Shyam Kanak: A New Healthy Wheat (E)

Usual wheat is golden coloured but a new variety of wheat which is black, purple or blue in colour has been making inroads. Since it is dark in colour let's call it `Shyam Kanak’! This is more healthy say scientists. The seed coat or the grain is coloured.This is not a GM crop as it has been produced through traditional breeding and not made using genetic engineering. This anthocyanin bio-fortified coloured wheat with improved nutritional quality has been developed by Dr Monika Garg, from the National Agri-Food Biotechnology Institute (NABI), Mohali, Punjab. Garg says `long term obesity, poor nutrition or pollutants in environment, lead to chronic oxidative stress in the body that results in increased level of free radicals and cellular dysregulation. In such a case, our body becomes more prone to life style disorders like obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, cancer, aging etc. Consuming sufficient amount of anti-oxidants in our diet helps in removing free radicals from our body and thus lifestyle disorders are prevented. Anthocyanins are good antioxidants that are present in fruits like blueberries, blackberries, jamun etc. We must have sufficient amount of coloured fruits in our diet and recommended daily allowance is 500 gms of fruits every day to prevent oxidative stress. Consuming coloured wheat rich in anthocyanins on daily basis is a viable option against consumption of fruits. It gives an opportunity to help revitalize our body and cashing the richness of fruits without the fear of consuming high sugar content. It is also higher in dietary fibers, iron and zinc compared to normal wheat.’ Farmers are adopting colored wheat, despite its lower yield, but it needs a market and food processing industry should embrace the new `Shyam Kanak’. "

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