and even scaffolding. However you also know that you can eat bamboo, or more specifically bamboo shoots. The young shoots that emerge from the ground are tender and full of nutritional value. If you are trying to lose weight, then you should really pay attention this food and find a way to work it into your diet.
Low in Calories
One cup of boiled bamboo shoots contains just 14 calories. That is a much less than most other types of vegetables. For example, broccoli has over twice as many calories. In addition to this, bamboo shoots are a very high in fiber. This means that you will feel more full after eating them and will be able to resist snacking on more fatty foods. Of course, counting calories can be counter productive sometimes and we are certainly not telling you to skip the broccoli or other veggies. We are saying that bamboo shoots are a great way to mix up your diet and to help you from getting too bored eating the same things day in day out!
The high fiber content means that they are also great for lowering cholesterol. A study of women that was published in the journal Nutrition showed that those who ate bamboo shoots for a period of 6 days had decreased cholesterol levels compared to those who didn’t eat them. In addition, the chemicals responsible for lowering cholesterol are also known to have anti-inflammatory properties which means less aches and pains after a hard work out, among other things.
The same study in the journal Nutrition also showed that the women who ate them had a greater number of bowel movements compared to the women who didn’t eat any. It is easy to get squeamish about matters such as bowel movements and so on, but they are such a vitally important and often overlooked part of good health that you must pay attention. It is the high fiber content that leads to the benefit of easier and more regular bowel movements. Many adults don’t get enough fiber in their diet, so adding this food to your meals is a good way to ensure that you are getting enough fiber.
High Levels of Potassium
One cup of boiled bamboo shoots provides 18 percent of the recommended daily requirement for potassium. The body uses potassium as an electrolyte, and it is important for maintaining a proper balance of fluid levels in the cells. This is especially important in hotter climates where you sweat more, but also if you are beginning to exercise regularly and therefore sweating more. A diet containing potassium rich foods can decrease the risk of high blood pressure and eating this food can lower your chances of developing hypertension.
Source of Vitamin B6
Bamboo shoots are also a great source of natural (read non sports/ energy drink) vitamin B6. This vitamin is important for healthy skin and an individual with a deficiency of vitamin B6 can develop anemia and dermatitis. This will often be accompanied by cheilosis, which is the cracking of the skin at the corners of the mouth. It’s good to eat a wide variety of vegetables to cover all of your vitamin needs, and bamboo shoots are definitely part of this.
So now that you know some of the great nutritional benefits of bamboo shoots you begin to attempt cooking with them which is part of the fun of maintaining a healthy life style. They go well in Asian style stir-fried dishes and curries. You can also add them sliced to soups. Try using them in many different ways. With so few calories per serving, it’s pretty much impossible to eat too many!