Everything you read and hear about the benefits of chukandar says it is the best thing you could put in your mouth, but can you possibly have too much of it? Read on to find out if there are any negatives linked to this super food.
Beets, or chukandaras my Indian clients like to call it, is a popular vegetable for healthy juices and salads. It has been touted as ‘gold’ where nutrition is concerned. As a nutritionist, I also have to caution my clients against consumption of too much chukandar.
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What is Chukandar?
Beetroot is the taproot part of the beet plant. It is grown and consumed in most parts of the world and goes by different names in each part. In North America, it is known as the table beet, garden beet, golden beet or red beet. In Chinese it is called Hong caitou, in Spanish it is known as ‘remolchas’ and Chukandar in Hindi.
Chukandar ispacked with nutrients and is low in calories. It contains 2% protein, 10% carbohydrates, 88% water and 1% fat. A standard measure of 100 grams of chukandar contains only 43 grams of calories.This makes it a favorite for healthy smoothies, salads and juices.
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Chukandar Health Benefits
There are many health benefits of chukandar. These include:
Lowers Blood Pressure
Chukandar is a great way to lower your blood pressure quickly and naturally. Research shows that drinking a glass of chukandar juice helps to lower blood pressureby an average of five points. Nitrates in chukandar dilate blood vessels which causes blood pressure to drop. Reduced blood pressure also helps heart muscles relax. This effect is observed most clearly 2 to 3 hours after consuming the juice.
Lowers Bad Cholesterol Levels.
There are two types of cholesterol. These are low density lipoproteinsand high density lipoproteins.LDLs are considered bad cholesterol and HDLs are good cholesterol. When LDL levels in your body are high, cholesterol builds up on the walls of blood vessels. This could eventually block blood flow from the heart and cause a heart attack.
Chukandar is very rich in betacyanin. It is this compound that gives it its deep red color. Betacyanin is a very powerful antioxidant which reduces oxidation of LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and inhibits LDL cholesterol deposits on the walls of the arteries. This is how chukandar protects from heart attacks and strokes.
Crucial For Normal Fetal Development
Chukandar is one of the richest sources of folic acid which is usually given to expectant mothers in form of chemical supplements. Folic acid is responsible for normal development and formation of an unborn baby’s spinal cord. It therefore prevents irreversible medical conditions like spina bifida. This is a defect where a child is born with the spinal cord deformed at the base. Chukandar also helps to boost energy in pregnant mothers who often complain of excessive fatigue.
Side Effects of Chukandar
Chukandaris indeed an exceptionally nutritious vegetable. Despite this, you could experience some negative effects as a result of consumption of large amounts or if you are predisposed to certain conditions associated with it.
The key symptom of beeturia is pink or reddish urine. It is caused by consumption of large quantities of chukandar over a short time. Although it is harmless, it can be quite disturbing for someone who is not familiar with it because it appears to be bloody urine.
Chukandar is very high in oxalate. Kidney stones are formed when certain types of minerals such as calcium, combine with oxalate to form stones in the kidney. If you have a history of kidney stones then consumption of large quantities of chukandar may cause a recurrence. If you already have kidney stones then chukandar is likely to make the condition worse.
Sudden Drop in Blood Pressure
Chukandar is praised as an effective, natural way to drop blood pressure in hypertensive people. In this case it is very useful. In situations where your blood pressure is already low, drinking a glass of chukandar juice further lowers it and could lower it to unhealthy levels. Low blood pressure is not considered dangerous until one displays symptoms such as fatigue, blurry vision, dizziness and fainting. In severe cases it could be fatal because the brain and other organs are deprived of blood flow, oxygen and nutrients.
Chukandar is among the most nutritious vegetables you could eat. It is packed with vitamins, minerals iron and a host of other beneficial compounds, not to mention an impressively low calorie content. There is no debate about the benefits of chukandar. There is debate however, on how much chukandar is too much. Research has shown that there are some negative side effects associated with excessive consumption of chukandar. Some nutritionists recommend a glass of chukandar juice every day while others say that is too much. It is best to seek individualized advice from your doctor on just how much your body can take.
Can chukandar cause kidney damage?
If you have had kidney stones before, oxalate in chukandar may be cause recurrences.
Should I worry about beeturia?
Red or pink urine after eating chukandar should only worry you if it happens every single time you eat them. If it does, this is a sign of iron deficiency which you should be treated for.
How long does beeturia last?
Traces of chukandar in the system last between 48 and 72 hours. If you notice a pink or reddish color in your urine or stool within this time frame, it’s probably the chukandar. If it has been longer than that since you ate chukandar, there is reason to visit a physician.
Chukandar gives me a running stomach. Is that normal?
Some people cannot digest chukandar. Eating even small amounts causes slight to severe stomach problems like diarrhea, vomiting or stomach cramps.
Is chukandar a laxative?
High soluble fibre content in chukandar helps digested food move faster along the digestive tract. It is commonly used to relieve constipation.