Jaggery is a delicious natural sweetener known for its amazing taste and numerous benefits. Production of jaggery involves heating sugarcane juice to form thick crystals. Unlike white sugar, nutrients in the jaggery are retained even after processing.
White sugar is nothing but sweetness and calories as it loses most of the nutrients during processing. However, jaggery retains most of the nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients and polyphenols«, etc even after processing.
Don’t hesitate to add raw jaggery to your diet solely based on its unappealing appearance.
This natural sweetener is loaded with vital nutrients and essential compounds that provide several health and beauty benefits. In India, it was a common practice to end your meal with a small piece of jaggery as it helps with digestion and as well absorption of nutrients. In some regions of India, this practice is still followed.
It also provides several other benefits which we will learn sooner.
It is also known by some other names such as gur in Hindi, bellam in Telugu,vellam in Tamil, Sharkara in Malayalam, Bella in Kannada, and Gul in Marathi.
Health Benefits Of JaggeryMangosapiens, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Some of the major health benefits of jaggery are as follows
(1) Aids In Blood Purification
Jaggery is a natural blood cleanser that eliminates toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from our blood, and ensures that all the components of blood like white blood cells, red blood cells, blood plasma, etc work at an optimal level.
Blood is also responsible for providing nourishment to our cells and tissues, and when it is free of toxins and harmful substances, it improves our overall health.
(2) Improves Our Digestive Health
Jaggery is good for our stomach and improves our digestive health.
Antioxidants and relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery protect our digestive system from free radical damage and thus minimizes the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, and pancreatic cancer, etc.
Jaggery enhances the production of digestive enzymes that facilitate better digestive health.
It reduces stress from the digestive tract as it converts into acetic acid and speeds up digestion.
This improves overall digestive health, relieves constipation and other gastrointestinal problems like abdominal pain, gas, bloating and flatulence, etc.
(3) Aids In The Treatment Of Menstrual Problems
The anti-inflammatory properties of the jaggery help minimize the frequency and severity of the stomach ache and menstrual cramps associated with menstruation.
Other essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, etc also help in relieving menstrual problems.
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(4) Prevents Iron-Induced Anemia
Iron, a vital mineral present in the jaggery helps in the prevention and cure of iron-induced anemia, a common and curable blood disorder caused by iron deficiency in our body. It gives rise to symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and lightheadedness, etc.
Iron in jaggery enhances the production of red blood cells that carry oxygenated blood to every cell and tissue of the body, and thus provides nourishment to them. This minimizes the risk of iron-induced anemia and also helps in treating the same.
Consume it along with citrus fruit like orange or guava as vitamin C in citrus fruits further increase the absorption of iron in our body.
Also, the detoxifying properties of the dietary fibers in jaggery aids in removing toxins, pollutants, impurities, and other unwanted substances from our bodies. Jaggery also helps with blood purification.
(5) Promotes Weight Loss
Jaggery is a healthy alternative to white sugar for individuals who are on a weight loss journey and would like to get rid of some extra pounds. It provides several nutrients and also makes our food delicious.
It helps in getting rid of stubborn fat cells as it enhances metabolism and increases the rate at which we burn calories.
It enhances digestive enzymes in the stomach and thus helps with digestion. Proper digestion ensures better assimilation of nutrients from the consumed food.
Potassium in jaggery prevents water retention in the body.
(6) Keeps Blood Pressure Under Control
The vasodilating properties of potassium, a vital mineral present in the jaggery relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus provides relief from hypertension or high blood pressure.
It also prevents water retention which could otherwise put a strain on the blood vessels and further increases the hypertension risk.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a silent killer that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of several cardiovascular problems like heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery disease.
Despite this benefit, consume jaggery in moderation as a high level of potassium may lower the blood pressure to an abnormally low level giving rise to hypotension with symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, fainting, dehydration, blurred vision, pale skin, and lack of concentration, etc.
If you are on blood pressure medication, then have a word with your doctor before adding jaggery to your diet to ensure there is no food-drug intolerance.
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(7) Keeps Our Intestines Healthy
Magnesium, a vital mineral present in the jaggery improves our intestinal health.
Our intestines play an important in maintaining our digestive health as it performs many functions like digestion of food, absorption of nutrients from food, removal of waste materials from digested food, regulating water balance in the body and strengthening immunity.
Antioxidnatal compounds in the jaggery protect our intestines from free radical damage and reduce the risk of intestinal cancer.
Dietary fibers in jaggery help with detoxification and further improve our intestinal health.
(8) Provides Antioxidant Benefits
Jaggery provides several antioxidantal benefits.
