New Delhi: In an initiative to boost production of locally-grown bamboos, the Tripura government has launched cookies made from bamboo shoots, a sought-after delicacy across Northeast India.
Launching the cookies on the occasion of World Bamboo Day last week (18 September), Chief Minister Biplab Deb said, “Bamboo Cookies are made naturally which makes them healthy and nutritious.”
Bamboo Cookies are made naturally which makes them healthy and nutritious.
I appreciate the hard work of BCDI and Dr. Abhinav Kant for this innovative idea.
— Biplab Kumar Deb (@BjpBiplab) September 18, 2020
He also said, “The bamboo cookies have the capacity to empower rural people. Since the government is focussed on providing self-reliant platforms to young people in Tripura, these initiatives will encourage more people to choose innovative ways of doing trade.”
The cookies, which are a brainchild of the Bamboo and Cane Development Institute (BCDI) in Tripura, are made by adding bamboo shoot paste to wheat flour.
Abhinav Kant, a researcher at the BCDI, said there are plenty of published research that talk about the nutritional benefits of bamboo shoots.
“Bamboo shoots are widely consumed in India, but usually it is used like a vegetable in soups and curries. Bamboo shoots of the species Melocanna baccifera, known as muli bamboo in Tripura, is a local delicacy,” Kant told ThePrint.
He added, “Shoots of muli bamboos are rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, digestive fibres and have less fat content.”
However, he said, they have a short shelf life. Using them to make cookies is one way of extending their shelf life, and also add value to local products.
When produced commercially, Kant said, the cookies should not cost more than other biscuits already available in the market.
‘Storehouse of vitamins’
Kant also said the bamboo cookies contain vital vitamins and minerals that aid in the functioning of immune systems. The low caloric content of these cookies, he said, make them a good choice for people suffering from diabetes.
Priya Kathpal, founder of Nutrify, a Mumbai-based nutrition clinic, also said bamboo shoots are rich in nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals.
The major nutraceuticals in bamboo shoots are phenols, which help protect our bodies from cell damage and phytosterols, a family of molecules related to cholesterol.
“Traditionally, in India, bamboo shoots are used for the treatment of asthma and gastric ulcer by having it as soup. Treatment of chickenpox and other skin diseases are done using bamboo sap. It is also used to control hypertension and cardiovascular disease,” Kathpal told ThePrint.
She also said bamboo shoots are a storehouse of vitamins.
Shweta Khandelwal, head of Nutrition Research at the Public Health Foundation of India, said, “Fresh bamboo shoots usually provide 2.5 grams of protein per 100 grams. They contain 17 amino acids (building blocks of protein), eight of which are essential for the human body. Fat content is less than one per cent and the shoots contain essential fatty acids too.”
She added, “The total sugar content, 2.5 per cent on average, is lower than other vegetables while water content of bamboo shoots is 90 per cent or more.”
Khandelwal also said bamboo shoots are especially important for Indians, many of whom are protein-deficient and lack essential micro-nutrients. “The bamboo shoots have all of these healthy macro and micronutrients.”
Immunology experts have, however, asserted that there is no way for healthy adults to improve their immunity through foods or products. Unless a person has a specific vitamin or mineral deficiency, food products alone cannot confer any additional protection from infectious diseases.
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