Sugar it up with jaggery

  • By Team TDO

When it is comes to sweets, especially during festivals, we come to that classic Catch-22 situation – to eat or not to eat – for the fear of high calorie consumption and weight gain.Just why do most pleasurable things in life have to be so dangerous?Can sweets be made a little healthier?

The good news is that there are numerous options to sugar and the most easy and healthy one is jaggery.
Jaggery vs.sugar

Born out of same sugarcane, sugar and jaggery are different not only in their colour, texture, mode of preparation, but also in their effects on health.

SUGAR: Only sucrose (C12H22O12)

JAGGERY: Mainly sucrose (C12H22O12) + iron + minerals +fibre

Sugar is the simplest form of sucrose, and is instantaneously absorbed in the blood and releases very high amount of energy. This can be detrimental to internal organs such as kidneys, eyes, brain and nerves. Thus, it should be used in minimum amount by normal people and stopped completely by diabetics.

Jaggery is much more complex than sugar. It is formed of longer chains of sucrose. These complex carbohydrates take longer time to digest and release energy.They provide energy slowly and for a longer time. This makes jaggery popular amongst the fitness conscious. It does not have harmful effects on the body.But this does not qualify jaggery to be safe for diabetics.

In India, jaggery is used as a lung, throat and respiratory tract cleanser and is used along with natural remedies for cough and cold.

Health Benefits

  1. Jaggery is a rich source of iron. Preparation in iron pans adds numerous ferrous salts to it. This prevents anaemia and helps oxygen supply to all the tissues.
  2. It has a cleansing effect on organs like lungs, stomach, intestines, oesophagus and respiratory tracts and detoxifies body.In India, traditionally sugarcane jaggery is used as a lung, throat and respiratory tract cleanser and is used along with natural remedies for cough and cold.
  3. It is rich in antioxidants and protects body from damage caused by free radicals.
  4. It is a good source of magnesium,which helps strengthen the nervous system and helps good co-ordination of body movements in addition to muscle relaxation and relieves fatigue.
  5. It helps to maintain the acid balance of body; it relaxes tension in blood vessels and maintains blood pressure.
  6. It has anti-allergic properties, which make it beneficial in asthma and respiratory disorders.
  7. It is beneficial in tension headache and migraine. It prevents mood swings.
  8. It helps in regulating liver functions along with rheumatic affections.

Traditional uses

  1. Jaggery is aboriginal and has an important place in Indian culture. It is offered to god as it is assumed to be pure. It was a tradition in ancient India to offer jaggery with water when one entered the home, because water and jaggery have cooling effect on body.
  2. Many Indian festivals are incomplete without preparations made from jaggery like reodi and tilgul.
  3. Include jaggery in your diet, and say goodbye to sickness.