Selenium and other antioxidnatal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery protect our cells and tissues from free radical damage, and thus reduces the risk of several types of cancers.
It also provides numerous other benefits like stronger immunity, improved cardiovascular health, improved neurological health, reduced risk of premature aging, better respiratory health, and so on.
(9) Improves Our Neurological Health
Jaggery is good for the brain and improves our neurological health.
Selenium and other antioxidant compounds in the jaggery protect our brain cells aka neurons from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals, and thus minimizes the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s disease, Amnesia, Alzehimer’s disease ad dementia, etc.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, potassium, and magnesium, etc also contribute to neurological health as they provide cognitive benefits like sharper memory, better focus, improved concentration, less confusion, etc.
(10) Strengthens Our Immune System
Jaggery strengthens our immune system, the sophisticated defense mechanism of the body that prevents and treats various microbial infections, injuries and diseases.
Antioxidantal compounds like selenium, phytonutrients, and polyphenols in jaggery protect our immune cells aka white blood cells from free radical damage.
Consuming jaggery along with citrus fruit like orange or guava is even more beneficial as vitamin C in citrus fruit enhances the production of white blood cells in the body.
Protection and enhanced production of white blood cells strengthen our immune system, and with higher immunity, we are less likely to be affected by cough, cold, fever, and flu, etc.
Other nutrients like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B complex, etc in the jaggery also contribute to better immune health.
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(11) Keeps Our Respiratory System Healthy
The anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of the jaggery strengthen our respiratory health.
Antioxidants like selenium and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in jaggery protect the respiratory system from free radical damage.
It provides relief from pain and inflammation experienced during respiratory problems like asthma and bronchial asthma etc.
Taking jaggery along with citrus fruit like guava or orange is even more beneficial as vitamin C in citrus fruit is a potent anti-inflammatory compound.
(12) Provides Anti-Inflammatory Benefits
The anti-inflammatory properties of the jaggery provide relief from pain and inflammation caused by inflammatory problems like arthritis, gouts, rheumatism, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and bronchial asthma, etc.
It is also effective against knee pain and elbow pain etc.
Consume jaggery along with a small piece of ginger to get quick relief from joint pain. Ginger is also known for its anti-inflammatory properties.
Alternatively, a healthy habit of drinking a glass of warm milk mixed with some jaggery can relieve joint pain and also strengthens our bones.
(13) Aids In The Treatment Of Cough And Cold
As stated earlier, jaggery strengthens our immune system and when our immune system is stronger we are less likely to suffer from cough, cold, fever, flu, and other microbial infections.
Consuming raw jaggery is the simplest way to enjoy this benefit. However, if raw jaggery is too sweet for you then you can add some warm water or tea to dilute to sweetness.
This is also effective against headaches and migraines etc.
(14) Good Source Of Energy
If you feel weak, sluggish, and low on energy then it’s a good idea to have a small piece of jaggery during breakfast to kickstart your day.
Jaggery is a natural energy booster and consuming 10 grams of jaggery provides 38 calories of energy.
Compared to white sugar, it’s a healthier choice as it provides energy without causing a sudden spike in blood sugar levels. Unlike white sugar, it is not deprived of essential nutrients which is an added advantage.
It enhances metabolism and allows our body to efficiently retrieve energy from the stored fat cells.
(15) Helps In Controlling Body Temperature
Jaggery provides relief from fever as it helps regulates body temperature.
This is advantageous for asthmatic patients as they are required to have a normal body temperature at all times to prevent asthma from worsening.
(16) Reduces PMS
Jaggery stimulates the production of endorphins or feel-good hormones and is thus beneficial for minimizing the effect of PMS or Premenstrual syndrome.
Endorphins relax our body and make us feel better. It relieves the stress and anxiety that women experience during PMS.
(17) Regulate Liver Functions
Essential nutrients and other healthy compounds in the jaggery are beneficial for our liver.
The liver is a vital organ responsible for the removal of toxins and other unwanted substances from the body, and as well as for performing various other functions like production and excretion of bile juice, metabolism of fats and protein, excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs, enzyme activation, storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals, synthesis of plasma protein like albumin, etc.
Antioxidants like selenium and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery protect the liver from free radical damage.
Dietary fibers in jaggery eliminate toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from the body.
This reduces the burden of detoxification from vital organs like the liver and kidneys to some extent and allows them to focus on other functions carried by them.
Iron, potassium and vitamin B complex, etc in the jaggery also contributes to better liver health.
