What Is Jaggery?
Table of Contents
Jaggery is a wonderful sweetener known for its great taste and amazing benefits provided by it. Jaggery is made from sugarcane juice through a process that involves heating sugarcane juice to form thick crystals. It is an excellent alternative to white sugar as it retains most of its nutrients even after processing which on the other hand gets lost by white sugar.
White sugar is considered as nothing but sweetness and calories as it is deprived of any nutritious value. Jaggery is a good source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols, and the presence of these compounds makes it very beneficial for us as it provides several health and beauty benefits.
The appearance of raw jaggery is not very appealing, and for this reason, people hesitate to add it to their diet and prefer to go either with white sugar or processed jaggery. This is a wrong approach and should be avoided. As the saying goes, never judge a book by its cover and the same is true for jaggery. It may not be very appealing but it certainly is great for our health.
The importance of jaggery for our health can be understood from the fact that in ancient India it was quite common to eat a small piece of jaggery after a meal as it helps with proper digestion of food and enhances absorption of nutrients from the food, and in some regions of India, this practice is still common.
The benefits of jaggery are not just limited to our digestive system and it is equally beneficial for our immune system, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, nervous system, etc.
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 Jaggery
Some of the major health benefits of jaggery are as follows
(1) Aids in Blood purification
Jaggery is a natural blood cleanser that aids in the removal of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from our bloodstream. Removal of these unwanted substances is vital for our well being as otherwise, it may cause havoc to our health.
Purification of blood also ensures that all the components of the blood like white blood cells, red blood cells and blood plasma, etc works at an optimal level. Also, the nutrients that we get from food are supplied to our cells and tissues of the body with the help of blood when it is free of toxins and impurities then we can ensure that our cells and tissues will be and optimum health.
(2) Improves Our digestive health
Regular and moderate consumption of jaggery is good for our stomach and plays an important role in improving our digestive health. This advantage of jaggery is due to the presence of essential nutrients and antioxidants in them.
The antioxidants and other relevant compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery protect our digestive system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus reduces the risk of colon cancer, abdominal cancer, intestinal cancer, and pancreatic cancer.
Jaggery is also known for enhancing the production of digestive enzymes that improves the functionality of our digestive system. Jaggery converts into acetic acid and speeds up the process of digestion by reducing stress from the digestive tract. It improves the overall functionality of the digestive system and thus provides relief from constipation and other gastrointestinal issues such as abdominal pain, gas, bloating indigestion, flatulence, and intestinal blockage, etc.
(3) Aids in the treatment of menstrual problems
For women, jaggery provides an added advantage of helping with the treatment of menstrual problems. This advantage is due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants in the jaggery. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it minimizes the frequency and severity of stomach ache and menstrual cramps associated with menstruation.
(4) Prevents iron-induced anemia
Another advantage of jaggery is its ability to help with the prevention of iron-induced anemia. iron-induced anemia is a common and curable blood disorder caused by the deficiency of iron in our body and gives rise to symptoms such as fatigue, shortness of breath, weakness, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, and lightheadedness, etc. This advantage of jaggery is due to the presence of iron in it.
Iron is a vital mineral that increases the production of red blood cells in our body. Red blood cells carry hemoglobin protein which is responsible for providing oxygenated blood to cells and tissues and keep them healthy. As stated earlier jaggery also helps with blood purification which is an added advantage in fighting against anemia.
It is advised to consume jaggery along with citrus fruits such as orange or guava. This is because vitamin C present in the citrus fruit increases the absorption of iron in our body, and gives us an added advantage against anemia.
(5) Natural detoxifier
Detoxification is the process of removal of toxins, pollutants, impurities, and other unwanted substances from our bodies. Detoxification is important for our well-being as otherwise, the accumulation of toxins and other unwanted substances in the body may give rise to various health problems.
In our body two vital organs, the liver and the Kidneys are responsible for the process of detoxification and it also happens at the cellular level. Jaggery is loaded with essential compounds that help in getting rid of toxins and other unwanted substances from our bodies.
By helping with the detoxification jaggery reduces the burden of toxin removal from our vital organs liver and Kidneys and improves their functionality.
(6) Promotes weight loss
If you are on a weight loss journey and would like to get rid of some extra pounds then cutting white sugar from your diet is the first step that you need to follow. However, this doesn’t mean that sweetness will be forever removed from your diet.
