Bamboo tends to be more of a restaurant title than a main ingredient – think Bamboo Garden with a lunchtime buffet instead of a heart-healthy ingredient for your home-cooked dinner. But bamboo, long a diet staple and a cure for what ails you in Asian countries, could easily be a important ingredient in the fight against cancer and heart disease in the United States.
Already, we know that bamboo charcoal and bamboo vinegar are purifying agents that can keep us healthy whether it’s with their antibacterial properties or as a source of Far Infrared Rays that can be absorbed by the human body to help improve circulation. (Much of this can be attributed to the presence of phenols which give bamboo its antioxidant, antibacterial and antiviral properties, the study found.)
But now researchers have found that bamboo contains antioxidants, an important buzzword for the fight against cancer. An article published in Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety pointed out that bamboo shoots “contain anti-carcinogenic agents,” and that “bamboo-derived pyrolysates have been proposed to have antimicrobial and antifungal activites and to protect neurons from oxidative stress.”
For those seeking a healthier diet, there is more good news about the health benefits off bamboo shoots. The study, led by Nirmala Chongtham, a botany professor at Panjap University, found that research suggests that they [bamboo shoots] possess health benefits “from cancer prevention and weight loss to lowering cholesterol levels.”
Young bamboo shoots “are rich in nutrient components, mainly proteins, carbohydrates, minerals, and fibre and are low in fat and sugar.” While some may take multi-vitamins daily, one could easily pop some bamboo shoots as they are a good source of thiamine, niacin, vitamins A, B6, and E, potassium, calcium, manganese, zinc, copper, iron, and chromium, and contain 17 different amino acids, eight of which are essential for human health.
And if you trying to combat a lifetime of greasy food or just eat a healthier diet, throw some bamboo shoots into a salad to take advantage of the phytosterols, phytonutrients that are similar to cholesterol yet have been shown to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestinal tract and help lower “bad” LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
Some smaller markets in the States actually carry bamboo fiber that can easily be added to baked goods, sauces, cereals and other foods in your pantry.
So not only can you make your diet more eco-friendly by including a sustainable ingredient like bamboo, but you can make it healthier too!
For delicious recipes to incorporate into your menu, visit Green Earth News Bamboo Flavors section.