Chukandar is one of the prized healthy vegetables in the world. In this article, we tell you of its origins, the healthy nutrients it packs, and how it can benefit you in everyday living.
When I first saw the word Chukandar on a product label, I thought it is an exotic vegetable. Turns out it was the Hindi name for beet, a root I enjoyed on almost a daily basis. After years of relying on packaged beets, I started hunting for farm-fresh beets. Pickled beets were healthy but I wanted the experience of fermenting them myself. When I got the formula right, I have never looked back. In this blog, I share with you the history of beets and the health benefit I get from them each day.
Where did Chukandar (Beets) come from?
Chukandar dates far back as 300 BC. The ancient Greeks cultivated beetroot and consumed only the leaves. The Greeks offered the roots as a sacrifice to the sun god Apollo. The Greeks considered beetroot as valuable as silver. It is also rumored that beets were part of the plantation in the hanging gardens of Babylon.
In Neolithic Europe, beetroot was a popular plant among the early dwellers of the Netherlands. In Early Egypt, beetroot was common vegetation around the Saqqara pyramid in Thebes.
Beet came in handy in a variety of applications. Not only was it consumed as food, but traditional doctors also used the leaves to bind and dress wounds. Some people used beet as a cure for fever as well as a laxative. In other ancient communities, people believed they could prolong their life by consuming Chukandar.Beet was so scarce as a plant that the Greek considered it valuable as silver. When industrialization started happening, Chukandar became more available. After the 2nd World War, beet became scarce again and one could only buy it as pickled beets.
Today Chukandar is available in grocery stores and backyard gardens. This plant has several variants but red beet is more common.
What are the type of Chukandar (Beet) roots?
Chukandar comes in a variety of colors and sizes. The variants available include
- Red Beets
- Chioggia Beets
- Baby Beets
- Golden Beets
Red beets are more popular compared to the other types of beets. They have a great shelf-life and have a wide range of applications. When buying fresh red beets, I would suggest buying them with the green leaves still attached. They are fresher in this state.
Chioggia beets have unique circular stripes on the inside. They look red on the outside but have a yellow and white tinge inside. They are great if you want to add color to your salads. When cooked, the unique striping usually disappears.
Baby beets earn their name from how tiny they look. They are beetroot that have not fully matured from the farm. Farmers pull them out to reduce overcrowding on the farm. They still are edible and considered the softest and leafiest of beets.
Golden beets are a little like Chioggia beets in color. The only difference is that they are golden on the outside and inside. They also do not have the striping of Chioggia beets. These beets are not as sweet as their red variants. They are great for adding color to salad and taste great when roasted.
What are the health benefits of Chukandar (Beet) root?
If it were possible, I would consume Chukandar every single day of my life. But then I will have to worry about red colored urine and other major side effects of beet. When consumed in moderation, Chukandar has a host of health benefits.
- Heart health
Chukandar is full of nitrates that are healthy for the heart. Regular consumption of beet juice lowers the risk of myocardial disease. Beet improves oxygenation in the blood that travels to the heart muscles. this promotes a healthy heart even in old age.
- Optimizes blood pressure
The nitrates in Chukandar also helps in lowering blood pressure. Consuming beet raw or in its juice form helps lower blood pressure within a month. The nitrates convert into nitric oxide which helps blood vessels expand. This promotes ample blood circulation that leads to optimum blood pressure.
- Can prevent cancer
Beet is one of the healthy foods that can help fight cancer. Beet juice contains anticancer properties that reduce free radicals in the body. This can help fight breast, skin, lung, and prostate cancer.
- Promotes a healthy liver
Chukandar or beetroot is rich in antioxidants that help detoxify the liver. This plant also packs B vitamins, betaine, calcium, and iron which nourish the liver. Beet fiber clears toxins from liver ensuring they do not get to the body. There are traces of zinc and copper in beet which help in generation of new liver cells.
Another of the Chukandar health benefits is giving the body an energy boost. Drinking Chukandar juice just before working out helps your muscle use less energy. Beetntain ingredients that moderate the use of adenosine triphosphate by the muscles. Since you are using less energy even in intense workouts, you do not burn out easily.
Beet juice has become an important part of my life. Thankfully, I have never had to complain about any side effects of taking Chukandar. I also discovered the option of fermenting beets to reduce the sugar content. This only leaves me with the Chukandar benefits I want without worrying about a sugar spike.
How many times can I take beetroot in a day?
About one glass of Chukandar juice a day is enough. If you work out regularly, two glasses a day will do.
When is the best time to take Chukandar?
Early morning before breakfast or exercising. You can also take beet juice a few hours before going to sleep.
Can you take carrot and Chukandar together?
Blending carrot and beet together creates a powerful detoxifier. This can help knock a few years off your face.
Is fermented Chukandar good?
Fermented beet is healthier because it has less sugar content compared to red beet.