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Science Behind New Superfood ‘Kumkum Bhindi’ that Lowers Cholesterol & High BP

Science Behind New Superfood ‘Kumkum Bhindi’ that Lowers Cholesterol & High BP

In 2019, researchers at the Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) developed the Kashi Lalima, or a new superfood variety of okra called red bhindi, which is said to have a host of health benefits.

Growing up, we were told that eating bhindi, or okra, makes our mind sharp, and it is a good source of Vitamin A, K, C & B6. In the past few years, another variety of this vegetable has caught everyone’s attention — red bhindi or kumkum bhindi.

Agriculture experts say that this red bhindi helps reduce bad cholesterol, control high blood pressure, reduce the chances of anaemia, and boost metabolism. 

“Kumkum bhindi has 94 per cent polyunsaturated fat, which reduces bad cholesterol. Along with it, its 66 per cent sodium content is helpful in controlling high blood pressure, while its 21 per cent iron reduces the chances of anaemia, and 5 per cent amount of protein keeps the body’s metabolic system in order,” said a report in The Tribune India. 

The new superfood is also rich in nutrients such as anthocyanins and phenolics, which boost our anti-inflammation capacity. It also contains Vitamin A, C and B Complex.

The fibre present in the vegetable controls sugar.  It’s also low in calories, while being rich in nutrients. 

Developed by Indian Institute of Vegetable Research after 23 years 

Red lady finger flower
Red lady fingers in bloom in a farm

This new variety, called Kashi Lalima, was developed by The Indian Institute of Vegetable Research (IIVR) in 2019, after 23 years of hard work. In a press release, the institute said that this red lady finger is rich in nutrients including antioxidants, iron, and calcium.

Dr Bijendra, former director of the IIVR, started work on the red lady finger in 1995-96. This variant of the okra is purple-red in colour, and the price ranges from Rs 100 – 500 per kg. Until 2019, this variety had to be imported from western countries. Now, farmers in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh are also growing this.

This vegetable is not only beneficial for consumers, but also for farmers, as it gives them a good profit.

Red okras in a farm
Red bhindis offer a host of health benefits

Misrilal Rajput, a Bhopal-based farmer, told ANI that this variety is 5-7 times more expensive than regular lady fingers. “It’s being sold at Rs 75-80 to Rs 300-400 per 250 gm/500 gm in some malls,” he told ANI.

He said that bhindi he grew began sprouting in 40 days, and one could grow anywhere between 40-80 quintals on one acre of land. He also said that no pesticides were used during the cultivation.

This red bhindi can be sown between February and the second week of April. It can also be sown in November.

The IIVR release says that the crop is suitable for both spring summer and rainy seasons. A hectare can grow 14-15 tonnes of the vegetable.


Red ladyfinger – the new superfood’ Published on 07 November, 2021 Courtesy The Tribune

₹800 a kg ‘Bhindi’: Bhopal-based farmer grows red ladyfinger in his garden’ Published on 06 September, 2021 Courtesy Mint

Indian Institute of Vegetable Research

Edited by Divya Sethu

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