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Jaggery – Benefits, Nutrition Value & Weight Loss

Elders often end their meals with Jaggery. One might assume that its sweet, heavenly taste is what makes it popular. However, this naturally sweetening food has enormous health benefits. Made primarily from raw, concentrated sugarcane juice that is boiled until it solidifies, it is essentially a type of unrefined sugar. Also known as Gur, it can be made from date palm (Nolen Gur of West Bengal) or the sap of coconut too. Jaggery is a major part of one’s staple diet in most parts of India. It is known as ‘bella’ in Kannada, ‘Vellam’ in Tamil and ‘Gul’ in Marathi. Before learning about the health benefits of this nutritious food, let’s understand how different it is from white sugar, honey, and brown sugar.

Calorie Count and Nutrition Value of Jaggery

Jaggery has enormous health benefits which make it the ideal sweetener. Just 20 grams of it contains 38 calories and has 9.8 gram of carbohydrates, 9.7 gram of sugar, 0.01 gram of protein, choline, betaine, Vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. It has no traces of any kind of fat so one can readily add it to their diet without worrying about excessive fat intake. However, its sugar content is similar to that of white sugar, so patients suffering from diabetes should avoid overconsumption.

Jaggery vs. Sugar – The healthier option?

Numerous health professionals recommend replacing sugar with jaggery to obtain greater nutritional values from a sweetener. While both may be processed, sugar is mainly in the form of translucent, white crystals while jaggery can either be golden brown or dark brown in colour.

The former undergoes rigorous industrial processes, such as treatment with charcoal, due to which its nutritional value is lost. On the other hand, the latter undergoes no excessive treatment except the boiling of sugarcane syrup. This ensures the retention of traces of iron, mineral salts and fiber in it. These minerals and plant phytochemicals are useful remedies for several ailments.

This natural sweetener is an effective way to boost immunity, regulate body temperature, enrich the skin, improve digestion and cure joint pain, apart from a number of other mind-blowing health benefits.

Jaggery vs. brown sugar vs. honey

Jaggery is prepared by natural means without the use of any chemicals, preservatives or synthetic additives. Therefore, it contains a number of proteins, minerals, and vitamins.

Many people often consider this golden brown sweetener and brown sugar to be the same thing. However brown sugar is produced either directly from cane juice or by refining raw sugar. Both cases require the addition of a variety of molasses, syrups, and demerara. Hence, brown sugar contains unnatural additives as well.

Adding brown sugar is certainly better than adding refined white sugar, but jaggery is a much better alternative. Another way to make your desserts or everyday snacks healthier is by adding honey. It is rich in Vitamin B, C, and potassium while jaggery is rich in copper, iron, and magnesium. Hence, the decision to add either of these two to one’s diet depends on their taste.

Jaggery good for diabetes?

Diabetic patients often get sweet cravings and turn to various forms of sweeteners. Though these patients might consider jaggery a better alternative than sugar, the truth is that it too contains high levels of sugar. There is almost 65%-85% of sucrose in 10 grams of jaggery. Therefore, people with diabetes are advised to not consume it regularly. Furthermore, even Ayurveda does not recommend its consumption for diabetic patients.

Jaggery and weight loss

After considering the sugar content of jaggery, many believe that it’s fattening. On the contrary, it facilitates quick digestion since it is rich in nutrients. Moreover, it flushes out toxins from the body and cleanses the blood as well. The nutrients help to maintain electrolyte balance, thereby improving metabolism and the presence of potassium enables water retention, through which one can effectively manage their weight. Therefore, consuming this sweet nutrient-packed food in monitored amounts daily can greatly aid weight loss.

15 Health Benefits of Jaggery

We discuss some of the health benefits of this popular food sweetener below:

1. Prevention of respiratory problems

For those who have frequent respiratory tract problems, jaggery could be one of the most beneficial solutions. According to research, jaggery is believed to draw out dust and unwanted particles from the body providing relief to the respiratory tract, lungs, food pipes, stomach and intestines. It’s recommended to have jaggery along with pepper, tulsi, dry ginger or sesame seeds for best results.

2. Helps with weight loss

Weight gain is an issue most people have to deal with. A trusted remedy to foster weight loss is a moderate intake of jaggery. Jaggery is a complex sugar, made up of long chains of sucrose. The body takes time to digest the sucrose thus releasing the extracted energy slowly and for a longer stretch. This also makes us feel fuller for longer, reducing our appetite.

Jaggery is a good source of potassium that helps balance electrolytes, boosting metabolism as well as building muscles. Moreover, potassium can also help reduce water retention in one’s body, hence, playing a major role in weight loss.

3. Controls blood pressure

The presence of potassium and sodium in jaggery helps maintain acid levels in the body. This, in turn, maintains normal blood pressure levels.

