Have you ever wondered why your grandparents or, for that matter, even parents relish a piece of jaggery after lunch or dinner? Well, eating jaggery has numerous health benefits for us because this sweet delicacy is not only yummy to taste, but it is also loaded with many essential nutrients. Jaggery, which is commonly known as gur in India, is basically unrefined sugar that is obtained from the sugarcane plant.
Jaggery can also be obtained from other plant sources such as sap of the coconut tree or even from the date palm. However, jaggery made from sugarcane is the most widely used form of unrefined sugar. This natural source of sweetener has been in use in Indian households for a long time. If you are not well-versed with the health benefits of jaggery and why you should add this wonder food in your diet, we suggest that you read this post for the same.
Nutritional Profile of Jaggery
Jaggery is loaded with various vital nutrients; let us take a look into what all nutrition we can derive by eating a small piece of jaggery:
The values mentioned above are approximate values present in 10 grams of jaggery.
*Table Source: https://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/custom/3835294/2
Health Benefits of Jaggery
Jaggery is usually available all year along, but it is produced during the winter months. Winter months are the ideal months to relish some freshly made jaggery; however, you can eat jaggery any time of the year to experience its multitude benefits. Here are some health benefits of gur:
1. Helps in Detoxifying the Liver
Our body piles on toxins that enter our body through the diet we consume. These toxins can make us sick and therefore, it is important for our body to get rid of them. The liver helps in removing these harmful toxins from our body. Jaggery also helps in cleansing our body because it is a natural cleanser. By adding it in your diet, you are not only aiding the liver to flush out toxins from the body, but your liver is getting rid of toxins too.
2. Helps in Relieving Constipation
Many people suffer from constipation, and this ailment can take a toll on one’s health. The person suffering from this condition not only faces discomfort in clearing the bowels but also has the problem of hardened stools. Jaggery is beneficial in dealing with digestive issues such as constipation. Consuming gur on a regular basis helps in activating the digestive enzymes and also helps in stimulating bowel movements. Add gur to diet to overcome the problem of digestive ailments.
3. Helps in Purifying Blood
Healthy and clean blood means better health. Adding jaggery in your daily diet in limited amounts helps in purifying your blood and thus improving your overall health. Purified blood in the body means healthier you, and thus a better ability to fight infections and diseases.
4. Helps in Treating Flu Symptoms
A runny, stuffy nose, throat irritation or other such flu-symptoms can make you very uncomfortable and uneasy. Jaggery has therapeutic effects on relieving the symptoms of various ailments such as the flu. You may add a piece of it in some warm water and drink this mixture; alternatively, you can add it to your tea too. The warm and soothing effects of jaggery will help you feel better soon.
5. Helps in Cleansing the Body
If you are staying in an area that is heavily polluted, including gur in your diet may help you a great deal. This is because gur is a natural body cleanser and it is efficient in cleansing various harmful particles that enter the body. It is beneficial in cleaning the lungs, stomach, respiratory tract, food pipe and intestines. Ayurveda also states the benefits of jaggery in removing unwanted and harmful particles from the body, and it is thus highly recommended for people working or staying in polluted places.
6. Helps in Preventing Anaemia
Anaemia is a disease that is characterised by low iron levels in the body. Adding this iron and folate-rich food in your daily diet may help in the prevention of anaemia. Pregnant women often battle with low iron and folate levels, which may decrease their red blood cells and also reduces their energy levels. If a pregnant woman eats jaggery on a regular basis, it will give her an instant boost of energy and also help in increasing the RBC in the blood.
7. Helps in Maintaining Body Temperature
Consuming jaggery helps in increasing the body temperature, thereby helps in keeping the body warmer during winter months. However, consuming jaggery mixed with cold water does the exact opposite and helps in keeping your stomach cool during summer months. This versatile sweet is very beneficial in maintaining the body temperatures in winters as well as summers.
8. Helps in Maintaining Good Intestinal Health
Consuming jaggery is also good for your intestines. Jaggery contains good amounts of magnesium in it, which is excellent for keeping your intestinal health on track. You will get approximately 15 mg of magnesium if you consume 10 grams of jaggery on a regular basis, which can help your body to meet 4 per cent of its daily requirement of magnesium.
