Health benefits of jaggery are numerous. It contains a long list of minerals and phytochemicals making it a healthier substitute for white sugar, which is mostly empty calories. It contains important vitamins, minerals, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, calcium, and antioxidants.
Jaggery (or Gur) is a form of unrefined natural sugar which is obtained by boiling concentrated sugar cane juice till it solidifies. It is also made from date palm and coconut sap, but sugar cane jaggery is most popular due to its ease of availability all year round and is extensively used in traditional Indian cuisine.
There are several amazing health benefits of jaggery, a few are listed below –
Cleanses the body: Prevents constipation and excellent for detox
It prevents constipation by activating the digestive enzymes, which stimulates bowel movement and acts as a diuretic. It cleanses the liver by flushing out all the harmful toxins from the body. A small piece can be a very effective detox agent.
Prevents anemia: Highly recommended during pregnancy
Jaggery is very rich in iron and helps boost hemoglobin level. Adding a small amount to an everyday meal helps prevent anemia. It is a healthy way to boost iron intake during pregnancy.
An effective cough & cold relief
Jaggery is an effective home remedy for seasonal cough and cold. It also helpful in preventing respiratory ailments like asthma and bronchitis. Add a small amount to your ginger tea or basil tea instead of white sugar or simply have it with warm water for best results.
Relieves PMS Woes
A small piece of jaggery every day with a glass of water helps contain PMS symptoms. It causes the release of endorphins (happy hormones) which relax the body and checks mood swings before periods caused due to fluctuating hormonal levels.
Jaggery boosts our immune system thus building our resistance against infections. It is loaded with minerals like zinc and selenium and is rich in antioxidants which contain the damage caused by free radicals.
Aids weight loss
Jaggery is a rich source of potassium, a mineral that helps prevent water retention in the body and it boosts metabolism which naturally aids weight loss. If you wish to lose some extra pound include jaggery instead of white sugar in your everyday meal.
Relieves joint pain
Jaggery taken with a piece of ginger or a glass of warm milk is also known to relieve joint pain because it said to have muscle relaxant properties.
Keeps blood pressure in check
Jaggery is rich in potassium and sodium an important mineral that helps maintain the acid levels in the body, which ensures that a normal level of blood pressure is maintained in the body.
Jaggery is an Excellent Energy Booster
Jaggery is a complex carbohydrate that gets absorbed gradually and gives energy for a longer time and prevents fatigue. Unlike white sugar which is instantly absorbed causing an immediate spike in blood sugar levels.
As there are so many health benefits of jaggery, many communities in India have a tradition of eating a small amount of jaggery at the end of every meal.
Popular Indian Jaggery Recipes:
Some of the popular jaggery snacks and meal are
- Jaggery Rice- dissolve 500gm jaggery in water, sieve it, wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes, cook the rice in jaggery water, add cardamom, Kaju and a spoon of ghee.
- Jaggery Chikki- with two main ingredients roasted peanut and jaggery. Heat a thick pan, add ghee, put blocks of jaggery, add 2-3 spoons of water, let it dissolve into a thick syrup cook till it is in a hard-boiled stage, add roasted peanuts and quickly pour into a greased plate. Allow it to cool, cut into small pieces and enjoy.
Other popular dishes are Puran Poli, Gur Modak, Wheat and Gur laddu with dry fruits and many more.
Disclaimer – Though there are many health benefits of jaggery and frequent consumption reportedly has no side effects, moderation is advised as it is slightly high in calories- 4 kcal/gram.
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