Bamboo shoots are perhaps more valuable for what they don’t add to your meals than what they do. While not bursting with nutrients, the Asian vegetables add bulk and texture to foods without piling on fat and calories. If you find fresh shoots in the grocery store, peel and boil them before serving. Canned shoots are readily available in Asian markets and grocery stores; reheat them or serve them chilled. Use bamboo shoots in stir-fries, toss them with pasta or add them to casseroles. Alternatively, marinate cooked or canned shoots in vinegar and oil for an offbeat addition to antipasto dishes.
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Because canned bamboo shoots tend to come in a finer diced form than home-chopped shoots, it’s a good idea to compare the shoots by weight rather than volume. 3.5 oz. of bamboo shoots is just over 3/4 cup of cooked shoots, while 3.5 oz. of canned shoots is almost exactly 3/4 cup. A 3.5 oz. serving of cooked shoots is 12 calories, while canned shoots have 19 calories. Both types have zero or very little fat, sodium or cholesterol. Cooked shoots have 2 carbs, and canned contain 3 carbs. They both offer about 1.6 g protein.
Bamboo shoots are a good source of dietary fiber. A 3.5 oz. serving of cooked shoots delivers 4 percent of the fiber you need each day, and canned shoots provide 6 percent of the daily value, or DV, for fiber. According to the MedlinePlus, fiber helps lower cholesterol and stabilize blood sugar, while helping to regulate your digestion, and might lower your risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer.
Vitamins and Minerals
If your doctor suggests you undertake a DASH, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, meal plan, opt for freshly cooked bamboo shoots over the canned variety. DASH diets emphasize a healthy intake of potassium, a mineral associated with lower blood pressure. A 3.5 oz. serving of home-cooked bamboo shoots provides 15 percent of the DV for potassium, yet the same amount of canned bamboo shoots contains only 2 percent of the potassium you should have each day. Both varieties are good sources of copper, manganese and vitamin B-6. Each also provides at least 2 percent of the DV for riboflavin, phosphorus and zinc.
According to Washington State University, certain compounds in bamboo shoots might hold additional benefits. Some of the compounds, including those known as phenolic acids, might provide antioxidant protection against heart disease and cancer. Another phytochemical in bamboo shoots, lignans, appears to deliver a range of benefits, through antifungal and antiviral properties, as well as possible anti-cancer properties.