There are many healthy alternatives to white sugar and jaggery is one of them. It not only adds a great taste to our food items but also provides vitamins and minerals for keeping us healthy.
Jaggery is very beneficial for helping with weight loss as it increases our metabolism. Higher metabolism helps in burning off the stubborn calories accumulated in our body in the form of fat cells. Jaggery also enhances the production of digestive enzymes in our stomach and does help with digestion.
Proper digestion of food plays a vital role in weight management as it ensures that we are getting nutrients from the food in an efficient manner. Potassium, a mineral present in the jaggery prevents water retention which is the leading cause of obesity.
(7) Keeps blood pressure under control
Jaggery is also beneficial for keeping our blood pressure under control and for minimizing the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure.
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a common health problem that affects millions of people around the world and is a leading cause of various cardiovascular problems such as heart attack, heart stroke, and coronary artery diseases. Keeping our blood pressure at an optimal level is important for our health and jaggery can help in doing the same.
This is due to the presence of vital mineral potassium in it. Potassium is a natural vasodilator that relaxes our blood vessels, improves blood circulation, and thus reduces the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure. It also reduces water retention in the body which could otherwise put a strain on the blood vessels and thereby increasing the risk of hypertension.
Although jaggery helps in regulating blood pressure, if you are already taking medication for managing blood pressure then it is advisable to consult with your doctor before adding jaggery to your diet to ensure that there is no food drug interference.
(8) Keeps our intestines healthy
Our intestines play an important role in keeping us healthy as they perform many important functions in our body such as digestion of food, absorption of nutrients from the food, removal of waste materials from the digested food, regulating water balance in the body, and also for improving our immune health.
It is important to keep our intestines healthy and jaggery can help in achieving the same. This advantage of jaggery is due to the presence of magnesium in it. Eating 10 grams of jaggery provides around 16 mg of magnesium which fulfills around 4% of the daily requirement of magnesium by our body.
(9) Provides antioxidant benefits
Another advantage of adding jaggery to diet is its ability to provide various antioxidantal benefits.
Antioxidants like selenium and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery fight with the free radicals in our body stabilize them and prevent them from causing oxidative damage to our cells and tissues.
By protecting our cells from oxidative damage antioxidants not only reduces the risk of various cancers but also provide other benefits such as better immunity, improved cardiovascular health, improved neurological health, and reduced risk of premature aging.
(10) Improves our neurological health
Jaggery is very beneficial for keeping our neurological system healthy. This advantage of jaggery is due to the presence of antioxidants and relevant compounds such as phytonutrients and polyphenols.
These compounds protect our cells including the brain cells aka neurons from the ill effects of the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus minimizes the risk of various neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Amnesia, and dementia, etc.
The iron in the jaggery improves blood circulation in the brain and thus benefits our neurological health. It also contains magnesium which is well known for providing cognitive benefits such as sharper memory, better focus, improve concentration, and reduced brain fog.
(11) strengthens our immune system
Consuming jaggery on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for making our immune system stronger.
Our immune system is the sophisticated defense mechanism of our body that prevents the invasion of disease-causing microbes such as bacterias, viruses, fungi, and parasites, etc., and thus minimizes the risk of various diseases and infections. Even when we get sick or sustain an injury, our immune system does its best to make us healthy again.
To enjoy a healthy life we need to ensure that our immune system is stronger and jaggery can help in doing the same.
This advantage of jaggery is mainly because of its antioxidantal and anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants like selenium and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery fight with the free radicals in our body stabilize them and prevent them from causing oxidative damage to our cells including the white blood cells that are known as the backbone of the immune system.
By protecting the white blood cells from oxidative damage, antioxidants make our immune system stronger and when our immune system is stronger we are less likely to get infectious diseases like cough cold fever, and flu, etc. properties in improving our immunity.
In addition to this other nutrients like phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, and iron, etc. present in the jaggery also plays a significant role in making our immune system strong and healthy.
(12) Keeps our respiratory system Healthy
Regular and moderate consumption of jaggery is very beneficial for our respiratory system and reduces the risk of various respiratory problems such as asthma and Bronchitis etc.