9. Helpful in Controlling Blood Pressure
Low or high blood pressure, both are not good for your health. It is essential to maintain regular blood pressure to maintain good health. Sugarcane, from which jaggery is obtained, is loaded with sodium and potassium. Both these minerals are beneficial in regulating the blood pressure in the body. Therefore, by eating gur on a daily basis, you may ensure that your blood pressure levels are under control.
10. Helps in Relieving Joint Pains and Aches
Joint or bone pain can be a very painful situation and hamper your day-to-day functioning. However, it is believed that consuming jaggery on day to day basis proves to be effective in dealing with joint pains and aches. Drinking a glass of milk with jaggery or simply eating a piece of jaggery on a regular basis may help in reducing the joint pain and may also help in strengthening the bones.
11. Helps in Preventing Respiratory Issues
Respiratory issues such as bronchitis and asthma can make breathing very difficult. In Ayurveda, gur or jaggery has been used for time immemorial for curing and preventing respiratory issues. It is believed that when jaggery is eaten, it soothes and nourishes the inflamed airways and thus helps in providing relief and also prevents the condition from further deteriorating. For the added benefits, sesame seeds can be mixed with jaggery to avoid the respiratory difficulties.
12. Helps with Weight Loss
A vast majority of Indian population is fighting with weight loss issues, and it is primarily because of poor dietary habits and sedentary lifestyle. However, if you are on a weight loss plan, adding gur to your diet may help too. Gur not only helps in increasing your metabolism but it also prevents water retention in the body. The presence of potassium in jaggery helps in balancing the electrolytes, which in turn help in building the muscle mass. Shed off some unwanted kilos from your body by eating jaggery!
13. Helps in Boosting Energy Levels
Exhaustion and fatigue can make your lethargic and drain you of your energy. Sometimes even day to day chores may seem like a humungous task. Jaggery can instantly help you feel energised. Gur is a natural sweetener but unlike sugar, it does not increase your blood sugar levels, but slowly gets absorbed in your bloodstream and keeps you feeling energised for a longer duration. Therefore, gur does not only help to pep up your blood sugar levels, but at the same time, it also helps your body fight fatigue.
14. Helps in Relieving Menstrual Pain
Those painful days of the month can give nightmares to most women because menstrual pain is something all women can relate. There are many over-the-counter medicines available that may help in relieving the symptoms of menstrual pain, but they may have adverse effects on your body too. Jaggery is loaded with all the essential nutrients that may prove helpful in reducing period pain and other associated side-effects. Eating jaggery helps in releasing your feel-good hormones or endorphins, which help you to battle PMS. So, prep up for your periods by including this wonder food in your diet.
15. Helps in Boosting Immunity
Low immunity or a compromised immune system may invite many unwanted medical issues. Eating jaggery increases your body’s immunity and thus helps it in fighting against various infections or disease-causing elements. It is also beneficial in reducing free radical damage. Gur is helpful in increasing your total haemoglobin, which also proves to be effective in maintaining a good immune system.
So, the next time you pop a piece of gur, you are not only eating a healthy form of sweet, but your body is also gaining a bundle of health benefits from it.
Though jaggery is extremely safe for consumption and has no harmful side-effects, however, you still may have certain questions in mind. Worry no more; we shall be answering some frequently asked questions or FAQs in this section.
1. Is Jaggery Healthier Than Sugar?
White or refined sugar provides our body with only empty calories because it is nothing but a simple form of carbohydrates. On the hand, jaggery or gur is a form of complex carbohydrate, and it contains an abundance of nutrients and some amount of fibre too, for our body. Therefore, if you compare the health benefits of jaggery over sugar, jaggery is better for our health than sugar.
2. Is Jaggery Good for Diabetes?
Though jaggery is a complex carbohydrate and a natural form of sugar, however, it is sugar after all. This means eating jaggery will increase your blood sugar levels, though a bit slower than refined sugar, it will eventually increase it. Even Ayurveda, which propagates several benefits of jaggery, states that jaggery should not be included in a diabetic diet. If you have diabetes, it will be a wise decision to stay away from any form of sugar, including jaggery.
Include the natural goodness of gur by adding it to your daily diet. You may relish it in its raw form or use this versatile natural sweetener to add sweetness to your desserts, puddings, milk or even tea. Make sure you procure good-quality gur from a clean place. However, gur is a form of sugar; therefore, you must keep a check on its intake.