New Delhi: Nowadays, people are a lot more conscious about their health and what they are eating. So, if you are also one, you must be seeking the best alternative to sugar for your diet. Jaggery has gained popularity among dietitians and health enthusiasts all over the world. Based on quality, cost, and flavour, the market offers a wide variety of jaggery.
Jaggery, also known as ‘gud’ or ‘gur’ is a famous winter food that is used as a sweetener in many famous Indian dishes. Here are a few types of jaggery that you can enjoy this winter:
1. Sugarcane Jaggery:
Sugarcane jaggery is made from sugarcane juice that has been boiled, filtered, and churned using conventional processes. It is one of the most common forms of jaggery. It is light to dark brown in colour, which indicates its purity. The darker the jaggery, the better; light-coloured jaggery indicates adulteration. It is most typically eaten when crystallised. Sugarcane jaggery has a sweet flavour with a hint of salt depending on the juice extracted.
2. Date Palm Jaggery:
It is also known as Khajoor Gur and is high in minerals. This jaggery is known for its therapeutic benefits and is made by extracting date palm sap, boiling and churning it by hand. This type of jaggery is commonly available in West Bengal, particularly in Kolkata and contains significantly more nutrients than the other varieties.
3. Coconut Jaggery:
Unfermented coconut sap is drained, heated, crystallised, and poured into various moulds to make coconut jaggery. Because of the cooling effect of the atmosphere, this semisolid jaggery gradually solidifies into a crystallised hard mass. Among many people, coconut jaggery is more popular than sugarcane jaggery. It is one of the various forms of jaggery found in Southern Indian recipes.
4. Palm Jaggery:
Palm jaggery is derived from the sap of palm plants. It is boiled, filtered, and churned in the same way as sugarcane jaggery. This jaggery has a melt-in-your-mouth texture and rich brown colour. This jaggery becomes saltier as it ages. Furthermore, if it tastes harsh, excessively sweet, or contains crystals, it has been caramelised or has artificial sweeteners added.
Jaggery is sometimes referred to as a ‘superfood sweetener’ due to its sweet and nutritious flavour. It has significant health benefits including its ability to cleanse your body, operate as a digestive agent, sweeten your food in a healthy way, and supply adequate amounts of minerals.
Let’s have a look at some of the health benefits of this superfood sweetener:
1. Acts as an energy booster:
According to studies and experts, a sudden increase in sugar or energy level might be a big hazard to the internal organs. This fast increase in pressure can harm the kidneys and eyes, raise blood pressure, and cause a variety of disorders in other organ systems. Jaggery is a more complex carbohydrate than simple sugar and hence takes time to get absorbed into the bloodstream. Thus, this can supply warmth and energy to the body without damaging their inside organs. It also aids in the prevention of fatigue and weakness in the body.
2. Helps to cool the stomach:
Jaggery aids in the maintenance of normal body temperature, which keeps your stomach cool. To stay cool during the summer, experts recommend sipping Gur Sharbat (jaggery soaked in ice-cold water).
3. Improves digestion:
It is recommended in India to have a few grammes of jaggery after a big meal or after eating meat to aid digestion. It activates digestive enzymes in the stomach, speeding up digestion and smoothing the process, decreasing strain on the intestines and digestive tract. Jaggery stimulates bowel motions and hence helps prevent and cure constipation.
4. It is good for blood:
Organic jaggery is thought to be an excellent natural blood cleanser. Though its effects are slower than those of allopathic medications, consuming a small lump of jaggery works wonders for our blood. It is known to raise the concentration of haemoglobin in our blood. As a result, pregnant women are advised to consume jaggery (in any form, including laddoos, kheer, halwa, and even plain jaggery). Jaggery, which is high in iron and folate, aids in the prevention of anaemia. The potassium and sodium components in jaggery work together to help our bodies manage blood pressure as well.
5. Helps to treat flu-like symptoms:
With the help of jaggery, you can combat cold and cough problems. To receive the advantages, simply combine it with warm water and drink it, or add it to your tea instead of sugar. Jaggery generates heat in the body, which is why it is commonly used in the winter. Jaggery’s warming action makes it an outstanding sweet that helps treat colds and flu.
Despite its various health benefits, it should be kept in mind that too much consumption of jaggery can be harmful as it is high in calories, containing about 4kcal/gram.
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