This advantage of jaggery is mainly because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
The inflammatory properties of the jaggery reduce the risk of inflammation of the lungs and thus help with respiratory health.
In addition to this, antioxidants like Selenium and other antioxidant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols in the jaggery also plays an efficient role in improving our respiratory health as it protects our respiratory system from the ill effects of the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
Taking Jaggery along with sesame seeds can do wonders for our respiratory health
(13) provides anti-inflammatory benefits
Jaggery is anti-inflammatory and because of this property, it is very beneficial for providing relief from the pain and inflammation caused by the anti-inflammatory problem such as arthritis, gouts, rheumatism rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, and Bronchitis, etc.
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties it effective for providing relief from aches and pains of the joints like knee pain and elbow pain etc.
To get quick relief from joint pain simply consume jaggery mixed with a piece of Ginger.
Additionally, you can also form a healthy habit of drinking a glass of warm milk mixed with jaggery. Regular use will make your bones stronger and will also minimize the risk of joint pain.
(14) Aids in the treatment of cough and cold
As stated earlier, jaggery is very beneficial for making our immune system stronger and by doing so it helps in reducing the risk of various infectious diseases such as cough, cold, and fever, etc. Not only the prevention but jaggery can also be used for the treatment of the same.
The simplest way to achieve this benefit is to consume jaggery in its raw form however if it is too sweet for your liking then you can also consume it by adding it to tea or warm water.
This is also effective against headaches and migraines etc.
(15) Good source of energy
Jaggery is an excellent source of energy that we need to survive and for various activities that we need to perform.
Eating 10 grams of jaggery provides just around 38 Calories of energy. So if you feel weak and sluggish then it will be a good idea to enjoy a piece of jaggery for an instant energy boost.
In comparison to white sugar, it is a healthier choice as it provides energy without the sudden increase in the blood sugar level. Also, white sugar is deprived of many nutrients but the same is not the case with jaggery.
Jaggery also increases our metabolism which means it allows our body to retrieve energy from the stored fat cells in an efficient manner.
(16) Helps in controlling body temperature
Another advantage of jaggery is its ability to help control the body temperature and provide relief from fever. This is very beneficial for asthmatic patients who are required to maintain a normal body temperature at all times to prevent asthma from worsening.
(17) Reduces PMS
PMS or Premenstrual syndrome are mainly caused by fluctuations of hormones.
Consuming a small piece of jaggery regularly is very effective for minimizing the effect of PMS. This advantage of jaggery is due to its ability to stimulate the production of endorphins or feel-good hormones.
These hormones relax our body and make us feel better. it is also effective against stress and anxiety that one may face during PMS.
(18) Regulate liver functions
The liver is a vital organ that performs many functions in our body to keep us healthy. Some of these functions are the production and excretion of bile juice, metabolism of fats proteins, and carbohydrates, excretion of bilirubin, cholesterol, hormones, and drugs, enzyme activation, storage of glycogen, vitamins, and minerals, synthesis of plasma proteins, such as albumin, and clotting factors.
To stay healthy it is essential to keep our liver healthy and jaggery can help in doing the same.
This advantage of jaggery is due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins minerals and antioxidants in them. The antioxidants and other associated compounds in the jaggery, protect our vital organs like the liver and kidneys from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and keep them healthy.
Jaggery is also effective for the removal of toxins, pollutants, and other unwanted substances from our bodies. Elimination of the substances from the body reduces stress from our liver and allows it to function at an optimum level.
(19) Aids in the treatment of hiccups
As per Ayurveda jaggery when consumed with dried Ginger powder can be used to get quick relief from hiccups. To get relief from hiccups take 3 grams of jaggery mixed with 500 milligrams of dried Ginger powder with a glass of warm water.
(20) Keep urinary tract healthy
To stay healthy our body needs to excrete out the excess fluids, minerals, toxins, and other unwanted substances from our body in the form of urine. However, some people find it difficult to pass urine properly.
Jaggery is very beneficial for such individuals because of its diuretic properties.
Because of its diuretic properties, it increases the production and frequency of urination.
The anti-inflammatory properties of the jaggery reduce the risk of inflammation of the bladder and thus minimizes the risk of various urinary tract infections.
In addition to this jaggery contains antioxidants and other relevant compounds like phytonutrients and polyphenols that protect our urinary system from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and keeps it healthy.
