Bioactive compounds in bamboo shoots: health benefits and prospects for developing functional foods

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Juvenile bamboo shoots have long been used as food and in traditional medicine in many Asian countries, but scientific evidences of its health benefits have been highlighted recently. According to ancient Chinese medicinal books, the consumption of young shoots helps in improving digestion, relieving hypertension, sweating, preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer. The young shoots are delicious and rich in nutrient components such as proteins, carbohydrates, minerals and vitamins and bioactive compounds. The health benefits of the young shoots are attributed to the presence of bioactive compounds mainly phenols, phytosterols and dietary fibres, which play a potential role in health promotion and providing protection against many chronic and degenerative diseases. Phenolic compounds in bamboos have multiple biological effects such as antioxidation, anti-ageing, antifatigue, antimicrobial and prevention of cardiovascular diseases. Dietary fibres and phytosterols have a beneficial effect on lipid profile and bowel function and reduce total serum cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level. This study discusses the bioactive compounds in bamboo shoots and how, due to its nutritive value and health benefits, the shoots can be utilised as an ingredient in the development of functional foods.

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