Written by Ambili Kartha
Bamboo shoots are edible shoots found mostly in Asian countries. They are seasonal and also harvested. Harvest of bamboo shoots happens during spring or early summer. They are much sought after for their unique taste and flavor and the concern here is whether one can eat bamboo shoots during pregnancy.
Bamboo shoots should never be eaten raw. They can be boiled and blended in a variety of dishes. The shoots may be added to salads, stew, soups, and gravies. Bamboo shoots are prepared as pickles too. The medicinal properties and nutritious value of bamboo shoots are a reason why they can be consumed during pregnancy.
In This Article
Bamboo shoots are young sprouts that emerge from the ground during the early stages of the growth of bamboo plants. They are also known as bamboo sprouts and are edible. They are widely used in Asian countries as vegetables in broth and dishes. The bamboo shoots are harvested in their early stages when they are tender and flavorful.
Bamboo shoots are available fresh, canned, and also dried. But, before consuming, the toxins present in this vegetable must be destroyed through cooking or naturally during the canning process. Today bamboo shoots are popular in cuisines all over the world.
Nutritionists give the green signal to pregnant women to have bamboo shoots throughout their pregnancy. These shoots are highly nutritious and contain copper, vitamin B6, and vitamin E, and can be enjoyed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. The dietary fiber content in bamboo shoots helps prevent constipation. Bamboo shoots possess nutrients that are very important for the health of a pregnant woman and her baby. The shoots are good, especially, for the heart, digestive system, and immunity.
There seem to be no known risks so far associated with the consumption of bamboo shoots during pregnancy. The recommended frequency of the vegetable in the diet can be limited to one or two times per month. Even during early pregnancy, there is no need to avoid consuming bamboo shoots.
Bamboo shoots are power packed with goodness and they protect the body from many infections. Vitamin content in the shoots acts as a buffer against inflammation and chronic diseases. The mineral copper contributes to brain function and skin health. The benefits of having bamboo shoots during pregnancy are many, like –
The vitamins and minerals present in bamboo shoots strengthen immunity. These shoots also enhance the sharp functioning of the brain and prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
High dietary fiber helps in digestion and keeps one full for a long time. Bamboo shoots are low in carbohydrates, sugars, and calories and help keep weight in check.
[Read : Carbohydrates During Pregnancy]
Consuming bamboo shoots improves blood circulation and the high content of potassium helps to maintain blood pressure.
Studies show that blood sugar levels can be regulated by eating bamboo shoots. Maintaining low glucose levels can reduce the risk of diabetes.
[Read : Gestational Diabetes]
Bamboo shoots aid in normal delivery by controlling uterine contractions. Traditional medicines advise its consumption during the last trimester of pregnancy to induce natural labor.
Bamboo shoots should be properly cooked or processed well for safety. Cooking the bamboo shoots helps eliminate their toxic compounds and it is best to add them to your diet in moderation. The shoots can be boiled, soaked, or even dried before consuming. There are no known risks or reliable sources of information indicating any side effects when taken in moderation.
You can consume bamboo shoots during pregnancy, but there are some instances where it is advisable to avoid or limit its consumption. Since bamboo shoots are not available fresh all year round, the alternate processed food should be taken in limited quantities. You can always check with your doctor first regarding your dietary intake. Some of the instances, when one should avoid having bamboo shoots, are-
Apart from harvested bamboo shoots, you may have access to wild sources or places where sanitation is of concern. If you are unsure about the quality, it is better to avoid having them.
Bamboo shoots are fairly easy to prepare. The fibrous outer layers need to be removed first. They can be cooked for 20 to 30 minutes to soften them. The bamboo shoots can then be stir-fried or used in soups or broth for individual preference. Bamboo shoots can also be steamed and seasoned with herbs or spices to retain the natural flavor and nutrients.
Some simple ways to incorporate bamboo shoots into your diet are-
Prepare the curry with mild spices, onions, tomatoes, and boiled bamboo shoots with salt. It can be teamed with other vegetables too.
Blanched bamboo shoots can be sliced and combined with grated carrots, cucumber, and some herbs of your choice to make a simple salad.
Boiled bamboo shoots can be sliced into thin strips and stir-fried till they soften but you can still retain the crunch if necessary. Season them with sauces or spices.
Cut the well-cooked bamboo shoots into small pieces or thin slices and boil them with vegetable broth or chicken broth. Add salt and pepper and once the flavors are blended, a nutritious soup is ready.
The bamboo shoots can be sliced into required pieces and steamed for 20 to 30 minutes and a light dressing or sauce can be added to serve as a side dish. Steamed shoots can be a splendid topping for rice or noodles.
Bamboo shoots can be safely consumed by pregnant women when they are properly cooked and prepared. The shoots offer a variety of nutrients, including dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Each pregnancy is different, so dietary recommendations may vary due to factors like allergies, medical conditions, and overall health. Remember not to take excessive quantities as it may cause discomfort. Always consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Raw bamboo shoots are hard to eat for obvious reasons. However, the process of boiling, blanching, or stir-frying bamboo shoots helps soften them and makes them easier to digest.
It is possible for bamboo shoots to cause gas in some individuals. This is mainly due to the high fiber content or due to the sensitive digestive system of the individual.
Bamboo shoots are not known to cause constipation. As they are rich in fiber, they in fact promote proper bowel movement.
During pregnancy, it is essential to consume properly prepared bamboo shoots in moderation.
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