Food & Diet

Betting On Bamboo For Health

From being labelled ‘poor man’s timber’ to donning the title of ‘green gold’, the humble bamboo grass has come a long way. However, much of bamboo’s versatility still remains to be explored. One such largely unexplored area is its myriad health and nutritional benefits.

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Betting On Bamboo For Health
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While concentrated in the warmer tropical, sub-tropical and warm temperate countries of the world, different varieties of bamboo can be found scattered across the globe. The reason is bamboo’s ability to grow rapidly even on marginal land and in a variety of climates. There are drought-resistant species of bamboo that can grow even in the most unyielding terrain.

The cultural and economic significance of bamboo in South, South East and East Asian countries is well-documented. On account of its easy availability and high tensile strength, believed to be two or three times greater than that of traditional timber, bamboo fibre is used in the production of a wide variety of products across various industries:

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Construction: bamboo culm is used as a building material for houses and roofing.

Manufacturing: bamboo is used to make paper, clothes, plywood so on so forth.

Handicraft: the list of bamboo products in this industry is endless, for example, mats, utensils, hats, basket, furniture, and decorative items.

Musical Instruments: bamboo is one the most widely used materials in the manufacture of musical instruments be it string, percussion or wind.

Medicines and cosmetics: bamboo leaves are used in the production of herbal medicine as well as in the production of a number of organic cosmetics.

A Surprising Culinary and Nutritional Delight

Bamboo has been consumed by humans for thousands of years. Although a popular dietary staple in many Asian countries, especially, in the east and south east, the incorporation of bamboo in regular meals in the other parts of the world is only just beginning.

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Bamboo is a healthy and nutrient-laden food item and its regular consumption can bring about a host of health benefits. Bamboo shoots are packed with vitamins and minerals such as:

Vitamin A: essential for good eyesight, hair, and strong bones and teeth.

Vitamin B6: needed to maintain a healthy nervous and immune system. With the rise in zoonotic viruses across the globe, a robust immune system becomes one’s first line of defence against such infections.

Vitamin E: required for healthy skin, hair and nails.

Vitamin B1 or Thiamine: helps keep our brain, heart, muscles, stomach and nervous system in good shape.

Vitamin B3 or Niacin: helps reduce cholesterol and the risk of heart attack as well as decreases the risk of type 1 diabetes.

Vitamin C: as a rich source of this particular vitamin, bamboo consumption helps protect our bodies from infections and various diseases.

Calcium: healthy bones, teeth, muscles and nerve need adequate calcium.

Magnesium: not only helps regulate blood pressure and blood sugar levels but also makes sure our nerve and muscle function are in good health.

Potassium: helps boost heart health and reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack.

Iron: mandatory for red blood cell production and to keep anaemia at bay.

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Healthy Low-carb Alternative

For people who have adopted a low-carb diet either due to some medical condition or in order to lose weight, bamboo is an ideal dietary choice, with its long list of nutrients and rather low level of carbohydrates.

High Fibre Aids Gut Health

Bamboo’s high fibre content ensures regular and healthy bowel movements and prevents constipation. It also prevents diarrhoea and the consequential loss of nutrients from the body.

Some Tips on Preparing Bamboo Meals

It is always better to go for fresh bamboo as compared to the canned or fermented varieties if you’re looking to get the most out of this nutritional storehouse. However, preparing bamboo from scratch can be tricky as fresh bamboo contains toxins harmful to humans. Therefore, it must never be consumed in the raw form. Boil the shoots for at least 20 minutes, peel off the leaves and soak the inside in water for 30 minutes and just like that you are ready to prepare the choicest bamboo meals!

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