Jaggery dilates the blood vessels allowing smooth flow and stabilising blood pressure. So if someone suffers from high or low blood pressure, including it in their diet would be of great help!

4. Great source of energy

Unlike sugar which offers a short-lived energy boost, jaggery provides gradual energy that lasts for a longer time. This is because it is unrefined, which ensures that blood sugar levels aren’t altered immediately and rise slowly instead. This, in turn, can help prevent fatigue as well.

5. Relieves menstrual pain

Jaggery is a natural remedy to ease pain occurring from menstrual cramps. Jaggery intake releases endorphins, a happy hormone, that helps tackle symptoms of PMS like mood swings, irritability, food cravings and so many more. Regular consumption of jaggery may also help regulate irregular periods as well.

6. Prevents anaemia

According to the results of a recent survey, 63% of females across India are anaemic. One in every five maternal death is linked to anaemia. To prevent anaemia, it is required that adequate levels of RBCs are maintained in the body along with iron and folate.

Jaggery is rich in both iron and folate, hence, a good way to prevent anaemia. Doctors often recommend its intake to adolescents and pregnant women.

7. Purifies the body

People commonly consume jaggery after meals since it is one of the best natural cleansing agents for the body. Eating this food can help remove all kinds of unwanted particles from the intestines, stomach, food pipe, lungs, and respiratory tract successfully.

Jaggery improves the blood haemoglobin level which subsequently increases the amount of sodium and potassium in the body. The balanced sodium-potassium ratio controls the acidic reactions thus keeping the blood pure.

8. Detoxification of the liver

Jaggery is a natural cleansing agent, especially for the liver. The natural sweetener helps flush out harmful toxins from one’s body. This further helps to detoxify the liver. Hence, those suffering from diseases associated with the liver should start eating Jaggery.

9. Prevents constipation

Consumption of the nutrient-packed sweetener helps to stimulate bowel movements and activation of digestive enzymes in one’s body. Whenever you’ve eaten a heavy meal, just consume some of this nutritious natural sweetener and reduce the risk of constipation.

Having jaggery with ghee right after your meals will do wonders for your bowel movement. The iron content of jaggery and ghee fats works as a natural laxative easing out the troubles of constipation.

10. Treatment of cold and cough

Jaggery also helps cure flu-like symptoms such as cold and cough. It leads to the production of heat in one’s body thereby fighting the cold.

Jaggery creates a layer on the throat’s inner lining and thus is beneficial for throat-related conditions like sore or itchy throat. To reap better benefits, do mix Jaggery in warm milk or use it as a sweetener in your tea.

11. Reduces joint pain

For people suffering from arthritis or any kind of pain in the joints, the consumption of jaggery can provide immense pain relief. Jaggery is a good source of calcium and phosphorus.

These two nutrients, when combined, work together to eliminate any joint or bone problems. When eaten with ginger, the effectiveness only improves.

12. Healthifies Skin 

Jaggery purifies the blood and increases its haemoglobin count which makes it effective in treating acne or pimples and making the skin healthier.

The glycolic acid present in jaggery helps correct skin aberrations and promotes clear skin. Jaggery’s benefits for the skin are further strengthened when consumed with sesame seeds.

13. Jaggery can boost immunity

Antioxidants and minerals like selenium and zinc are present in substantial quantities in jaggery.

This helps in preventing free radical damage along with building resistance against various infections. This is why it is eaten frequently in winters.

14. Cures urinary tract problems

Sugarcane is a natural diuretic, so jaggery too possesses this property. Reducing inflammation of the bladder, stimulating urination and improving the smooth flow of urine are some issues that regular intake of this nutritious food item can easily help with.

15. Maintains good intestinal health

Jaggery is rich in magnesium. Every 10 g of the food contains 16 mg of the mineral. So, if one consumes even 10 grams of it, he or she would’ve fulfilled the 4% daily requirement of this mineral in our lives. Therefore, eating it on a daily basis can lead to good intestinal health.

This dark brown natural sweetener is easily available in all parts of India. However, do ensure that the jaggery you purchase is 100% natural. Make it a part of your daily diet, and you’ll start observing its benefits on your own.

Bottom Line

Jaggery, basically unrefined sugar is a powerhouse of essential nutrients. It contains carbohydrates, protein, choline, betaine, Vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese with no fat of any kind.

Since jaggery undergoes no excessive treatment except the boiling of sugarcane syrup the nutritional content like iron, mineral salts and fibre are retained by this sweetener. These minerals and plant phytochemicals are useful to boost immunity, regulate body temperature, enrich the skin, improve digestion and cure joint pain, apart from a number of other mind-blowing health benefits.