Drinking a glass of warm milk with a small piece of jaggery added to it can increase the flow of the urine and also minimize the risk of various urinary tract infections.
(21) Produce warming effect
Consuming jaggery produces a warming effect in the body and is the reason jaggery food items are widely popular in India during the winter season. The warming effect of the jaggery is due to the presence of carbohydrates in them.
In comparison to white sugar, jaggery takes a long time to get digested and gives warmth to our 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.
(22) Improves Quality of Sperm
Another advantage of jaggery is its ability to improve the quality of the sperm.
This advantage of jaggery is mainly due to the presence of essential nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, etc. in the jaggery.
The antioxidants like selenium and other relevant compounds present in the jaggery protect our sperm cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals.
As per Ayurveda, jaggery when consumed with amla powder boosts sperm production and also increases the quality of the sperm. Jaggery also improves our renal health which is an added advantage.
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
Being an excellent source of many nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants jaggery provides many benefits for us.
The benefits of jaggery are not just limited to health and it is equally beneficial for our skin as it improves our skin health. Some of the beauty benefits of jaggery are:-
(1) Prevents acne and pimples
Acne is a common skin problem that affects millions of people around the world and is mainly caused by the clogging of our skin pores due to the accumulation of toxins, pollutants, impurities, and other unwanted substances in them.
Moderate consumption of jaggery may reduce the risk of skin problems like acne and pimples because of its detoxifying properties.
The detoxifying nature of the jaggery helps in the removal of toxins, pollutants, impurities, and other unwanted substances from the body.
When there are fewer toxins in our system they do not accumulate in our skin pores and minimize the risk of acne and pimples.
By helping the detoxification, jaggery also reduces the burden from our vital organs like the liver and kidneys, improves their functionality, and contributes to skin health.
(2) Maintain skin health
Eating jaggery on a regular and moderate basis is very beneficial for improving our skin health.
This is due to the presence of healthy nutrients like vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, phytonutrients, and polyphenols in it.
The antioxidant protective skin cells from the oxidative damage caused by the free radicals and thus helps in keeping various symptoms of premature aging such as fine lines, wrinkles, age spots, and dark spots, etc. at bay.
Antioxidants also enhance collagen production in our body and thus improves skin elasticity.
Collagen is an important amino acid found in the connective tissues like bones, joints, tendons, and cartilages, and is responsible for maintaining skin elasticity.
Other nutrients like iron selenium zinc magnesium and vitamin b complex in the jaggery provide nourishment to the skin and keep it healthy.
It improves the softness and radiance of the skin.
Difference between jaggery and sugar
Both jaggery and white sugar can be added to food items to give them a sweet taste, but there are many ways they differ from each other such as
(1) Difference In Composition
The primary component of both jaggery and white sugar is sucrose (C12 H22 O12), disaccharide (glucose + fructose).
In table sugar, there is no other component but in the case of jaggery sucrose only makes up around 65 to 85% of the composition and it also constitutes about 10 to 15% of invert sugar 2.5 % of ash, and small amounts of dietary fibers, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
(2) Processing method
The first step involved in the processing of both jaggery and white sugar involves boiling sugarcane juice.
The boiled juice is then treated with bone charcoal to turn it into a clear and transparent syrup.
It is then cooled condensed and crystallized to form regular white sugar.
On the other hand production of jaggery involves boiling the sugarcane juice and continue boiling it until and unless it forms a thick sticky paste known as jaggery. It is then cooled down and poured into different molds to make jaggery blocks.
(3) Difference in texture
White sugar is mostly available in crystallized form and has a solid and hard structure.
On the other hand, jaggery is semi-solid and can easily be broken down into pieces or melted to form a paste.
Jaggery is amorphous which means it doesn’t have any specific shape and can acquire the shape in which it is molded.
(4) Difference In Color
Regular sugar is mostly white and for this reason, it is also known as white sugar. On the other hand, the jaggery comes in different shades of brown color such as golden brown, perfect brown dark brown, etc. depending on the boiling time of the sugarcane juice this color may vary.
The information contained in the post is for general purpose only and shouldn’t be considered as medical advice or as an alternative to medical advice. Although I’ve tried my best to keep the information contained in this post as accurate and updated as possible, I make no guarantee of the accurateness of the same.
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