(18) Aids In The Treatment Of Hiccups
As per Ayurveda, taking 3 grams of jaggery mixed with 500 milligrams of dried ginger powder along with a glass of warm water provides quick relief from hiccups.
(19) Keep Urinary Tract Healthy
Jaggery is beneficial for keeping the urinary tract healthy because of its antioxidantal, anti-inflammatory, and diuretic properties.
The diuretic properties of the jaggery increase the flow and frequency of the urination and are beneficial for individuals who find it difficult to pass urine efficiently. It helps in eliminating excess fluids, minerals, and other unwanted substances from the body, and thus improves renal health.
Antioxidants and associated compounds in the jaggery protect the urinary system from free radical damage.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, jaggery reduces the risk of inflammation of the bladder and thus minimizes the risk of various urinary tract infections.
Drink a glass of warm milk with a small piece of jaggery increases urine flow and minimizes the risk of urinary tract infections.
(20) Produce Warming Effect
The carbohydrates in the white sugar give a warming effect to the body.
For this reason, jaggery food items are widely consumed in India during the winter season.
Unlike white sugar, jaggery takes longer to digest and gives warmth to the body.
If you would like to enjoy jaggery for its warming effect then it is advised to go for the date palm jaggery for the maximum benefits.
(21) Improves Quality Of Sperm
Jaggery improves the quality of sperms because of its rich nutritious profile.
Antioxidantal compounds in the jaggery protect the sperm cells from free radical damage.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron, and magnesium, etc also play an efficient role in keeping sperms healthy.
As per Ayurveda, consuming jaggery with amla powder boosts sperm production and also increases the quality of the sperms.
Other nutrients like zinc, iron and magnesium, etc. present in the jaggery also play a significant role in keeping sperms healthy.
Beauty Benefits Of Jaggery
Some of the major beauty benefits of jaggery are as follows
(1) Prevents Acne And Pimples
Consuming jaggery regularly helps in the prevention of skin problems like acne and pimples.
Accumulation of toxins, pollutants, dirt, impurities, and other unwanted substances in our skin pores gives rise to skin problems like acne and pimples. It affects millions of people around the world.
The detoxifying properties of the dietary fibers in jaggery eliminates toxins, pollutants, and unwanted substances from the system.
When there are fewer toxins, they don’t accumulate in the skin pores and thus minimizes the risk of acne and pimples.
It also regulates the secretion of excess oil from skin glands and thus prevents acne from worsening.
(2) Maintain Skin Health
Jaggery maintains overall skin health because of the abundance of nutrients like vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, etc.
Selenium and other antioxidantal compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery protect skin cells and tissues from free radical damage and thus helps in keeping various signs of premature aging like fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and dark spots, etc at bay.
It enhances the production of collagen and thus improves skin elasticity.
Collagen is an essential amino acid that maintains skin elasticity and is found in connective tissues like bones, joints, tendons, and cartilages, etc.
Zinc, iron, magnesium and vitamin B complex, etc also play a significant role in keeping our skin healthy.
It provides nourishment to the skin and makes it soft, supple, and radiant.
Difference Between Jaggery And Sugar
Both jaggery and white sugar are sweeteners, but they differ from each other in the following ways
(1) Difference In Composition
White sugar is deprived of most of its nutrients and is nothing but sweetness and calories. It has sucrose and disaccharide as the main components.
However, in the case of jaggery 65 to 85 percent of the composition is sucrose and disaccharide, around 10 to 15 percent invert sugar, 2.5 percent of ash, and the rest is made up of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fibers, etc.
(2) Processing Method
Both white sugar and jaggery follow different processing methods.
White sugar is prepared by treating boiled sugarcane juice with bone charcoal to turn it into a clear and transparent syrup.
It is then cooled, condensed, and crystallized to form white sugar.
Production of jaggery involves boiling juice until and unless it forms a thick sticky paste known as jaggery. It is then cooled down and poured into different mods to make jaggery blocks.
(3) Difference In Texture
White sugar has a solid and hard structure and is mainly available in crystallized form.
Jaggery is semi-solid and can easily be melted to paste or broken down into pieces.
Jaggery is amorphous, doesn’t have a specific shape, and can acquire whatever shape it is molded into.
(4) Difference In Color
Table sugar is mostly white, and this is why it is commonly referred to as white sugar.
The color of jaggery depends on the boiling time of the sugarcane juice.
Jaggery comes in different shades of brown color such as golden brown, perfect brown and dark brown, etc.
This article provides general information about the topic and is not be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice, treatment, and/or diagnosis. Always consult with your doctor before trying out any of the remedies/recipes suggested in the blog post.
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Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.