Elders sometimes finish their Jaggery meals. One could presume that it is famous for its sweet, heavenly flavor. Nevertheless, the natural health effects of this sweetening product are immense. It is a form of unrefined sugar made of cheap, concentrated sugarcane juice which is boiled up until solidified. The palm (Nolen Gur of Western Bengal) or the cocoon sap can be derived from the date palm. In most parts of India, Jaggery is an important part of one’s staple diet. In Kannada, it is named’ Bella’ and in Tamil ‘ Vellam’ and Marathi ‘ Gul.’ Let’s explain how different it is from white sugar, honey, and brown sugar until we hear about the health benefits of this nutritious food.
Number of calories and nutritional value –
Jaggery has huge health benefits which make it the perfect sweetener. It contains just 20 grams of 38 calories and contains 9.8 grams of carbohydrates, 9.7 grams of sugar, 0.01 grams of protein, choline, betaine, vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. It doesn’t have any traces of fat so you can easily add it to your diet without thinking about unnecessary fat intake. Its sugar content, however, is similar to that of white sugar so patients with diabetes should avoid overconsumption.
Jaggery vs. Sugar – What alternative is healthier?
To obtain higher nutritional values from a sweetener, various health professionals recommend replacing sugar with jaggery. While both can be processed, sugar is predominantly translucent, white crystals, whilst jaggery can either color golden brown or dark brown. The former undergo rigorous industrial processes, such as charcoal therapy, as a consequence of which their nutritional value is lost.
On the other side, except for boiling sugarcane syrup, the latter undergoes no undue care. It means that titanium, mineral salts and fiber fragments are preserved in it. These minerals and phytochemicals from plants are useful remedies for several ailments. Apart from several other mind-blowing health benefits, this natural sweetener is an effective way to boost immunity, regulate body temperature, enrich the skin, improve digestion and cure joint pains.
Jaggery vs. honey vs. brown sugar –
Jaggery is produced by natural means without any pesticides, preservatives or synthetic ingredients being used. Hence it contains several proteins, minerals, and vitamins. The golden brown sweetener and brown sugar are often seen by many as the same stuff. Nonetheless, brown sugar is derived either directly from cane juice or by raw sugar processing. All cases require molasses, syrups, and demerara to be included in a number. And brown sugar also includes unhealthy additives.
It is certainly better to add brown sugar than to add refined white sugar but jaggery is a much better alternative. Another way to make sweets or daily meals safer is with the use of honey. It is rich in vitamin B, C and potassium whilst jaggery are rich in copper, iron, and magnesium. Therefore the choice of adding either of these two to one’s diet depends on their taste.
Is jaggery good for diabetes? –
Diabetic patients often get sweet cravings and switch to sweeteners of various forms. While these patients may find jaggery to be a better alternative to sugar, the fact is that it also contains high sugar levels. In 10 grams of jaggery, there is nearly 65 per cent-85 percent of sucrose. People with diabetes are therefore recommended not to drink it regularly. Only Ayurveda does not prescribe its ingestion to diabetic patients.
Weight loss and jaggery –
Having considered the jaggery’s sugar content, others say it’s fattening. On the opposite, it encourages fast absorption, as it is nutrient-rich. It flushes away contaminants from the bloodstream and also purifies the blood. The nutrients help to maintain the electrolyte balance, thereby increasing the metabolism and the availability of potassium helps water retention, through which one can control their weight efficiently. Consuming this healthy, nutrient-packed food in controlled daily quantities can therefore greatly help weight loss.
The health benefits of jaggery –
Below we address some of the health benefits of this common sweetener for foods:
Preventing breathing problems –
Jaggery could be one of the most effective remedies for those who have recurrent respiratory tract issues. By including the same in their food, one can avoid asthma, bronchitis, etc. If one eats jaggery with sesame seeds, it is stronger. Ideal for handling respiratory problems, this type.
Helps to lose weight –
Weight gain is an issue that most people face. Reliable treatment is a modest consumption of jaggery to promote weight loss. It is a good source of potassium which helps to balance electrolytes, improve metabolism and build muscles. Potassium can also help to reduce water retention within one’s body and thus play a major role in weight loss.
Checks blood pressure –
The presence of potassium and sodium in jaggery helps keep levels of acid in the body. That in effect retains regular levels of blood pressure. So if someone is struggling with high or low blood pressure, it would be of great help including in their diet!
Great energy supply –
Like sugar which provides a short-lived energy boost, jaggery provides incremental energy which lasts longer. This is because it’s unrefined, so blood sugar levels aren’t suddenly altered and instead grow steadily. It, in turn, may also help to prevent fatigue.
Menstrual pain relieves –
Jaggery is a natural remedy for alleviating pain caused by menstrual cramps. Moreover, those who experience mood swings or agitation during their cycles should also eat the same in small amounts because it helps release endorphins that calm their bodies.
Anemia Prevents –
Adequate amounts of RBCs in the body together with iron and folate are required to avoid anemia. The iron and folate are high in Jaggery, therefore a safe way to prevent anemia. Doctors also warn adolescents and pregnant women for their intake.
Cleanses your body –
People also eat jaggery after meals because it is one of the body’s best natural cleaning agents. Eating this food can help with the effective elimination of all kinds of unnecessary contaminants from the intestines, stomach, food stream, lungs, and respiratory tract.
Liver detoxification –
Jaggery is a natural purifying agent, particularly for the liver. The natural sweetener helps one’s body flush out harmful toxins. This additionally helps detoxify the liver. Those suffering from liver-related illnesses should, therefore, start eating Jaggery.
Avoids constipation –
Consumption of the nutrient-packed sweetener allows one’s body to promote bowel movements and activate digestive enzymes. Whenever you have eaten a heavy meal, just consume some of that natural nutritious sweetener and reduce the risk of constipation.
Cold and cough treatment –
Jaggery is also able to relieve flu-like symptoms like cold and cough. It leads to heat generation in one’s body thus fighting the cold. Do mix Jaggery in warm milk or use it in your tea as a sweetener to reap better benefits.
Reduces pain in the joints –
The ingestion of jaggery can provide tremendous pain relief for people with arthritis or any kind of a pain in the joints. The effectiveness only increases when eaten with ginger.
It purifies the blood –
Consumption of jaggery regularly in moderate amounts may help in the purification of blood. This is also the reason why it also means healthier skin to treat acne or pimples as cleaner blood. Besides, the total blood count of hemoglobin also increases with the right amount of hemoglobin consumed.
Immunity boosts –
Substantial amounts of antioxidants and minerals like selenium and zinc are found in jaggery. This helps prevent free radical damage, as well as building resistance to various infections. Therefore it is often eaten in winters.
Cures problems with urinary tract –
Sugarcane is a natural diuretic so jaggery has that property too. Reducing bladder inflammation, stimulating urination and improving urinary smooth flow are some issues that can easily help with daily consumption of this nutritious food item.
Maintains good intestinal bowel health –
The jaggery is magnesium-rich. Every 10 g of the food has 16 mg of mineral in it. So if one consumes even 10 grams of it, he or she would have fulfilled 4 percent of that mineral’s daily requirement in our lives. Eating it daily, therefore, can lead to good bowel health.
This natural dark brown sweetener is readily available in all parts of India. Do make sure, though, that the jaggery you buy is 100% natural. Consider it a part of your daily diet and you’re going to start looking at its advantages on your own.
Please contact a dietiano , licensed dietitian to get yourself a customized diet plan.