Jaggery - A healthy alternative to Sugar
Jaggery (gur) is basically known as a natural sweetening agent all over the world. It is popular due to its nutritional value as well as taste benefits. It is a sweetener that's becoming popular as a "healthy" replacement for sugar. It is often referred to as a "superfood sweetener".
Jaggery is unrefined sugar, obtained from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice, by the process of boiling it. Although it can be made from other sources, namely from date palm (nolen gur) and the sap of coconut, the one made from sugarcane juice is the most commonly used.
Jaggery facilitates ease bowel movement, tonic, anti-aging, cardiac tonic and increases urine volume. Excess intake of jaggery causes weight gain and increase of Kapha Dosha. In Ayurveda, jaggery is used as an ingredient in many formulas and also used in preparing herbal jams and tablets.
As per the nutrition and dietetics, jaggery is rich in several important vitamins and minerals like potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, calcium and phosphorus and antioxidants.
10 Surprising benefits of Jaggery you never knew :
- Improves digestion :
In India, it is recommended to take a few grams of jaggery after a heavy meal because it improves digestion. It activates digestive enzymes and functions like acetic acid in the stomach, thus speeding up digestion and smoothening the process, ultimately reducing strain on the intestines and the digestive tract.
- Cleansing agent :
You may not normally connect sweeteners and sugars with cleansing the body, but it is one of the well-proven benefits of jaggery. It effectively cleans the respiratory tracts, lungs, food pipe, stomach, and intestines.
- Relieves Constipation :
Jaggery pulls out dust and unwanted particles from the body, while also giving relief from constipation, due to the presence of fiber in it. As it reduces constipation and stimulates bowel movements, it further cleanses the body of toxins.
- Treat flu-like symptoms :
Fight symptoms of a cold and cough with the help of gur. All you need to do is mix it with warm water and drink up, or even add it in your tea instead of sugar to reap the benefits. Jaggery produces heat in the body, which is why generally people consume it in winters. The warming effect in jaggery makes it an amazing sweet that can treat cold and flu.
- Boosts immunity :
Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free radical damage and also boost resistance against infections. Jaggery also helps increase the total count of haemoglobin in the blood.
- Eases menstrual pain :
Jaggery, due to its richness in many essential nutrients, is an effective natural treatment for menstrual problems, especially providing relief from cramps. In case you experience sudden mood swings just before your period, you should eat a small piece of jaggery daily to combat symptoms of PMS since it leads the release of endorphins. These endorphins relax your body, thereby preventing premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
- Prevents Anaemia :
Jaggery is rich in iron and folate which help prevent anaemia by ensuring that a normal level of red blood cells is maintained. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women. It ensures that a normal level of red blood cells is maintained. Moreover, it provides instant energy to the body.
- Controls Blood Pressure :
Jaggery contains potassium and sodium, which play an important role in the maintenance of acid levels in the body. It makes sure that a normal level of blood pressure is properly maintained.
- Relieves Joint Pain :
"If you suffer from aches and pains in your joints, eating jaggery can provide you with much-needed relief", says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja, Sukhda Hospital. You can eat it with a piece of ginger to alleviate joint pain, or even drink a glass of milk with jaggery every day to help strengthen the bones, thus preventing joint and bone problems such as arthritis.
- Weight Loss :
"Jaggery is surprisingly effective as an aid for weight loss. This is because jaggery is a rich source of potassium, which is a mineral that helps in the balance of electrolytes as well as building muscles and boosting metabolism. Potassium also helps in the reduction of water retention, which helps in managing your weight", says Delhi-based Nutritionist Anshul Jaibharat. These factors play an important role in effective weight loss, so if you're looking to lose some unwanted pounds, include this food in your diet.
Note: It is, however, suggested to consume jaggery in moderation, as it is slightly higher in calories, containing up to 4 kcal/gram.
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