Thursday, 17 May 2012

Researchers have identified five super hero foods that will save the world, and incidentally all of them have strong links to Andhra Pradesh

Syed Akbar
Hyderabad:  Researchers have identified five super hero foods
that will save the world, and incidentally all of them have strong
links to Andhra Pradesh.

Green gram, disease-resistant bananas, drought-tolerant maize, scuba
rice and bitter gourd are the top five foods that will not only save
the world, but also keep humanity healthy with increased immunity
against diseases. All these foods have a strong traditional link with
Andhra Pradesh, and in fact, one of them, scuba rice, has been
conceptualised in the State.

The Readers Digest, UK edition, in its recent issue listed these five
foods as the one that will save the world. Researchers in the State
have been busy working on these foods for several years to improve
their nutrition traits on one hand, and productivity on the other.

The city-based International Crops Research Institute for Semi Arid
Tropics (Icrisat) has carried out pioneering research on
drought-tolerant maize, while the World Vegetable Centre located on
the Icrisat campus is busy searching for the ideal bitter gourd with
the maximum momordicin content that could fight diabetes effectively,
besides building up immunity against a plethora of diseases.

Green gram (moong dhal or Pesarpappu) is an inseparable ingredient of
the Andhra kitchen and State-based research institutes including
Icrisat have conducted a number of research studies on this nutritious
legume. Incidentally, green gram is sown in as much as four lakh
hectares in the State.

Scuba rice is the brainchild of local farm scientists and the rice
variety was tested for the first time in the State. It can survive
under flood condition for several days without being damaged. Scuba
rice is best suited for flood-hit areas like coastal regions where
this variety can stay submerged under water for almost two weeks.

The Horticulture Research Centre, Kovvur, has conducted several
studies on disease-resistant bananas. It is also doing research on
banana germplasm and improving the nutrition content of the fruit.

“The World Vegetable Center’s improved mungbean is the result of
decades of research. It has high iron content, and its short maturity,
which allows farmers to include the crop in rice or wheat rotations.
Bitter gourd, with compounds that increase insulin sensitivity, lower
blood glucose, and help regulate glucose uptake, could provide a cheap
way to control rising rates of diabetes, particularly in developing
countries,” point out scientists at the Centre.

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