The Nutritional Facts of Bamboo Shoots and Their Usage as Important Traditional Foods of Northeast India
Abstract, International Scholarly Research Notes, 2014
Bamboo shoots are considered as one of the useful health foods because of their rich contents of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fibres, and minerals and very low fat. Though bamboo shoots provide lots of health benefits, their consumption is confined mostly to Southeast Asian and East Asian countries. The acceptability of bamboo shoots as popular vegetable crop is very less due to their high pungent smell and bitter acidic taste. The use of bamboo as food in India is mainly restricted to Northeastern part of the country where they form an indispensable part of several traditional speciality dishes. The different ethnic communities take fresh or fermented bamboo shoot as one of most preferred traditional food items. Some of the important bamboo based traditional foods are ushoi, soibum, rep, mesu, eup, ekhung, hirring, and so forth. Bamboo shoots should be properly processed before they are consumed as freshly harvested shoots have high content of toxic cyanogenic glycosides which may pose serious health problems. The prospect of bamboo shoot industry in Northeast India is bright due to its rich genetic resources of bamboos. However, habitat destruction and extensive use of bamboos for food, handicraft, and construction purposes have resulted in severe depletion of natural bamboo resources. This review stresses upon the high nutritive values and health benefits of bamboo shoots and their usage as important traditional foods in Northeast India. The bamboo market potential of the region and use of in vitro plant micropropagation methods as effective means of bamboo conservation are also emphasized in this paper.