Today, bamboo is used in a ton of different ways. In fact, you’ll find that on this site we feature many products derived from bamboo as often times they are bio-degradable and leave less of an environmental footprint than their plastic or metal-based alternatives.
Although you’ve likely heard that many bamboo-based products are considered environmentally friendly, you may not be aware of many of the other benefits that bamboo has to offer. In this post, I’m going to cover the 3 main categories of bamboo benefits: eating bamboo, medicinal, and environmental.
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A Little Background About Bamboo
Bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Once they reach a certain age, their growth rate will skyrocket and will begin growing between 3-4 feet per day!
Bamboo is a perennial plant meaning that it goes dormant for the winter and starts growing again once temperatures begin to increase. It’s predominantly grown and harvested in Asian regions including China, Taiwan, Japan, etc, however, can be found in any continent except for Antartica.
As I’ve already mentioned, bamboo shoots can be used for a variety of different purposes. Check out each section below to learn more about the vast number of ways bamboo is beneficial.
Benefits of Eating Bamboo
Bamboo shoots can be consumed and purchased either fresh or canned. A few benefits of eating bamboo shoots include:
- Low in calories – One cup of bamboo shoots cut into slices contains only 14 calories and half a gram of fat.
- A source of protein – You’ll get about 6.5 – 7.5 grams of protein per cup of bamboo shoots.
- Good source of fiber – One cup of sliced bamboo shoot provides about 2.5 grams of fiber (about 10% of your daily recommended value)
- Rich in vitamins and minerals – Vitamins include: vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate and pantothenic acid. Minerals found include calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, sodium, zinc, copper, manganese, selenium and iron.
- Low in sugar – One cup of bamboo shoots contains about 8.5 grams of sugar which is less sugar than what is found in most fruits and vegetables.
- High in potassium – Bamboo shoots are quite high in potassium. In fact, one cup of fresh bamboo shoots provides you with about 37% of your daily recommended potassium intake.
- Easy to incorporate into your dish – Bamboo shoots can be used in a variety of dishes. You can use them for making pickles, incorporate them into your stir fry, use them in soups, or even make bamboo wine!
Medical Benefits of Bamboo
Bamboo shoots also have many medicinal benefits, making them a great alternative to certain medicines that can be harmful to the environment and yourself. A few medicinal benefits of bamboo shoots include:
- Strengthens the immune system – Due to the number of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants found in bamboo shoots, consuming them can help strengthen your immune system and in turn, help prevent you from getting sick.
- Can be used as an anti-inflammatory – Certain researchers have discovered that bamboo can be used to treat various inflammatory conditions as well as help in the healing process of ulcers.
- Helps with weight loss – As the sugar content and caloric count of bamboo shoots are quite low, using them as a substitute for other high-calorie snacks is an easy way to lose weight.
- Helps lower blood pressure – Potassium is beneficial for those looking to lower or maintain good blood pressure. Since bamboo is quite high in potassium, it is a great, all-natural way to keep your blood pressure in check.
- Improves digestion – As mentioned above, bamboo is also a good source of dietary fiber. Consuming dietary fiber helps improve digestion, maintain healthy bowel movements, and can also boost your appetite.
- Can help heal respiratory diseases – Black bamboo has been known to help treat respiratory diseases and is used as a mucous purger. To aid in the respiratory healing process, you can boil bamboo shoots to create a tea which can then be mixed with honey.
- Speeds up wound recovery time – Bamboo leaf juice contains methanol which cleans and heals wounds.
- Helps with constipation – As previously mentioned above, bamboo contains high amounts of dietary fiber thus promoting healthy bowel movements and curing constipation.
- Reduces risk of cancer – Bamboo shoots have been reported to have anti-cancer, antibacterial, and antiviral activity. Thus, not only potentially preventing cancers from forming but also curing cardiovascular diseases and cancers.
Environmental Benefits of Bamboo
As I’ve already covered, bamboo is one of the fastest-growing plants in the world. Making it extremely renewable and less impactful on the environment. A few environmental benefits of bamboo shoots include:
- Air purifier – Bamboo palm was given an air purifying score of 8.4/10 by space exploration organization – NASA. With this plant simply present in a room, it will purify the air from formaldehyde, xylene, and carbon monoxide.
- Can be used as a substitute in many everyday products – As we’ve proven many times on this site, bamboo can be used as a replacement for many products that were previously made with plastics or other materials which are less renewable. Since bamboo grows so quickly and doesn’t leave a large environment footprint, it is a great substitute product. As an example check out our bamboo bathrobe review.
- Can be used as livestock fodder – Bamboo can be used as livestock fodder (which is any agricultural foodstuff used specifically to feed domesticated livestock).
- Fuel source – Bamboo can be used as a source of fuel. In fact, there’s already a bamboo-fired power plant, located in Japan, using bamboo as its main source of fuel. This plant is said to produce enough electricity for 4,860 households throughout the year using locally-sourced bamboo.
As was highlighted in this article, there are multiple benefits to using bamboo shoots. Whether for medicinal, environmental or just for eating, you can experience benefits from bamboo in many ways. Best of all, if you’ve got a green thumb, bamboo is relatively easy to grow and the bamboo seeds themselves are inexpensive. For a step-by-step process of how to plant and care for your bamboo plant, I would recommend checking out this guide.
Furthermore, to see which bamboo products we currently have featured on Ecoshopr, visit our bamboo section. If you have any experience in planting bamboo or know of any additional benefits that this amazing plant offers, leave us a comment in the section below!