Ever Wondered Why Our Elders End a Meal with a Jaggery(gur) in Winters? Why our favorite Makki ki roti and sarson ka saag with dollops of butter has always gur on a pallete? Why we have been offering Gur ki Roti loaded with ghee and saunf to our diety?
Jaggery i.e. “Gur” in Hindi is also known as ‘Bellam’ in Telugu, ‘Vellam’ in Tamil, ‘Sharkara’ in Malayalam, ‘Bella’ in Kannada, and ‘Gul’ in Marathi. It is basically unrefined sugar which is obtained from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice. Although gur can be made from other sources, namely from date palm (nolen gur) and the sap of coconut, the one made from sugarcane juice is the most commonly used. It is prepared by boiling sugar cane juice till it solidifies and then put into blocks.
“It is best consumed during the winter months because winter is the season of fresh jaggery. Since it is rich in many vital vitamins and minerals, jaggery boosts immunity, keeps the body warm, helps treat cold and cough and controls the temperature of the body. This natural sweetener has been a great go-to ingredient in India since time immemorial.”
Not only is gur better than white sugar–which only adds empty calories to your body–it also has a number of health benefits, including its ability to cleanse the body, aid in digestion and provide good amounts of minerals.
Health Benefits of Jaggery
Here are some health benefits that will make you want to adopt jaggery as your go-to sweetener for everyday purposes:
- Detoxes the liver by flushing out harmful toxins from the body.
- Jaggery is one of the best natural cleansing agents for the body, hence it is advised to eat jaggery to remove unwanted particles from the body. It efficiently cleans the respiratory tract, lungs, intestines, stomach and food pipe. Eating jaggery is highly recommended for people working in heavily polluted areas. When consumed on a regular basis and in limited quantities, it cleanses the blood, leaving your body healthy.
- Weight loss: “Jaggery is surprisingly effective as an aid for weight loss. This is because jaggery is a rich source of potassium, which is a mineral that helps in the balance of electrolytes as well as building muscles and boosting metabolism. Potassium also helps in the reduction of water retention, which helps in managing your weight
- Good source of energy: While sugar is a simple carbohydrate that gets absorbed in the bloodstream instantly and gives instant energy, jaggery is a complex carbohydrate that gives energy to the body gradually and for a longer time. This means that the levels of blood sugar do not get raised immediately. It also helps prevent fatigue and weakness of the body.
- Fight symptoms of a cold and cough
- Prevents constipation
- Jaggery is loaded with antioxidants and minerals such as zinc and selenium, which in turn help prevent free-radical damage and also boost resistance against infections. Jaggery also helps increase the total count of haemoglobin in the blood.
- Eases menstrual pain
- Jaggery is rich in iron and folate which help prevent anaemia by ensuring that a normal level of red blood cells is maintained. This is especially beneficial for pregnant women.
- Boosts intestinal health: Jaggery also boosts intestinal strength due to its high magnesium content. With every 10 gram of jaggery, you get 16 mg of magnesium, which is 4 percent of the daily requirement of this mineral.
- Jaggery helps in maintaining normal body temperature which helps in keeping your stomach cool. Experts recommend drinking Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice cold water) during the summer months to cool off.
- Controls blood pressure
- Relieves joint pain
Note: It is, however, suggested to consume jaggery in moderation, as it is slightly higher in calories, containing up to 4 kcal/gram.
Now that you know how good jaggery is for you, don’t feel guilty when you can’t stop munching on Gur Pare at home, or while digging into Nolen Gurer (date palm jaggery) Sandesh in Kolkata.
How you can include Jaggery in your daily life?
- Replace white refined sugar with jaggery in your tea. Refer point 4
- Take Jaggery with Milk/Curd. It helps in making bones so strong and provides relief from the bone and joints problem.
- Eat Ladoos made with Jaggery and Sesame Seeds that helps in preventing the respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis, etc …
- Eating dry ginger powder (also called saunth) by mixing with jaggery with luke warm water helps in getting free of hiccups.
- Enjoy Jaggery with Roasted Channa for Instant Energy before a workout.
- Quench your thirst with cold jaggery sarbat (juice) during summer season.
Always buy jaggery prepared with organically produced sugarcane in the market. Buy pure jaggery instead of refined jaggeries from the market. It can be stored in the air tight container to prevent from moisture for many months. Place it in the dark, cool and dry place.
It is very necessary to eat jaggery within limit if it is eaten on daily basis. However, one to two spoon full of the jaggery can be taken every day by the normal person.
Long term use of the jaggery may lead to the weight gain, intestinal worm problem and etc. It should be avoided by the people suffering from the diabetes and ulcerative colitis. It should be avoided with radish and fish
Eating it regularly may fluctuate the blood sugar level which affects the functioning of pancreas thus release of insulin. This fluctuation of blood sugar may affect the functioning of major organs like kidney, eyes, heart and etc.