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Are Bamboo Shoots Low in FODMAP?

Kristie Leong M.D. is a family practitioner who believes in the power of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to prevent and fight illness.

Bamboo shoots

Bamboo shoots

Are bamboo shoots low in FODMAP? If you have irritable bowel syndrome, certain types of foods can worsen your symptoms, among these are foods high in FODMAP.

FODMAP foods contain short-chain carbohydrates that your gut doesn't absorb well and, therefore, can be a source of gas and bloating in people with irritable bowel syndrome and in some healthy people too.

If the term is new to you, FODMAP stands for:

The acronym FODMAP stands for:

  • Fermentable: foods that the gut doesn't absorb well but bacteria use to produce gases.
  • Oligosaccharides: short-chain sugars found in wheat, rye, and barley.
  • Disaccharides: lactose (milk sugar), maltodextrin (a polysaccharide), and sucrose (table sugar).
  • Monosaccharides: fructose (fruit sugar) and fructans (found in wheat).
  • Polyols: sorbitol, mannitol, xylitol, and maltitol.

FODMAP foods can trigger or worsen the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in some people. That's why people with IBS try to avoid foods high in FODMAP and stick to a low-FODMAP diet.

FODMAP is found in many foods, including wheat, rye, barley, oats, and other grains; dairy products such as milk and yogurt; legumes like beans, lentils, and soy products; fructose-containing fruits such as apples, pears, and stone fruit; and high fructose corn syrups.

Bamboo incorporated in a dish

Bamboo incorporated in a dish

Bamboo Shoots and FODMAP

But is it safe to eat bamboo shoots if you have IBS and are trying to avoid FODMAP? Bamboo shoots are the edible shoots of many bamboo species and are popular in a wide range of cuisines.

These shoots are a common ingredient in Asian cooking. Chinese medicine practitioners have even also used them for medicinal purposes for centuries, although there’s little scientific evidence to support their benefits for any specific condition. Still, they’re nutrient-dense. First, let’s look at the nutritional analysis of bamboo shoots.

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Nutritional Value of Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots contain only modest quantities of protein and fat and are low in carbohydrates. The carbohydrates in bamboo shoots are balanced by fiber, so eating bamboo shoots shouldn’t cause a sharp rise in blood sugar.

In terms of nutrients, bamboo shoots contain substantial quantities of vitamin B6, copper, and vitamins C and E, two antioxidant vitamins. Other antioxidants in bamboo shoots include polyphenols and selenium. Antioxidants help reduce oxidative stress that damages cells and tissues.

Bamboo shoots do not contain FODMAP in significant quantities. Therefore, they can be part of a low-FODMAP diet. Bamboo shoots may even be beneficial for people who suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) since they’re relatively high in fiber.

Research shows that some people with irritable bowel syndrome benefit from adding more fiber to their diet. Each person is a little different, so consult with a doctor or nutritionist before boosting the fiber content of your diet.

Shredded bamboo shoots

Shredded bamboo shoots

How to Enjoy Low-FODMAP Bamboo Shoots

Bamboo shoots have a neutral taste on their own, but they pair well with other flavors such as ginger or garlic. The easiest way to eat bamboo shoots is to steam them.

First, cut the tips off and peel away the outer leaves. Then slice them lengthwise into thin strips and steam the shoots over a small amount of water, covered, for about 10 minutes or until tender. You can also stir fry them with other vegetables or protein.

Other ways to enjoy bamboo shoots:

  • Steam them until they're tender and dress them with soy sauce, sesame oil, scallions, and garlic for a simple side dish that's delicious with fish or chicken.
  • Sauté bamboo shoots with ginger, garlic, and green onions for an Asian-flavored side dish that goes well with chicken.
  • Add bamboo shoots to soups (like this Thai coconut soup) or stews (like this Chinese hot-and-sour soup). You can also puree the shoots into a creamy soup base by blending them with broth or stock and seasonings like soy sauce, ginger, and garlic (then adding more stock back in).

Why You Should Cook Bamboo Shoots

Always cook bamboo shoots. Raw bamboo shoots contain a type of cyanide called taxiphyllin. The quantities are so small that they’re unlikely to be harmful, but if you eat enough of the raw, you could experience digestive upset. Cooking destroys taxiphyllin and makes bamboo shoots easier to digest.

Conclusion

Are bamboo shoots low in FODMAP? These versatile shoots don’t contain significant FODMAP and are nutritionally dense with a variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They’re also a good source of fiber, which is beneficial for the digestive tract and may be helpful to those with irritable bowel syndrome. Cook the shoots by steaming or stir-frying and enjoy their flavor and nutritional benefits!

References:

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

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