Jaggery is good for the prevention of respiratory problems, controlling blood pressure and refining blood that helps fight anaemia. It also helps maintain intestinal health, detoxifies lives and prevents constipation. Jaggery is an excellent remedy for menstrual cramps as well. Overall, it will be right to say that consumption of jaggery in moderation is great for maintaining overall health.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is it good to eat jaggery daily?

Yes, it is recommended to eat around 10 grams of jaggery daily after meals. Every 10 g of jaggery contains 16 mg of the minerals which means that its one-time consumption during the day will fulfil  4% of the daily minerals requirement of our bodies. 

How is jaggery harmful?

Excess consumption of jaggery can lead to various types of allergies like stomach ache, cold, cough, nausea, headache and vomiting, etc. In cases when jaggery has been prepared in unhygienic situations and has impurities, it can lead to intestinal infections. 

Does jaggery gain weight?

Jaggery is a complex sugar, made up of long chains of sucrose. The body takes time to digest the sucrose thus releasing the extracted energy slowly and for a longer stretch. This also makes us feel fuller for longer reducing appetite. Jaggery is a good source of potassium that helps balance electrolytes, boosting metabolism as well as building muscles. Moreover, potassium can also help reduce water retention in one’s body, hence, playing a major role in weight loss. However, too much consumption can increase weight owing to its high content of glucose and fructose, along with fat and proteins.

How much jaggery is safe per day?

Jaggery is surely a healthier alternative to sugar, but still contains high amounts of glucose and sucrose which when consumed in excess can cause health issues. The ideal amount of daily jaggery consumption should vary somewhat between 10 to 12 grams.  

Is jaggery better than honey?

One of the best ways to cut down on sugar intake is to switch to alternatives like jaggery and honey. While both are healthier options than sugar, they have their own set of drawbacks. Both honey and jaggery have the potential to cause health issues if consumed in excess. Thus, one cannot exactly equate against another in terms of advantages and disadvantages. 

Which vitamin is in jaggery?

Jaggery has enormous health benefits which make it the ideal sweetener. Just 20 grams of it contains 38 calories and has 9.8 grams of carbohydrates, 9.7 grams of sugar, 0.01 gram of protein, choline, betaine, Vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese.

Can jaggery reduce belly fat?

A trusted remedy to foster weight loss is a moderate intake of jaggery. Jaggery is a complex sugar, made up of long chains of sucrose. The body takes time to digest the sucrose thus releasing the extracted energy slowly and for a longer stretch. This also makes us feel fuller for longer reducing appetite. Jaggery is a good source of potassium that helps balance electrolytes, boosting metabolism as well as building muscles. Moreover, potassium can also help reduce water retention in one’s body, hence, playing a major role in weight loss. Daily consumption of jaggery and lemon juice water will help you come in shape and burn belly fat.

Does jaggery contain vitamin C?

Jaggery has enormous health benefits which make it the ideal sweetener. Just 20 grams of it contains 38 calories and has 9.8 grams of carbohydrates, 9.7 grams of sugar, 0.01 gram of protein, choline, betaine, Vitamin B12, B6, folate, calcium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, selenium, and manganese. 

Can we drink jaggery water at night?

Jaggery has hot potency and is known to do wonders if consumed before bed during winters. It keeps winter illnesses like cold and flu at bay. Jaggery also boosts the release of certain hormones that de-stresses the body and mind making you sleep faster and better. 

Is jaggery good for weight loss?

Jaggery is a complex sugar, made up of long chains of sucrose. The body takes time to digest the sucrose thus releasing the extracted energy slowly and for a longer stretch. This also makes us feel fuller for longer reducing appetite. Jaggery is a good source of potassium that helps balance electrolytes, boosting metabolism as well as building muscles. Moreover, potassium can also help reduce water retention in one’s body, hence, playing a major role in weight loss.

Is jaggery good for skin?

Jaggery purifies the blood and increases its haemoglobin count which makes it effective in treating acne or pimples and making the skin healthier. The glycolic acid present in jaggery helps correct skin aberrations and promotes clear skin. Jaggery’s benefits for the skin are further strengthened when consumed with sesame seeds.  

Is jaggery good after dinner?

Consumption of jaggery after a meal helps stimulate bowel movements and activation of digestive enzymes in one’s body. Having jaggery with ghee right after your meals will do wonders for your bowel movement. The iron content of jaggery and ghee fat works as a natural laxative easing out the troubles of constipation. 

Why does jaggery turn black?

Jaggery is made by boiling sugarcane. The chemical reactions that occur during that process give jaggery its dark brown or black colour. The darker the jaggery the better as it indicated that it was made of a high amount of raw, concentrated sugarcane juice without any adulteration.

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